What is Fiber Internet? Answers to Common Questions

It’s no surprise that people take their home internet so seriously. Between remote work, gaming, streaming videos, social media, email, and so on, many of us spend a huge portion of our lives online. It makes sense to search for internet with fast speeds and high bandwidth. I think that’s what draws so many people to internet powered by fiber. In this post, I’ll answer some of the most common questions about the technology, and help give you a solid overview of what makes fiber so great.

What is fiber optic?

Fiber optic is a type of technology that transmits data by sending light along thin glass fibers. Fiber broadband (sometimes called fiber internet) is an internet service that is powered by fiber optic cables. This is different from traditional cable internet, which transmits information by sending electricity over copper wires.

What makes fiber different?

While internet access will always depend on your individual budget and availability, there are plenty of great reasons to choose internet powered by a fiber network. For one thing, fiber has the potential to transmit data at much higher speeds than DSL or cable-based internet.

It’s important to know, however, that your exact internet speed can vary depending on a wide range of factors, including your specific internet service provider. Internet plans powered by AT&T Fiber, for example, can deliver up to 20x faster upload speeds than cable.1

  1. Comparison of Internet 1000 wired upload connection speed to Xfinity, Spectrum & COX 1Gig service with uploads of 35 Mbps. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.

Download speeds vs upload speeds

For those who may not know, you’ll often see internet plans measured by download speeds and upload speeds. What exactly do these mean? In simple terms, the download speed tells you how quickly your internet service can move information from remote servers onto your device, while the upload speed tells you the opposite. Both the download speed and the upload speed are typically measured in megabits per second, or Mbps.

Both are also key components of a great internet experience. For example, high downloads speeds help for things like streaming videos and downloading large files, while high uploads speeds are important for things like video chatting and online gaming.

If you want to know your current internet speed, you can check with this tool from AT&T. It will work even if you aren’t currently using AT&T Internet.

Can fiber have Wi-Fi?

Fiber optic is a distinct technology from Wi-Fi, but you can definitely use W-Fi in conjunction with fiber optic technology if you have the necessary equipment. In-home Wi-Fi works by using gateway technology to deliver Wi-Fi. Faster internet can aid in delivering more coverage because of bandwidth capabilities. For example, you can get wall-to-wall Wi-Fi coverage in your home3 with an AT&T Wi-Fi Gateway while using an internet plan powered by AT&T Fiber.

3. Requires compatible gateway. Whole-home Wi-Fi connectivity may require AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender(s), sold separately.

Why would I want fiber?

Typically, internet service provided over fiber is great for people who really value consistently high performance on their internet connection, especially if they use their internet service for data-intensive tasks.

People who may especially enjoy fiber-powered internet include telecommuters, competitive online gamers, VR enthusiasts, people who love to stream HD video, and people who may need to regularly download or upload large files.

Fiber-powered internet is also perfect for smart home enthusiasts and households with multiple internet users. This is because the more connected devices you add to your internet connection, the more bandwidth you’ll need to keep them all running smoothly.

Many of us don’t even realize how many devices are on our home networks. For example, it wouldn’t be too unusual for a family of four to have four smartphones, three laptops, a desktop computer, a gaming system, a smart speaker, a smart thermostat, and a smart camera—all running on one internet connection. If this sounds like your home, you might want to seriously consider getting internet powered by fiber.

How do I choose a fiber-powered internet plan?

If you’re wondering exactly how much internet you’ll need for your household, AT&T Fiber provides multiple plan choices based on your internet usage needs. For example, the Internet 300 plan has 15x faster upload speeds than cable4  and allows you to connect 10+ devices at once throughout your home.5 The Internet 1000 plan provides a superfast 1000Mbps connection with 20x faster upload speeds than cable* that supports 12+ devices at once, depending on screen size and resolution.

  1. Comparison of Internet 100 wired upload connection speed to Spectrum 100MB with 100MB download and 10MB upload.

*Comparison of Internet 1000 wired upload connection speed to Xfinity, Spectrum & COX 1Gig service with uploads of 35 Mbps. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.

  1. Number of devices depends on screen size/ resolution.
  2. Comparison of Internet 300 wired upload connection speed to Xfinity, Spectrum and Cox 300MB, 400MB and 500MB. plans with 300MB, 400MB and 500MB download and 10MB and 20MB upload.
  3. Speed/time examples are estimates and based on wired connection to gateway.

Is it worth getting gigabit internet?

The same people who enjoy fiber-powered internet more broadly are likely to enjoy gigabit internet. It takes that high performance all the way to a download speed of up to 940Mbps. Take, for example, Internet 1000, which can help you do all of the following impressive things.

  • Upload a 4-minute HD video in 1 seconds.
  • Upload 10 photos in less than 1 second.
  • Download a 1GB file in less than 1 minute.
  • Stream HD video on up to 9 devices, 4K Ultra HD on up to 2 devices*.

*Speed/Time examples are estimates and based on wired connection to gateway.

Only you can decide how much speed you need to meet your own internet needs, but it’s also easy to see why so many people would decide that gigabit internet is worth it.

What is the best fiber internet service provider?

While “best” is always a matter of preference, there are a lot of great arguments for choosing internet plans powered by AT&T Fiber. For example,  AT&T Internet is first in customer satisfaction for residential internet service in the south, west, and northwest regions according to J.D. Power8. AT&T Fiber and other AT&T Internet plans also provide a reliability rate of more than 99%9, so you know it’s a service you can count on.

  1. AT&T/DIRECTV received the highest score in the north central, south and west regions in the J.D. Power 202 U.S Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction (ISP) Study of customers’ satisfaction with their current internet service provider. Visit jdpower.com/awards.
  2. Based on network availability.

In addition to great internet, there are also some really cool included benefits that can come with plans powered AT&T Fiber. For example, with Internet 1000, you’ll also get unlimited data on your home internet connection and access to AT&T Smart Home Manager—included at no additional cost.

Is fiber-powered internet available everywhere?

You will have to check with internet service providers in your area to see if they offer fiber-powered internet where you live. For plans powered by AT&T Fiber, you can use the check availability feature to see which plans are available at your address.

Hopefully, this post gave you a solid overview of fiber optic technology and how it works. Go here if you want to learn more about plans powered by AT&T Fiber.

This article is AT&T sponsored content written by Matt Johnsen, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are his own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.



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