Speed. Mention internet connections and speed is the first, usually the only, thing a customer asks about. And, in today’s digital climate, fiber is the de facto medium for fast internet speeds. A fiber optic internet connection is the ultimate in speed and reliability for today’s enterprise environment.
When considering a fiber connection for internet, you should know what you're getting. Advertising is known for telling us what we want to hear, not necessarily what we need to know. It’s always best to read the fine print and ask questions to discover just what kind of service you will enjoy from your fiber optic cable internet connection.
What is a Fiber Optic Internet Connection?
Fiber optic technology that brings ultra-fast connection speeds are generally brought to us through Passive Optical Networks (PON) or Active Optical Networks (AON).
Fiber is a “passive” solution because it doesn’t use electricity to transfer data through lines (like copper DSL and cable), or utilize active components like amplifiers, repeaters, and shaping circuits to push the data along like an AON. And it’s “optical” because it uses light to transfer data. PONs cost significantly less than AONs because they lack the cost of active components.
The main disadvantage of a PON is a shorter range, which is limited by signal strength. While an AON can cover a range to about 62 miles, a PON is generally limited to a range of 12 miles.
Best Effort Fiber Optic Internet Connection
Today, most consumer-level Internet service plans are best-effort plans. This means that the advertised speed is the upper limit of what you may actually get. For example, if you’re paying for a 100 Mbps best-effort plan, you may occasionally reach speeds of up to 45-50 Mbps. Therefore, 100 Mbps is the “best effort” this service could possibly provide; not the average or expected normal usage speed.
These plans are not bad. They only achieve a portion of their advertised speed because they’re typically shared data lines that connect many customers. You share the same uplink to your Internet Service Providers as those living or doing business around you, so your connection speed fluctuates with the traffic those around you are trying to push through the same link.
For many, best-effort internet plans are a great option. They’re available practically everywhere and they provide all the speed normal households and businesses need to check email, play games online, and watch most streaming content.
Dedicated Fiber Optic Internet Connection
A dedicated line is exactly that: it is your own personal fiber optic internet connection through which data is transferred directly between you and your ISP. For example, if you have a 50 Mbps dedicated line, you are receiving 50 Mbps all the time. Your neighbor is on another connection, so their traffic does not affect your connection speed.
A dedicated fiber optic internet connection typically costs more than a best effort line. You are using more internet resources, so you pay more. Also, you generally pay for the cost of running the fiber cable from the nearest connection site to your site. However, businesses or organizations that depend on heavy data transfer for mission-critical operations need something better than best-effort.
When a YouTube video hangs up at home, it’s irritating, but no big deal. Simply reload it and continue watching. If you’re using the internet to make money and you can’t connect for a scheduled video conference, or your time-sensitive files won’t upload, the issue becomes critical. When your business relies on the internet, you need the reliability of a fiber optic internet connection. Dedicated connections come with service level guarantees and are generally backed by better support on repair issues than best effort plans.
However, there are times when fiber companies require a build-out to reach your location. This can become costly, both financially and in terms of time. It’s not uncommon to wait for months for a fiber connection to reach your site. Most businesses are not willing to swallow the price or the wait.Sometimes fiber simply isn't an option; or, if you've had a not-so-great experience with fiber, MHO's fixed wireless technology can be a solution for your business. Schedule a consultation with our professional staff today to discuss your business internet needs.