Fiber-optic cable, or optical fiber cable, is a little different from all of the other types of data transmission media. Rather than carrying an electric pulse over metal (usually copper) wire, this system carries light signals over a fine strand of glass. Some fiber optic cable contains strands made of plastic. However, these are used for short stretches embedded within appliances rather than for telecommunication runs. The transmission properties of fiber-optic cable are much better than copper wire, so this is the best medium available for carrying high-speed internet.
How Does Fiber Internet Work?Data travels around networks and the internet in a binary format. All signals express a zero (“0”) or a one (”1”). On wires, those numbers get converted into electric pulses, but with fiber-optics, they are represented by flashes of light. Light travels faster than electricity, which is one of the main reasons that fiber-optic systems are fast. The other reason is that glass has less resistance, causing less friction and energy loss than metal. Friction in metal cables, such as copper causes the force of the electrical current to dissipate, making signals weak after a short distance and in need of boosting. An internet service that uses fiber optics carries connections between the customer and the access point of the internet service provider along the fiber-optic cable. From that point on, data travels along the regular cables of the internet, which are overwhelmingly copper cables. Therefore, a fiber optic internet system doesn’t provide an internet connection that travels entirely over fiber optics. However, with just part of the connection running over fiber, you will get better internet speeds. Usually, a fiber internet provider will replace the telephone line to your house with fiber optic cable. The telephone socket in your house will have a converter behind it so that electronic signals from your home network get converted to light beams for the cable, and vice versa.
Is Fiber Internet Reliable?Glass is relatively brittle, but the strands of fiber optics are coated to protect it from splintering, strands are tightly packed within a cable to provide strength and they are encased in a thick plastic shell to protect against water and temperature damage. The cavity between the casing and the fiber bundle is filled with a cushioning gel. Fiber optics are less vulnerable to interference than traditional, wire systems because signals are not implemented with electricity. In wire cables, the electric pulses that they carry can be garbled by mixing with the electricity and radiation of the surrounding environment and even co-mingle signals from nearby cables. The light pulses sent along fiber-optic cable do not get damaged by surrounding electrical fields and traffic.
What Is the Best Fiber Internet?The more fiber-optic cable that a network has, the better it will perform in providing faster speeds. However, once the signals of a transmission cross on to the internet, there is no guarantee of what cable type will be used. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a fiber internet. The internet is made up of a series of privately-owned networks that accept traffic from outside sources. Each network will have a different type of cable. However, overwhelmingly, the internet is cabled with copper wire.
What Is the Fastest Fiber Internet?Part of most cable TV networks is carried over fiber-optic cable. This is called a hybrid fiber-coaxial network. Networks that are not entirely made up of fiber-optic cable will be slower. The fastest fiber internet service that you can get will have fiber-optic cable carrying signals all the way from your home to the access point of the internet service provider (ISP).
Is Fiber Internet a Good Option?The high speeds of fiber internet make it a very good option. It has both faster upload speeds and faster download speeds than cable networks, ADSL, satellite internet or wireless internet. This is the best internet service that you can get. However, it is also the most expensive.
How Do I Get Fiber Internet?Fiber internet is not as easy to sign up for DSL or cable internet services. Very few homes in the country already have access to fiber-optic cable networks, whereas the majority of homes are already hooked up to the telephone and cable TV networks. For this reason, fiber internet providers concentrate on selling their services to businesses based in the centers of large cities. Only 25 percent of properties in the United States are hooked up to fiber-optic cable. Telecoms companies can fit a fiber connection to your home. However, they will charge you for that cable laying and it is expensive. Fiber-optic cable connections for residential use is called “fiber to the home,” or FTTH.
How Do I Install Fiber Internet?Once you have a fiber-optic cable laid to your home, you access the internet in exactly the same way as you would with the standard telephone line. You can connect a network cable between your computer and the network socket that the ISP installed to terminate the cable. More commonly these days, people choose to connect a Wi-Fi router to the internet and then connect all computers and internet-enabled devices through that router.
Pros of Fiber Internet
- Speed – Fiber broadband is the fastest internet delivery system available.
- Ease of Use – Access to the internet works exactly the same for fiber as it does with telephone wires of the cable TV network.
Cons of Fiber Internet
- Availability – The majority of US homes are not close to a fiber-optic network. Anyone not in a fiber area would have to pay to get cables specially laid.
- Cost – ISPs charge more for fiber internet access than for telephone wire or cable internet.
- Network Limits – Fiber internet only gives you a fiber-optic link to the ISP’s access point, all the rest of the internet that you will use is made up of copper wires.