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The Differences Between Fiber and Cable Internet

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At Teleful Connect, we understand that staying connected to the internet is important for many employees and students. Cable and internet providers have plenty of options for internet access, but which one is right for you? One place to start is deciding between fiber and cable internet options. Here are some of the differences to help you decide which option is best for your situation.

The Basics in Setup

Fiber and cable differ in the basics of how online information is transmitted. Fiber internet technology sends information like light through small, flexible strands of glass. These are grouped together in bundles that are then layered in plastic. This helps the information transmit faster and with fewer interruptions. The distance that fiber internet can travel is longer than that of cable because of the way the data is carried.

Cable internet is transmitted through coaxial cables and the data is sent like electricity. There are copper cores to these cables that are insulated with layers of aluminum, more copper, and plastic. Data is not quite as clean with this method because of the potential for interference. Weather events that affect copper, like extreme cold, and electromagnetic weather, like lightning, can interrupt the transmission.

Both setups use cables, but there are differences in how they are wrapped and what materials they use. This affects the amount of data that can transfer and the speed at which data is transferred.

Differences to Consider

When choosing a cable and internet provider, it is important to look at what type of internet is offered. Not all providers offer fiber internet, but others only offer fiber. Knowing which type you prefer can help narrow down various cable and internet providers in your area.

Here are five main factors to consider when choosing a provider:

Availability

Cable internet is the most common setup, which means it has the most coverage nationwide. Many television networks use cable because it helps get their service into more areas. Cable and internet providers will often group their services together because they are so compatible with the transmissions.

Fiber internet connections are not as easy to access. Many neighborhoods that are outside of urban areas have difficulty picking up this form of internet. Businesses and homes that are in metro areas usually will have access at faster speeds.

Reliability

Fiber and cable internet connections are similar in reliability when conditions are ideal. These types of conditions may include a steady stream of electricity and consistent weather. As previously mentioned, storms and weather can influence the reliability of cable internet connections.

If a fiber internet connection is available, it will not experience the same interruptions when storms roll in. Power outages do not interrupt fiber internet because the cables do not conduct electricity. This transmission route is immune to power outages and has a decreased risk of starting a fire.

For people who require a steady, reliable internet connection around the clock, fiber internet may be the better choice. If internet access isn’t a constant need, it may be worth it to have a cable internet connection to your home or business.

Speed

A cable network, or broadband internet, is usually sufficient to meet most needs of small businesses and homes. The speeds available are adequate for downloading, uploading, running multiple devices, and video streaming. Gamers usually have enough speed and reliability to keep up their activities too.

The larger a company or the higher the demand for internet access, the less ideal cable internet connections become. Fiber internet connections are better suited to meet the demands of a shared network with high traffic. Since it can meet these demands, a fiber internet option is going to be faster for sending and receiving information.

Fiber internet has a consistent speed during its use. Cable internet can slow down during peak times. This is because the bandwidth of your internet is shared with your neighbors who use the same service. The most popular time to use the internet is during the evening hours because user density tends to lessen.

Cost

When deciding on the right type of internet for your home or business, the cost is one of the main determining factors. Cable internet is typically less expensive than fiber internet. There are usually packages that help bring the cost of fiber lower, but it is more expensive than cable.

Ranking these areas in importance to your situation is a great way to narrow down your best internet options. Calling and asking about specific aspects of providers is a great way to find the internet you want in the budget you need.

Location

Before signing up for internet service, be sure you consider your location. Based on where you live, your television and phone services can be bundled for a lower price. This is typically only offered in the cable internet option.

Fiber internet is priced based on usage and location. When it is offered in your neighborhood, the location will likely be less expensive. If the internet provider has had to adjust their network or equipment to make a fiber connection available in your area, the cost will likely be higher. The price can compound if you use a lot of data.

Both fiber and cable internet connections may require installation and activation fees. These will differ depending on the service and location of your home or business. Even when they are only one-time fees, they should be factored into the overall cost to use that type of internet.

Choosing Between Cable and Internet Providers

Choosing the right internet option for your home or business has many different factors. As you decide which one is the best choice for your situation, it is important to decide what you need and what you prefer. If speed and reliability are what you're looking for, choosing a more expensive fiber internet connection is worth it. For those who need to stick within a budget, a cable connection may be the best bet. Call us at Teleful Connect to learn about what options are available.