Fiber Optic Internet

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The Benefits of Fiber To The Home

More than 10 million homes worldwide already have fiber-to-the-home broadband connections because the technology holds many advantages over current technologies. A key benefit to FTTH — also called FTTP, for “fiber-to-the-premises” broadband — is that it provides for far faster connection speeds and carrying capacity than twisted pair conductors, DSL or coaxial cable. For example, a single copper pair conductor can carry six phone calls. A single fiber pair can carry more than 2.5 million phone calls simultaneously [source: Federal Communications Commission].

Experts at the FTTH Council say fiber-to-the-home connections are the only technology with enough bandwidth to handle projected consumer demands during the next decade reliably and cost effectively. The technology is already, affordable, as businesses around the world are demonstrating by getting into the business as they speculate on consumer demand. Fiber has a virtually unlimited bandwidth coupled with a long reach, making it “future safe,” or a standard medium that will be in place for a long time to come [source: ICT Regulation Toolkit]. 

FTTH will be able to handle even the futuristic Internet uses some experts see coming. Technologies such as 3D holographic high definition television and games will someday be everyday items in households around the world. FTTH will be able to handle the estimated 30-gigabyte-per-second needs of such equipment. Current technologies can’t come close.

FTTH broadband connections also will allow consumers to “bundle” their communications services. For instance, a consumer could receive telephone, video, audio, television and just about any other kind of digital data stream using a simple FTTH broadband connection. Such an arrangement would be more cost effective and simpler than receiving those services via different lines, as is often the case today.

DSL vs Cable Vs Fiber Overview

Fiber internet connections deliver faster download and upload speeds than DSL and cable, usually 250–1000 Mbps. Cable and DSL deliver download speeds in the 25–500 Mbps range. However, cable and DSL upload speeds are normally much lower, in the 5–30 Mbps range. Fiber may be priced a bit higher, but the service is more reliable. The primary difference between cable and DSL is that cable uses newer “coaxial” lines, which can carry more bandwidth. DSL uses older telephone lines. DSL speeds usually cap out around 25–100 Mbps, which is about half the normal speed range for cable internet.

Cable vs Fiber

Fiber is a common upgrade choice from DSL, particularly in larger cities. Fiber is the best choice for most customers, as it provides high-bandwidth connections up to 1,000 Mbps download and upload speed. The difference between cable and fiber is that cable is sent over copper TV lines, while fiber is made of glass and designed specifically for internet service.

  • Landline telephone lines (DSL). DSL utilizes your telephone lines, but it doesn’t interrupt your phone use. It’s a step above dial-up internet, but it’s still the slowest of all other modern options. DSL vs. cable internet isn’t much of a competition. Examples of DSL plans include 20 Mbps internet-only plan.
  • Cable TV lines (cable). Cable internet reaches your home through the same coaxial cables that your TV service likely uses. It also offers an improved connection speed over most other internet options. One major perk is that it is widely available — unlike fiber internet. Examples of Cable plans include 100 Mbps internet-only plan.
  • Fiber-optic lines (fiber). Fiber optic cables are a truly impressive development for data transfer. Fiber internet utilizes these optic lines that are made of many small fibers of glass. With this method, data is actually sent at the speed of light, since it is not electricity that is being sent through the lines, but light. Unfortunately, fiber internet isn’t readily available. Examples of fiber plans include gigabit internet service.

What Is Optical Fiber Technology?

Fiber optics, or optical fibers, are long, thin strands of carefully drawn glass about the diameter of a human hair. These strands are arranged in bundles called optical cables. We rely on them to transmit light signals over long distances. At the transmitting source, the light signals are encoded with data… the same data you see on the screen of a computer. So, the optical fiber transmits “data” by light to a receiving end, where the light signal is decoded as data. Therefore, fiber optics is actually a transmission medium – a “pipe” to carry signals over long distances at very high speeds. Fiber optic cables were originally developed in the 1950’s for endoscopes. The purpose was to help doctors view the inside of a human patient without major surgery. In the 1960’s, telephone engineers found a way to use the same technology to transmit and receive telephone calls at the “speed of light”. That is about 186,000 miles per second in a vacuum, but slows to about two-thirds of this speed in a cable.

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How Do Fiber Optics Work?

Light travels down a fiber optic cable by bouncing off the walls of the cable repeatedly. Each light particle (photon) bounces down the pipe with continued internal mirror-like reflection. The light beam travels down the core of the cable. The core is the middle of the cable and the glass structure. The cladding is another layer of glass wrapped around the core. Cladding is there to keep the light signals inside the core.

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