Why fiber internet is great and why you need it

July 17, 2020

By Kirsten Queen

Whether we're shopping online, video chatting with friends and family, or working from home, we need the internet to be reliable and fast. There have been major upgrades from the days of dial-up internet to DSL and cable internet. Fiber internet is relatively new and quickly becoming available to households across the country. But what is fiber and is it worth upgrading?

Let’s go over the basics first. 

What is fiber internet? 

Fiber internet is a broadband connection enabled using fiber-optic cables. Tiny optical fibers make up these cables. Light transmits information along these cables, moving data at incredibly high speeds. Because the fibers can transmit data so quickly, it leads to a powerful internet network with high bandwidth and lower latency (how long it takes a signal to go from your computer to another and back). Fiber internet is reliable and fast, making it a must-have for many internet users across the country.

Fiber is reliable 

There’s nothing more frustrating than a movie buffering in the middle of the climax, except perhaps losing an online game due to a lag at a critical moment. It’s even worse if you can’t get online at all due to signal loss, or “attenuation.” Due to its structure and the way it processes data, fiber internet is widely considered to be more reliable than DSL or cable internet.

But why can you trust fiber?

Let’s compare copper cables to fiber optic cables.

Cable internet uses the same type of cable that cable TV service uses, known as “coaxial cable.” These cables can be made up of copper wires or sometimes a combination of fiber and copper. They transmit data using electrical signals, and can be vulnerable to interference or unstable conditions, like lightning from a thunderstorm. These cables are more pliable and bendable than fiber-only cables. Though flexible, these cables are susceptible to repeated stress and bending, leading to breakages, loss of signal, and failure.

In contrast, fiber-optic cables are made of glass, which resist electrical interference, making it unsusceptible to severe weather conditions. If water gets into the cable, the signal won’t be impaired like it would with a copper coaxial cable. That means fewer outages and less signal loss, adding up to a reliable internet connection that you can count on.

Fiber is fast 

Faster data means faster internet. Fiber-optic cables send data using pulses of light (up to about 70% of the speed of light). CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit service can deliver symmetrical download/upload speeds of up to 940 Megabits per second (Mbps) over a wired connection to your router/modem. A dial-up connection reaches an average speed of only around 0.05 Mbps for downloads and uploads. 

To illustrate, this is how long it will take different internet connections to download a 6.5 GB media file:  

Dial-up 11 days
DSL 1 min - 14 hours
Cable 1 min - 14 hours
Fiber about 1 min

Let’s look at it another way. With CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit service, you can:

  • Back up your entire hard drive to the cloud, including large photos and videos, in minutes
  • Download a 2-hour HD movie in seconds
  • Enjoy smooth online gaming and video chatting with friends and family

When we talk about speed, we must also discuss bandwidth, which can become impaired if too many devices attempt to connect to the internet. Low bandwidth affects the entire household's internet speed and experience. But with fiber internet, there is higher bandwidth, allowing the entire household to stream, work, game, back up data, or send and receive large files at the same time with less congestion or data delays.

Fiber internet options 

Fiber-optic networks are expanding rapidly across cities and directly to homes as it becomes financially viable to upgrade the network. So how does fiber compare to other internet plans?

It depends on how much speed you need. Services vary by area and by speed tier, but the cost of installation isn’t any different than most high-speed internet installations. For households with lots of devices and lots of people trying to get online, fiber internet can bring priceless peace of mind through reliability and speed when it’s needed the most. 

Find out if fiber is available near you!

CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit service is currently available in a number of major cities and towns and is actively expanding. To see if you can get fiber internet in your area now, click the link below and enter your street address. 

This blog is provided for informational purposes only and may require additional research and substantiation by the end user. In addition, the information is provided "as is" without any warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this information is at the end user's own risk. CenturyLink does not warrant that the information will meet the end user's requirements or that the implementation or usage of this information will result in the desired outcome of the end user.


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