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The Overhype of Gigabit Internet Speeds

October 16th, 2019 by admin

close-up on cable

Gig-speed internet is shorthand for broadband service with up to gigabit-per-second download speeds and it’s the fancy new thing on the market. Although it might seem like having ultra-fast internet is necessary in your business, the truth is signing up for a gigabit connection just because it’s currently available in your area, might not make a whole lot of sense for your situation. Here are some things to consider before making the switch.

Just a decade ago, fiber to the home (FTTH) was an exclusive realm of big telecom companies. At that time, Verizon proved that a large internet access network with fiber optic infrastructure serving millions of subscribers was possible. Thanks to the reduction in the cost and complexity of building and operating a gigabit internet access network, today smaller organizations like municipal power utilities and real estate developers have become gigabit ISPs. This has greatly expanded the reach of gigabit internet options.

On average, U.S. Internet users get about 10Mbps. The 1Gbps provided by a gigabit connection is 100 times faster than this average. The idea of having more speed to load your programs might sound great, but do you really need to pay for an internet connection that is 100 times faster than your current speed to handle your online activity? The answer is typically no. But, it really depends on how capable your current hardware is of handling those speeds and dispersing them across your end points.

To start assessing this, you need to establish whether your computers and network are even gigabit capable. If your computer and/or devices are not currently gigabit-capable, you will need to upgrade your hardware and operating system to get anywhere near gigabit speeds. However, it’s likely this won’t be worth the time, money, and trouble. If your computers work on Windows 10, 8, or 7, CNET has a guide you can use to determine whether or not your computer is gigabit-capable.

But, do you really need 1Gbps internet speeds? If your usage is no more than just basic browsing, social networking and streaming videos or video conferencing, internet speeds up to 40-50Mbps should be good enough. For power users, say businesses who stream and download 4K content regularly or in an enterprise scenario with multiple workstations (more than 25), 1Gbps download speeds can matter. But again, it only matters if your computers and network can actually support those speeds.

Currently, fiber optic cable passes 25 million American homes, according to Render, with 11.6 million FTTH connected homes as of the second quarter of this year. And hooking up the remainder of the 25 million homes doesn’t require a network upgrade because most of this ISP infrastructure equipment connecting the existing FTTH customers was designed as a gigabit-capable passive optical network (GPON). However, your business may need a network upgrade to access this fiber optic super high-speed internet so you’ll need a custom evaluation of your situation before deciding.

We are here to help! Get a network evaluation and internet speed test to determine what capabilities you currently have and what you really need to run at optimal efficiency. Request a quote today!

Posted in: IT, Solutions

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