Technology changes fast, and it's almost impossible to keep track of the newest innovations. Right now, the big question is the choice between fiber and cable Internet services. They both have their own advantages, so it's important to do the research to make the right choice. Wirefly offers comprehensive comparison tools and information so that you can make an informed decision when comparing fiber and cable.
What is Fiber Internet?
Fiber Internet, which is the most recent development in telecommunications, uses light to transmit information. The light travels through thin and flexible glass fibers. That gives it roughly equal upload and download speeds in most cases, and it allows users to stream multiple videos or run multiple conferences at once without any problems.
What is Cable Internet?
Cable Internet is the traditional options. It sends electrical signals through copper wires, which gives it the infrastructure to support hundreds of people on a single connection. Cable usually offers faster download speeds than upload speeds.
Who Has the Advantage?
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing between the two options, but a few of them are particularly important. Reliability and availability are often the deciding factors for consumers, while infrastructure requirements and and the potential for growth can be important for long-term planning.
Cable is the clear winner in this category. It's available in all of the major market areas, and anybody who can get cable TV can also get cable Internet. Fiber is only available in a few regions, although that number is steadily growing.
Fiber usually has the advantage in reliability. Each home that uses fiber-optic a connection has a dedicated line, while cable connections are usually shared between many houses. That splits the connection's networking power and can lead to slower Internet access and loss of service.
Fiber Internet also has the edge over cable connections in terms of infrastructure. Cable Internet rely on electricity, which means other electrical connections in the area can interfere with it, and it's vulnerable to anything that interrupts the flow of electricity. Fiber connections do not have those problems because they don't depend on electricity to function.
Fiber Internet has better long-term prospects than cable connections. Copper cables require expensive maintenance, and the cost of maintaining them has encouraged Internet providers to switch over to fiber. Fiber can also cope with higher demand than cable, which is likely to be important as the Internet becomes even more vital to daily life. These factors are causing fiber-optics to spread all over the world at a quick rate.
Why Choose Cable?
Cable's biggest asset is availability. Anyone who can get a cable TV connection can also get cable Internet, so it's available to far more people than fiber. It's also faster than the other options that are widely available, like dial-up and often DSL. Pricing often favors cable in those areas as well, since cable providers often have incentives for their clients to choose it, and technological advances have reduced the need for extensive contracts. There are even providers that offer a connection to a national wi-fi network for clients who are out of their home, and providers can even enhance their connection speeds to compete with fiber.
Why Choose Fiber?
Fiber is fast, and it can handle a lot of data at once. A fiber connection can reach speeds as high as one gigabit, and that is enough to handle most common downloads in a matter of seconds. The advantages also apply to people who are uploading data, unlike other connections that usually offer lower upload speeds.
They also offer superior data quality. All data degrades during transfer, but fiber systems experience much less degradation than other connections. This is especially important for connections that cover large distances, such as international conferences.
Those conferences also tend to run better on a fiber connection because fiber connections don't suffer from the same volume limits as cable connections. That lack of limits combined with the limited number of people one a single connection can eliminate most lag.
The Other Possibilities of Fiber Internet
Cable often comes bundled with other services, and that option is also available to fiber Internet connections. Fiber-optic networks can provide TV like any other kind of data, and the improved connection allows for superior sound quality and higher resolutions. It can also serve as a phone line, which allows the improved reliability of a fiber connection to prevent dropped calls. Many providers are willing to combine these services in a double or triple play bundle at a reduced price, which makes it easy for fiber users to get as good a deal as the people who select cable services for their home.
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