Long, thin strands of pure glass about the size of a human hair are the foundation of the world’s fastest internet, capable of connection speeds and bandwidth that is 300 times faster than traditional internet. When bundled together, these strands create a cable that allows information to travel through them in a beam of light over long distances.Fiber optic internet really does live up to the hype.
Here’s a rundown on what fiber is and how it is different from traditional internet options:
How much faster is fiber than cable?
To answer that, let’s start with why traditional DSL and cable internet are so slow. When you’ve experienced lags in normal business activities such as cloud file transfers, long upload times for large files or garbled/static in VoIP calls, it’s probably because of metal. More specifically, copper metal.
Traditional internet sends electricity through copper wires to deliver the information needed for large file transfers and clear VoIP calls. We call this information “data.” Copper wire was originally intended to transmit simple voice data over shorter distances, which does not make it ideal for carrying large amounts of data at high speeds.
Today’s growing technology means data sizes are only getting bigger, making fiber-optic internet crucial for the future. Since fiber sends information at the speed of light, large amounts of data can travel very quickly, giving it much higher bandwidth.
What is bandwidth? The amount of data that can be sent in a short amount of time. Low bandwidth will dramatically slow a network's performance.
With high bandwidth, we’re talking internet connections speeds up to 100 gigabit per second, making fiber up to 300 times faster than copper wire connections. Plus, fiber offers symmetrical upload and download speed. What’s that mean for your business? Faster access to critical data, allowing your staff to be more productive. It means you’re not paying employees to waste their time struggling with poor bandwidth. Learn more here.
Why is fiber more reliable?
Did you know fiber internet gives businesses 99.999% uptime? This high level of reliability comes down to three main factors: signal strength, interference and damage.
Both light and electricity are weakened when they travel long distances. The farther information must travel, the more it breaks down and the weaker it will be when it reaches your business. However, there is a dramatic difference between what is a long distance for copper and what is a long distance for fiber.
The copper cables of traditional internet begin to lose signal strength the moment they begin and are limited to roughly 330 feet or less. That’s just under the length of 1 football field. Fiber-optic cables, however, have the capacity to run nearly 25 miles without losing strength. That’s the length of 440 football fields.
Electromagnetic signals or radio interference can have a big impact on copper, reducing signal strength. Indoor and outdoor radio signals near the copper cables can interfere and induce noise. Fiber, however, is more insulated against outside interference, making its signal much more secure.
Damage & aging
While fiber may seem more fragile than copper, it’s not. Fiber lines can withstand between 100 and 200 pounds of pressure, while copper can only hold up to 25 pounds. Plus, internet providers often bury fiber underground, protecting it from the elements so pressure is rarely an issue, unlike that of copper, which is strung up to polls and subject to the weather and accidents. Also, copper is much more likely to break down over time because it is exposed to the heat of its electrical current.
As technology such as cloud computing has changed the way organizations do business, the need for improved internet connectivity has grown. The business internet industry is answering that demand with fiber.