You might have heard about fiber internet or fiber optic internet. But what is it? How does it work, and why is it beneficial?
Fiber internet is the latest technology using an insulated bundle of thin strands of plastic or glass to send coded signals of light to give you the fastest internet service available today.
If you're interested in learning even more about fiber internet and how it can be beneficial in your home or office, continue reading.
What Is Fiber Internet?
Fiber internet or fiber optic internet uses extremely small strands of plastic or glass bound together into cables that are insulated to prevent them from being damaged. Coded signals in light pulses are transmitted through these cables. Each strand of plastic or glass is about the size of a human hair.
Unlike fiber, cable, and DSL services use copper wire to send those signals. This is fast and still a viable way to get internet to your home, but fiber optic is considerably faster, delivering speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second. Your DSL or cable often tops out at 100 Mbps, and satellite internet is usually the same as that DSL.
NOTE: for the purposes of this article, we will only discuss fiber, DSL, and cable since satellite internet does not use cables to transfer information.
With copper wire, the information signals are sent using electrons, but fiber uses photons. Light travels faster than the electrical pulses put out through copper cable. Because it travels faster, more data can be transferred per second than you are used to with a connection over cable or DSL.
Why Is Fiber Better Than DSL Or Cable?
As previously discussed, the fiber connection's speed is much faster than that of the DSL or cable, making fiber a preferred choice. There are several other advantages to choosing fiber over traditional DSL or cable internet. Listed below are the top reasons fiber is a better choice than DSL or cable internet, which uses copper to deliver the information.
For one, fiber is much better at carrying information over long distances. The farther an electronic signal travels, the weaker that signal will get by the time it reaches its destination. This is because the signal degrades as it travels.
Because of that degradation, you will find copper wire connections are no more than 328 feet. With fiber, the cable can reach lengths of almost 25 miles before the signal would be lost or degraded. Overall, this makes them a better conduit for that electronic signal.
Besides being a better way to maintain signal strength, fiber optic cable is just generally a stronger material, despite the tiny hair-like strands. Copper is a material with a low tolerance for tension and can easily be damaged during installation. Unlike copper, fiber optic is much more durable, withstanding 100 to 200 pounds of pressure. Copper tops out at about 25 pounds.
Unaffected by Interference
Unlike copper wires, fiber optic is not affected by radio or electrical interference because it is better insulated. Copper wiring is not a closed system, meaning that it is susceptible to interference from radio or electrical signals. When this happens, signal strength is greatly affected, and sometimes the signal will cut out completely.
Downsides To Fiber Internet
You might be thinking, super-fast internet - what could possibly be the downside here? Well, one of the major downsides to fiber is that it is not readily available to everyone in the country.
One of the biggest reasons it is hard to get the country entirely on board to using fiber internet is a lack of infrastructure. Whereas other internet options like DSL or cable rely on copper wire that is already in place for telephones or television services, fiber internet requires a whole new infrastructure.
The cost to install all that cable is a risk, as the internet company will have to spend a lot of money to build up the infrastructure. Companies are slowly expanding their fiber internet services, but not at a particularly fast pace.
Full Speed Ahead
Fiber internet is the future of internet services, but at this point, it is still not readily available to the majority of the country. A lack of infrastructure and the high cost to install that infrastructure are the primary things that stand between you and the fastest internet available.
If you live in an area where fiber is available and you are into gaming or streaming video, you might benefit from the faster speeds fiber can provide. Ultimately, fiber is the best internet option on the market, and if it is available, you should look into taking advantage of the service.
Those tiny strands will bring information to people even faster, ensuring that anything you want to know is right at your fingertips in record time.