Internet Speed Tests are vital to keeping track of your broadband speeds. Most of the time, internet service providers claim they offer a very fast download/upload speed, but in reality, you may only get a connection speed which is a fraction of what was advertised. Fiber optic broadband offers very fast speeds compared to traditional broadband, so many are choosing this connection option.
When choosing an internet service provider, we are often confronted with advertisements where the provider says they offer speeds “Up to XXMb/s”. By up to, this means that this is the maximum speed they can achieve, but only a tiny fraction of consumers are able to get speeds like this. The speed that you will get will vary greatly depending on your location.
For example, if you use cable internet, you will be sharing your connection with other people within your building, if you live in a block of flats for example. So if you have a neighbour who downloads a lot of content at regular intervals, this will drastically reduce the bandwidth you receive, and thus the quality of your internet connection.
Some people have decided to invest in fibre optic broadband to overcome this. There is a lot of difference between fiber optic broadband and traditional broadband, which uses copper cabling.
What is the difference between Fiber Optic and Copper Broadband?
Copper wire transmits a connection using pulses, whereas fiber optic cable carries light impulses transmitted by an LED or laser. Because light travels a lot faster, it is able to reach your computer quicker.
To put this into some context, a copper wire can carry around 3000 phone calls at once. On the other hand, fiber optic can carry over ten times as much at 31000 phone calls at the same time. This makes fiber optic far more efficient and speedy than copper. Another interesting statistic is the fact that fiber optic cable can carry around 1000x the bandwidth of copper cable. Oh…and it can travel 100 times further aswell.
In terms of interference, Fiber optic cable is also much less susceptible to noise than copper wire. Taking a distance of around 2000 metres as an example, copper wire would experience a great deal of degradation. Over the same distance fiber optic cable would have no interference at all.
One of the only areas where copper has an advantage over fibre optic cable is where pricing is concerned. Cable for fiber optics in itself is not more expensive than copper. The real cost comes with the supporting electronics needed to setup the fiber optic line. Despite the high set up costs, fiber optic is cheaper in the long run so the investment is certainly worth it. Because fiber optic requires less ongoing maintenance, they will experience a reduced amount of down-time compared to copper connections.
All in all, as a consumer, you should be aiming to have a fibre optic connection because of the speed and reliability. But, because it is more expensive, it may be too hard on your pocket to afford the improved connection. The cost will come down over time for fiber optic, so make sure you keep an eye on it!