What is Fiber vs Cable Internet?

What is fiber vs cable internet? Fair question. As the technological world zooms into the future, sometimes it can feel like we’re being left behind. Don’t worry, though. Connexion is a fiber-optic broadband service created by the people of Fort Collins for the people of Fort Collins. We’ll help you navigate questions like “what is fiber vs cable internet” to ensure you get the most out of your municipal super-internet.

Navigating the “Fiber vs Cable Internet” Landscape

If you’re in the market for home internet service, you’ll undoubtedly have to traverse the “fiber vs cable internet” landscape. While there are a handful of differences between the two, the primary distinction is in how they transmit data. (zdnet) Put as plainly as possible:

  • Fiber-optic technology transfers tiny bits of data on the backs of tiny light particles through bundles of smaller-than-hair-sized strands of glass. These bundles are protected by sheaths of plastic and can carry data farther distances, at faster speeds, and with more clarity than cable.
  • Traditional cable technology uses standard coaxial cables; copper wrapped in aluminum, sheathed in another layer of copper, and wrapped in a plastic coating. This technology transfers data via electricity and is much more susceptible to interference from weather and electromagnetic activity.

These technological differences create a slight chasm in the realm of internet speed and performance. Fiber-optic ISPs (internet service providers) offer symmetrical speeds, and equal uploads and downloads, typically in the range of 1,000 Mbps. Meanwhile, your traditional cable service will offer a fraction of those download speeds at around 200 Mbps, with upload speeds of much less. (Check out this blog to better understand what all that Mbps stuff means)

Some Practical Examples for Context

Internet people tend to use a lot of jargon, making it difficult to understand what sort of internet service is best for you. For the casual bingers and weekend gamers among us, here are some practical examples to better understand which internet technology will suit your needs.

A weekly Facebook check-in. Social media is the easiest way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the lives of your children and grandchildren. Every Saturday afternoon, you pop open your laptop and scroll through your Facebook feed to see the latest photos of your 6-month-old grandson. The recommended internet speed for this activity is 10 Mbps, which means a standard cable service will do just fine.

Streaming the latest episode of the current craze. The new episode of your favorite series premieres at 6:00 pm, and the anticipation is palpable. Unfortunately, every house on the block is feeling the same eagerness. With everyone in the neighborhood streaming at once, traditional cable service will leave you with a less-than-optimal experience.

This is an example of when fiber-optic internet would serve you better. Fiber lines can carry more data at faster speeds, which means fewer interruptions when traffic is high. Cable services spread bandwidth across multiple houses, which means slowed rates if the neighbors are also streaming.

Internet usage all the time for a family of six. Your daughters are practicing the latest TikTok trends in the living room. The boys are squaded in their favorite battle royale video game. Dad is watching a how-to video for fixing the leaky faucet in the bathroom. You’re scouring Pinterest for fresh dinner ideas. It’s a lot.

For internet usage like this, you need the internet bandwidth to keep up. What is bandwidth, you ask? Here is a helpful analogy courtesy of HighSpeedInternet:

“If the internet is a road and data are the cars, speed is how fast the cars travel, and bandwidth is the number of open lanes. So, say you have 100 data cars all going the same speed—you’ll get your data faster if those cars are traveling on a five-lane highway compared to a one-lane back road.”

Internet needs vary depending on how many people use the internet and what they use it for. If you have many people in your house, frequently using the internet simultaneously, then there’s no need to ask “what is fiber vs cable internet.” Fiber is what you need.

Choosing Fiber vs Cable Internet with Connexion

At Connexion, we want you to have internet speeds suited to your internet needs. Our internet service was created for a city hungry for faster internet. Even better, we’re able to bring it to you without it breaking the bank. 

Ready to upgrade your home internet? Check out our residential internet service options and get the internet speeds that are right for you.

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