Internet speeds are abstract to a lot of people. You know you get “X” amount of download speeds, measured in megabits per second – but you might not know how fast that really is, or know what’s a mediocre speed, what’s a good speed and what’s a great speed. But – if you get Internet through fiber optic cables, you can bet you’re benefitting from great speed.
If you’ve heard of fiber optic cables, you’ve probably heard one thing: it makes Internet really, really fast. But what makes it fast, and is it available to you?
Optical fiber cables: what makes them fast?
Traditionally, Internet is delivered either over coaxial cables (cable Internet) or a phone line (DSL). Fiber Internet uses optical fiber cables which are super thin and actually made of glass. These fiber optic cables transmit pulses of light, and can actually transmit data faster, and offer 10 times the capacity of most of today’s Internet connections in US homes and small businesses.
Because fiber cables only transmit pulses of light, they actually make optical fiber cables less susceptible to interference and noise.
“Fiber optic cables sound pretty great. Are there any drawbacks?”
Great question. Fiber optic technology is pretty awesome, but it has one serious limitation: availability. Fiber optic networks aren’t available everywhere. In fact, they’re targeted to large cities (since there the most people can benefit from it).
If you live in a rural area, unfortunately chances are fiber optic networks won’t be available.
Types of fiber optic services
Usually when you read about fiber optics, it’s referring to Internet service. But, optical fiber cables can deliver more than just Internet – you can get TV and phone service too.
It’s just like how cable companies offer Internet and TV together over the same network of cables. Well, except of course that fiber Internet is newer and faster.