What Makes Fiber Internet Better?

Fiber-optic technology is booming in popularity thanks to its high speeds and costs that are typically no higher than cable. But what is fiber internet and how does it work? And if it is so good, why is it not widely available? Read on to learn all about fiber internet.

Table of Contents

  • How Does Fiber Internet Work?
  • What Are Fiber Internet Speeds?
  • What Can You Do With Fiber?
  • Comparing Fiber to Cable and DSL
  • Pros and Cons of Fiber Internet
  • FAQ


Fiber internet is the newest internet connection technology and has seen a surge in both availability and popularity recently. It brings fast and reliable speeds thanks to its light signal technology. This article explains how fiber internet works, what it is good for and how it compares to cable and DSL internet options.

How Does Fiber Internet Work?

Fiber internet operates through glass strands, or optical fibers, that transmit data in the form of light signals. A light signal is reflected within the fiber which carries the internet data along a route that allows for greater bandwidth, and with less interference, than cable or DSL connections.

This means that wherever it is available, fiber-optic internet provides the fastest possible internet connections. Its availability is also perhaps fiber’s most glaring issue – while cable and DSL are widespread, fiber is only available in select markets, usually only in urban and suburban areas. However, fiber-optic service is quickly expanding its reach, and customer base, as a result.

What Are Fiber Internet Speeds?

Fiber internet speeds are the fastest speeds available, with top residential speeds reaching  an amazing 5 Gbps, or 5,000 Mbps. Fiber-optic wires are adept at providing greater bandwidth than normal coaxial cables. Bandwidth refers to the capacity available in an internet connection for data packets to be transmitted through. This means that there can be many devices using one network at the same time without experiencing any major latency issues.

For this reason, fiber-optic is the top choice for any speed demons who are wishing to make the most out of a high-speed internet connection. If you want to maximize your speeds by utilizing a larger bandwidth, definitely see if fiber is available near you.

What Fiber Internet is used for

What Can You Do With Fiber?

Fiber internet is great for pretty much any online activity. Its light-reflecting glass cables are equipped to handle large amounts of bandwidth, and therefore high speeds, quite easily. They are also strong, flexible and very reliable when compared to typical cable or DSL wires. This makes numerous tasks and activities perfect for a fiber-optic connection, including:

  • Browsing online
  • Social media use
  • Emailing
  • Streaming movies, shows or music
  • Intense online gaming
  • Downloading and uploading large files
  • Video conferencing
  • Working or learning from home

Comparing Fiber to Cable and DSL

Wherever fiber-optic internet is available, there is a good chance that cable or DSL internet providers are there as well. How do you know which type of internet to pick when the choice presents itself?

Comparing Fiber, Cable and DSL
Type of InternetSpeedsAvailabilityStandout Feature
FiberUp to about 5,000 MbpsNot yet widely available but constantly expandingNewest, fastest, most reliable high-speed option
CableUp to about 940 MbpsVery widespreadMost widespread and available high-speed option
DSLUp to about 100 MbpsVery widespreadLeast expensive and very widespread option

Learning about the different types of internet can be quite beneficial when shopping around for a new internet service provider. Make sure you do your research prior to buying.

Pros and Cons of Fiber Internet

Fiber internet has its pros and cons. Consult the list below to see where fiber internet excels and fails.

  • Fastest internet speeds available
  • Newest internet connection type
  • Reliability from glass infrastructure with greater bandwidth
  • Usually similarly priced to cable or DSL plans
  • Increasing affordability and availability
  • Not yet widely available
  • Expensive and complicated to install in new areas
  • May not be fully fiber (FTTN or FTTC connections are common)

Frequently asked questions

What is fiber-optic internet?

Fiber-optic internet, or fiber internet, is a type of high-speed internet connection that uses light signals reflected in a glass tube, or optical fiber, to transmit data packets.

What is the best fiber internet provider?

AT&T Fiber has a few fiber internet plans available that provide great speeds at a great price.

Is fiber better than cable?

Fiber internet is typically more reliable and faster than cable. However, due to fiber's relative scarcity, cable is the only high-speed internet option for many people. High-speed cable internet can usually provide all the speed a family needs.

How fast is fiber internet?

Fiber internet speeds can now reach up to 5,000 Mbps upload and download.

What Is the Xumo Stream Box?

The Xumo Stream Box is a new, easier way to stream both live TV and On Demand content. Get a FREE Xumo Stream Box for a year right now.

Is Spectrum Getting Symmetrical Speeds?

Spectrum Internet is slowly but surely upgrading its cable infrastructure to allow users to reach faster speeds than ever before. What does this mean for Spectrum customers?

What Is AT&T Internet Air? And How to Get It

AT&T Internet Air is a wireless, 5G internet service that can provide reliable speeds with simple, affordable pricing. The service is currently available in limited markets.