Fibre optic broadband technology is making more and more headlines these days. With so many internet service providers vying for consumers’ attention, it can be difficult to sort fact from fiction.
What sets fibre optics apart from standard ADSL broadband?
Over the past few years, the majority of computer users in the UK have come to rely on ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) broadband connections to gain access to the internet.
The introduction of broadband dramatically increased speed and flexibility over traditional dial-up connections. Users were able to download web pages and digital files quickly over a connection that was always on and (almost) instantly available. However, ADSL has some limitations.
Standard ADSL is limited to just 24Mbps, and most users experience only a fraction of that speed. Because ADSL signals travel over clusters of copper wires, there’s always a chance of interruption of service or signal interference. Users who live far from the source of the network connection may experience significantly slower speeds and less reliable service than users who are in closer proximity to the network hub.
Fibre optic broadband aims to remedy the limitations of ADSL.
Fibre optic internet delivers speeds up to four times faster than standard ADSL broadband. This virtually eliminates wait time for video buffering, file downloads and page loading. Because signals travel through individual optic fibres, network connections are far more reliable, even over long distances.
The benefits of fibre optics
Sky fibre optic broadband, along with other major internet service providers, are hoping to meet consumer demand for greater bandwidth, increased reliability and overall ease of use by introducing fibre optic packages to complement their current offerings.
So why fibre optics? The simple truth is that this technology offers users a range of benefits that ADSL simply can’t provide.
Greater bandwidth: Also known as connection speed, bandwidth is perhaps the ultimate test for an ISP. With fibre optic broadband, connection speeds are increased drastically—in some cases as much as 10 times faster than ADSL. Users can download audio files in seconds, stream video without interruption and load web pages instantly.
Greater upload speeds: Waiting for photos and videos to upload to social networking or sharing sites can be tiresome. With fibre optic broadband, digital uploads take just seconds so files can be shared or stored in less time.
Reliability: Fibre optic signals travel through individual, narrow cables so connection speed is more consistent and there’s less chance of interruption, no matter how far users are from the end of the broadband line or how many other users are connected to the network at the same time.
Flexibility: Telecommuters and freelancers who work from home can especially benefit from fibre optic broadband. Large files can be sent across the network at super-fast speeds; video conferencing and IP phone connections are also enhanced.
Cost: Though still in its relative infancy, fibre optic broadband looks to be one of the most cost effective internet solutions on the horizon. As ISPs begin to slowly phase out ADSL and expand their fibre optic networks, the technology is expected to come down in price significantly in the very near future.
This article was produced in association with Sky