Last updated on February 11th, 2020 at 05:17 pm
The word ‘faster’ echoes throughout the telecom market of the US. You can hear it if you listen closely. And as we step into a new year loaded with new possibilities, this echo booms even louder. People’s need for high-speed internet connectivity is becoming an urgent demand as we speak, and this demand is what’s got everyone on their toes.
You can see internet providers struggling hard to beat the competition and develop advanced network technologies that produce enough speeds to satisfy consumers. It is a result of this effort that next-gen internet tech, like the fiber optic and 5G, has finally graced the telecom scene.
What is fiber optic internet? What is 5G? Which one is better?
The answers to these questions become relevant especially if you happen to live in an area where both network technologies are being offered. Providers like AT&T & Verizon are striving to roll out their variations of Fiber and 5G and have managed to acquire significant coverage in zips across the US. However, they’re still being perfected, and chances are that you’ll see more of fiber optic and 5G by mid-2020.
Till then, you can resort to reading about these wonders and getting know-how of how they work, so when the time comes of choosing a service for your home, you’ll be absolutely sure of which one to go for. Let this post help you compare fiber optic and 5G in the meantime.
Hardware Debate: Wired or Wireless?
Fiber optic internet is called so because it uses fiber optic cables to distribute data signals at a lightning-fast pace to people’s homes. These cables are essentially different from the copper ones which you find literally everywhere in the shape of DSL or coax. While the copper wires carry signals in the form of electric waves, fiber’s glass-based wires beam the same data signals as pulses of light that travel a hundred times faster.
This sophistication is precisely what makes fiber optic state-of-the-art and a champion in the telecom market. However, it is due to this very feature that fiber optic is considered super-expensive as well. In order to subscribe to a fiber internet plan, you have to make sure that you have a $1000 ready for installation of these new & improved cables. On top of that, you need to have a fiber-compatible router, which is advanced enough to receive and translate the blazing speeds, and those things don’t come cheap. Interestingly, many cable providers also offer fiber-fast connectivity these days to people who can’t afford to dig up their front porch. Though they’re not 100% fiber, still they’re good enough.
Let’s come to 5G home internet. First thing’s first: it is completely wireless. So, you don’t have to worry about defacing your house. All you need is a 5G-compatible router and you’ll be good to go. How does 5G work? Well, when a provider links a fiber optic line to a cellular tower, this newly created “node” then becomes potent enough to transmit data signals via the antenna to people’s homes. These signals are beamformed, i.e. delivered over the most efficient route to a particular user and not universally to everyone everywhere.
This signal transmission technique leaves zero gaps for any sort of latency and becomes immune to all kinds of destructive interferences. However, the only downside to 5G home internet is that it requires a greater number of antennas to cover an area in order to deliver the promised speeds. Otherwise, there is a chance of the network being congested.
Speed Evaluation: What to Expect from Fiber & 5G?
Before you can jump to the speeds that fiber optic and 5G deliver, you need to take a look at your own internet usage habits, and of those in your home. This step will help you determine the actual utility of both services. For instance, if you live in a huge household with more than ten people, who in turn connect two devices each at the same time to the web, then you would require more than 900 Mbps speeds to successfully support 20+ devices simultaneously. This is exactly the kind of tier which fiber optic and 5G home internet are capable of delivering.
With fiber optic, you can expect to enjoy symmetrical download and upload speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Take a look at AT&T Fiber’s Internet 1000 plan which costs only $70 per month. On the other hand, 5G home internet also promises 1 Gig+ speed. As an example, you can check out Verizon’s famous 5G for Home plan, which supplies up to 300 Mbps wireless speeds for only $70 per month. You can even get the service free for the first three months, without signing a contract.
One thing’s for sure: Both fiber optic and 5G offer ground-breaking levels of internet speed, which can take your connectivity experience to the next level. So, hang tight!