What is Fiber Optics: An Overview
There are over 500 million Internet-connected devices in American homes and businesses. Thanks to these devices, the demand for fast, reliable Internet is increasing. This increase will continue as businesses, especially, depend on Internet to complete everyday operations. Almost ⅓ of businesses state a need for Internet speeds that rely on greater capacity networks than currently exist in many U.S. locations.
Fiber optic networks are one of the greater capacity networks. They provide high speed data rates and flexible bandwidth. Fiber optic cables are made of thin, pure glass that is powered by light wavelengths. By using fiber optic instead of copper cables, Internet providers are not susceptible to electrical interference. They can transmit in Gbps, or Gigabits per second – speeds 1000 times faster than 1 Mbps. A limited percent of the U.S. population has access to the infrastructure needed to support Gbps speeds. But, of that population 90% use fiber optics to the premises, or FTTP, networks.
How Fast is Fiber Optic Internet?
The two common data rates, gigabits and megabits can illustrate why fiber optics are ideal for reliability and speed. According to Akamai Technologies, the average Internet speed for the U.S. is 9.8 Mbps. It takes 1024 Mbps to make 1 Gbps. This means that fiber optic Internet has the capability to be 100 times faster than the average internet speed. To give you an idea of how fast fiber optics can be, our fiber optics network can transmit up to 1 Gbps.
Although the average Internet speed is fine for basic applications and a single user. Many businesses, schools, and other institutions need speeds well over the average Mbps.
The Small Business Administration lists the baseline speed for an “OK” Internet experience for telecommuting or telemedicine at 25 Mbps. The speed would have to be over 50 Mbps to be “Good”.
Fiber Optics Bandwidth Capabilities
Internet speed is not the only variable that is crucial for today’s businesses. Flexibility to update data transfer rate, or bandwidth, in real-time is also important. As more businesses use more applications with more users, the bandwidth needed to accommodate will surge.
Current standards for Internet speeds will be obsolete and networks will have to update to meet the new ones. Fiber optic networks give internet service providers the flexibility to expand bandwidth in response to rising standards.
Future of Fiber Optics
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration states “In the near-term, investments in broadband infrastructure help create jobs and business growth by supporting the installation and upgrade of fiber-optic networks, wireless towers, and other high-tech components.” Some providers have not been able to afford the higher cost of installing fiber optic infrastructure.
DQE recognizes the need for speed and quality Internet services. We understand what U.S. businesses need to thrive and remain competitive in the international market. As the need for speed is growing, so is DQE Communications’ fiber optics network.
This past year, we added 256 miles of fiber optic lines to expand high-speed Internet coverage in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Installing more fiber optics cables within the region benefits Pittsburgh area businesses. It provides the reliable, fast Internet services necessary for them to remain competitive.