With the demand for high-speed broadband internet being greater than ever, families and small businesses have plenty of options to choose from. From familiar standards like cable and DSL to newer options like 5G wireless access and Starlink, providers have a wide range of ways to deliver internet service to you and are constantly competing against each other to be the best. When considering your own needs, your location, and your budget, with these companies vying for your business, it can be hard to pick a winner in this proverbial battle royale.
At ACE Fiber, the leader in innovation and economic development in Alcorn County, we’re not afraid to step into the ring with the big companies. With lightning-fast speeds available and a commitment to you for superior service, our fiber-optic internet can provide unrivaled speed, reliability, and support at affordable prices. In the Battle of the Broadbands, fiber-optic internet can take on all challengers and come out on top.
Cable Internet: The Biggest Doesn’t Mean the Best
By far, cable internet is the biggest contender, which has been the standard for broadband service providers in the US for years. Most cable internet connections have an average download speed of around 100 to 150 megabytes per second (Mbps), enough to download a 2-hour-long HD movie in about 4 to 5 minutes. Since it uses the same copper coaxial lines as cable TV to deliver signals to and from your home, cable internet’s biggest advantage is its availability–any location that’s connected to cable TV likely has cable internet as well.
On the other hand, cable’s biggest advantage can also become its biggest disadvantage. Having so many users online at a time can overload the wires in the network, causing connection speeds to drop dramatically. Slowdowns from this kind of congestion cause calls and online meetings to drop, movies and shows to become choppy or pixelated while streaming, or the ever-dreaded lag that has sealed the doom of countless online gamers. While you may be paying for a fast connection speed, you may not always be getting your money’s worth.
Fiber-optic connections, on the other hand, connect directly from the provider to your home, with speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second, over 1000 times faster than most cable! Downloading that same 2-hour HD movie with a fiber connection can take less than thirty seconds. On top of its incredible speed, the direct connection means you’ll be able to enjoy that speed consistently, even during peak usage times. As fiber coverage continues to grow across the country, so do the reasons to switch from cable.
DSL: Affordable but Slow
A long-time competitor of cable, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections use copper phone lines rather than TV cables. Since phone lines are even more common than cable connections, DSL is even more widely available and generally has more affordable service plans.
However, with a download speed range of only 5 to 35 Mbps, DSL is significantly slower. That 2-hour movie that takes fiber less than 30 seconds to download can take over half an hour with DSL. What’s more, the connection can get less reliable the further away you are from the provider.
While DSL is serviceable for basic tasks like web surfing and streaming in standard definition, when it comes to meeting the needs of modern homes and businesses, fiber simply outclasses it across the board.
Satellite: A Situational Option
Satellite broadband has been the de facto option for people living in rural or remote areas since signals from satellites can reach almost anywhere on Earth. And while satellite is far slower than fiber, some providers are able to match cable in terms of speed. Recently, Elon Musk’s Starlink service has generated a lot of buzz, with its low-orbit satellite network able to provide download speeds consistently over 100 to 300 Mbps, putting it equal to (if not better than) cable.
However, even the best satellite service has considerable drawbacks. While Starlink’s speed is impressive, it’s also more expensive than most satellite providers, who only manage an average download speed of 40 Mbps. Also, out of all broadband providers, satellite has the highest latency (the amount of time it takes for a signal to reach a remote server), with an average delay of over half a second, which can make calls difficult and outright ruin online gaming. Starlink brings that delay down to a more respectable 62 milliseconds, but even that pales to fiber’s average latency of only 11 milliseconds. ACE Fiber subscribers generally see an average latency of only 1-4 milliseconds at the optical network terminal (ONT).
Moreover, just like with satellite TV, bad weather can interfere with satellite internet signals, delaying and even dropping service, which can be disastrous in an emergency. Fiber-optic internet, on the other hand, is far more secure and durable in adverse conditions. While satellite can still work for those who don’t have access to faster options, fiber will always have it beat anywhere it’s available.
5G Wireless: Fast but Far from Flawless
In the arena of super-fast speeds, fiber-optic has one major contender: 5G wireless. Companies like Verizon and TMobile have expanded their wireless networks beyond cell phones to provide home internet services. This newest generation of wireless technology offers speeds up to 100 times faster than the previous generation, able to reach speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. Since it doesn’t need physical cables, 5G wireless is more flexible and easier to deploy as long as there are cellular towers nearby.
Just like with cable, however, the key is consistency. While 5G is capable of blistering speeds that can meet and even beat fiber-optic connections, these wireless connections are still vulnerable to slowdowns from heavy traffic, a problem made worse if there aren’t enough towers in the area. And while it’s far more reliable than satellite, wireless can still be slowed down by trees, hills, and other obstructions. A fiber connection offers more consistent high speeds, without having to worry about traffic, signal strength, or interference. What’s more, 5G wireless is generally not available in rural areas, as 5G antennas need a line-of-site connection to the device, which requires many antennas in a small area.
And the Winner Is…
In the Battle of the Broadbands, fiber-optic internet stands tall as the clear winner. Fiber provides speed and power that no other provider can consistently match and can do so at an affordable price. As we continue to expand our coverage into neighboring counties, ACE Fiber can’t wait to show what the best internet service available can do for you.
If you’re ready to experience the best, click here to switch to ACE Fiber.