I Want Super-Fast Broadband – Can I Get It?

Super-Fast Broadband with fiber optic cable

Fiber optic broadband is sometimes classified as super-fast broadband. It’s the fastest broadband available to residential consumers and is an incredible service for most. Fiber optic broadband does come in different package speeds. In this article, we’ll look at whether you can get it in your home and the speeds attainable through some different providers.

The Speeds of Fiber Optic Broadband:

Super-fast fiber optic broadband is up 100Mpbs for residential consumers. Virgin Broadband offers incredible speeds that can be enough to do the highest intensity activities and for multiple people to engage with the internet at the same time. With the slowest connections, you tend to get up to 24Mbps or up to 38Mbps as with Sky Broadband. These connections still are very fast considering the fact that you get almost the speed that is advertised.

ADSL Broadband:

With ADSL Broadband you only get a fraction of the speed advertised in some cases. This is because the copper cables of the BT infrastructure are not very good at allowing the internet data to pass and therefore there are bottlenecks and slowdowns along the journey. With fiber optic cables they are optimal for internet transfer. Therefore you get close to your advertised speed especially on fiber-to-the-home offerings.

Fiber-to-the-home is where the entire internet journey is over the fiber optic cables. With fiber-to-the-cabinet, the final leg of the journey is over copper cables of the BT infrastructure. Therefore, with fiber-to-the-cabinet you tend to lose a bit more speed.

How important is speed?

Speed of broadband is crucial to many of the activities you do. If you’re looking to do high definition movie streaming, you may need 5Mbps connections. Indeed, with standard definition movies you may well need between 0.5Mbps and 2Mbps otherwise you’ll end up waiting around while the connection buffers the stream and you may even end up with breaks in your connection during a movie or a video event. It’s important therefore that you have enough download speed to handle the challenges.

Have a look at: Factors That Affect Your Broadband Speed.

What about upload speed?

With upload speed you can be seriously impacted if you haven’t got enough. If you are sending photos to Facebook and there are pretty large files, you could end up waiting for ten minutes for them to upload and not know whether it’s actually progressing or not.

Indeed, if you’re uploading large files to a web server or to Google docs again you could wait for hours and hours. Upload speed tends to be much lower than download speeds. If you have an up to 16Mbps download speed you may only have 1Mbps upload speed. Indeed, with performance issues you may even get much lower speed on upload than this. This can mean waiting around for hours and hours.

Business connections can have symmetric connections, for example, symmetric DSL, SDSL, as opposed to ADSL. With symmetric connections you have the same upload speed and download speed meaning that you can do the things that you want to do upstream just as fast as you want those that you want to do downstream. This is a great benefit for businesses that spend more time sending data than receiving it.

Of course, as residential broadband consumers, we do spend more time browsing, downloading, and generally interacting with data that’s coming to us than sending data away. However, it’s important for you understand your particular activity so you ensure that you get the upload speed that you require.

Latency and Ping Speeds:

Latency or ping is the amount of time it takes to get response from the server. It isn’t the speed of data transfer; it is the speed of response. The ping speed is important for certain activities such as multiplayer gaming, online video chat, and even sometimes video streaming. If you have poor latency speeds you can end up with a jittery and generally poor quality performance of certain activities. It’s therefore important that you have a good ping speed.

This is somewhere that fiber optic broadband can fall down. The fiber optic cables aren’t always the best at getting the best ping rates and where you may get 35milliseconds on ADSL, you may get double or more this on fiber optic broadband. It’s important to consider this when you’re looking at the activities you want to do and it may be that you want to choose an ADSL connection if you are looking to do certain activities.

Can I get fiber optic broadband?

Many of us are wondering whether we can get fiber optic broadband in our area or not. The cables are being run all the time and it may have changed since we last checked. The best way to check is to do a post code search. If you search online for Can I get fibre optic broadband? you’ll get a number of search results offering you tools to find out. All you have to do is pop in your postcode and you’ll be shown the providers that are servicing your area.

If they are servicing your area, you’ll also probably be able to see the package details, costs, speeds, and so on. You can then look at the small print, fair usage policies and traffic management to decide whether a particular deal is for you.

It’s also well worth looking at the speed test results that people have done in your area.

Have a look at: Free Softwares To Increase Your Internet Speed.

Speed Test Results:

Whenever someone does a speed test on their connection, they are normally provided with the opportunity to share their results. These results go into the back end of a system where you can search on a map and find out what connection speeds different providers are attaining in your neighbourhood. This is a great way to see actual speeds of fiber optic and ADSL broadband without having to rely on advertised speeds.

Generally, fiber optic broadband gets very close to the advertised level. However, we’ve seen that Virgin Broadband are best on this measure and sometimes you may get 10Mbps slower if you are a long way from the cabinet or if you have a poor infrastructure in your home. It’s therefore really crucial that you do a variety of tests to ensure that you get the best broadband connection available to you.

Do also consider your usage profile to ensure that you manage to get a connection that is appropriate and not superfluous to your requirements. You just end up wasting money if you get an unlimited top level connection and you don’t end up using your broadband for doing anything other than browsing and checking e-mail.

Image Credit: pakorn.

Author Bio:

Sam Jones’s son wanted to make sure his fiber optic broadband was working at its maximum potential. Sites like uSwitch told him how he could do this and saved him a lot of time.

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