How to maximize your fiber internet experience

Welcome to CenturyLink Fiber Internet! If you want to optimize your fiber experience, start with some basic information about your service, along with answers to a few commonly asked questions.

What does "gigabit" mean?

Fiber Gigabit is named this because it delivers speeds of up to 1 Gigabit (or 1,000 Mbps) internet connection from our fiber-optic network to your premises. However, a small portion of this bandwidth is used to support the service itself (the same is true for all internet providers, not only CenturyLink). Due to this reserved capacity, upload/download speeds reach up to 940 Mbps over a wired connection to your router.

There are a few important points to understand to help you maximize your fiber internet speed.

What affects my fiber speed?

Your speed will vary throughout your home, particularly when accessing your internet connection wirelessly from various devices, such as laptops, tablets, smart devices, gaming consoles, etc. At the time of installation, your technician will confirm device compatibility and will provide information on your environmental factors that could affect speed.

Many factors inside your home can affect your internet service and influence the actual speed you experience at a given time. These include a number of factors related to your devices, wireless, and the larger network.

Device speed

No matter how fast your internet connection is, each device you use has a limit to how fast it can deliver information.

“Devices” are all the electronics that rely on an internet connection (usually wireless), including laptops and desktop computers, tablets, gaming consoles and smart devices such as TVs, phones, security systems, home assistants, ovens, refrigerators… and the list goes on and on. It’s a good idea to check the specific speed capabilities of your different devices.

The type of processor (CPU), operating system, and browser version running on each device also impact how fast it can deliver data over the internet, as do security firewalls and anti-virus software. For the best possible speed performance, you’ll want internet-connected devices that were made within the last two years.

Number of devices

When multiple devices are connected to your network, either wired or wirelessly, they share your internet connection, or the total amount of data that can be downloaded or uploaded at one time. Each device uses a portion of your allotted bandwidth, which in turn affects the speed of each device. 

Use of WiFi

In thinking about speed, you can’t ignore the impact of WiFi. The everyday performance of your devices can be limited by wireless connections, which tend to lose signal strength (meaning reduced bandwidth) when compared to the wired connection that enters your router.

For Fiber Gigabit service, for instance, the wired connection can reach speeds up to 940 Mbps. Over WiFi, however, speed on a single device may be capped at around 300 Mbps due to the limitations of wireless technology. This is why it is best to use a wired connection whenever possible to get the best experience.

Distance between WiFi router and devices 

The farther away a device is from the WiFi router (gateway), the slower the speed will be. Physical obstructions like walls, floors and doors can also reduce the speed. You will get a better wireless signal closer to your gateway and with fewer devices running. 

Other WiFi networks

When multiple WiFi networks are working in close proximity, such as in an apartment building or business complex, the different signals can interfere with each other. This can sometimes cause performance issues. 

Internet backbone congestion

No, it’s not a medical condition. Internet congestion within the “backbone” or larger network generally occurs in the late afternoon and evening, when more people are using the internet. Going online or streaming during peak periods may limit the speed you experience. This congestion can occur outside of one provider’s network, across peer networks that are interlinked to deliver internet services.

Websites and networks you visit

Just as with devices, not all websites run at the same speed. Here are a few things to consider as you surf the internet: 

  • A website’s server capacity can impact the speed of that site.
  • Website owners may use different internet service providers to deliver content to you, which can also impact speed.
  • Visiting websites during peak hours, such as in the evenings and on weekends, may also result in lags and slower performance.

Commonly asked questions and answers

How do I maximize my Fiber Gigabit performance?  
How do I optimize wireless performance?   
What are the hardware recommendations for my connected devices?
Can I use WiFi extenders or mesh devices?

Still have questions? Click below for more info:

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