You’re probably bombarded by lots of advertising trying to persuade you to switch internet providers. And these ads all promise the same thing—fast, reliable internet at a great price.
However, quality internet service has nothing to do with the spiffy corporate logos and glossy images of smiling faces in marketing materials. At its most fundamental level, the speed and reliability of your internet is based on the kind of technology and quality of materials used to deliver internet into your home.
The most common internet services available today are DSL, coax cable, wireless, satellite, and fiber optic. Though some of these technologies have been around for a long time, they are not created equal.
Given the number of choices, deciding which service is right for you can get confusing. At Medina Fiber, we take pride in helping our community grow with our powerful fiber network. And we’d like to explain in more detail why fiber internet is the best choice for your home or business.
Fiber Internet: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It’s the Best Internet Option Out There
Before we compare and contrast fiber to its competitors, we’d like to describe what it is and its advantages in more detail. There are three primary reasons why fiber stands heads and shoulders above the rest: outstanding download speeds, upload speeds, and bandwidth.
Fiber’s Superior Download Speeds
Fiber is shorthand for “fiber optic” internet. Utilizing fiber optic cable, which consists of hundreds of tightly compacted thin glass strands or “hairs,” fiber internet technology has an enormous capacity to transfer online data. Fiber internet converts internet data—your emails, photos, videos, messages, and everything else you send and receive online—into data packets.
These tiny packets of data are transmitted to your devices through light pulses along fiber’s glass strands. Fiber internet literally transfers online data at the speed of light! This means that fiber’s maximum download speeds can easily hit and exceed 1 gigabyte per second. And fiber’s top download speeds continue to increase as its technology improves.
Fiber’s Exceptional Upload Capabilities
While most people look at download speeds when assessing internet quality, savvy internet customers know to consider upload speeds as well.
Upload speeds refer to the rate at which your devices send data back to other people and servers. High upload speeds are crucial for stable video conferencing and calls (like Zoom or FaceTime), posting on social media (especially for online videos like on TikTok), and online gaming.
Because of its cutting-edge material composition and sophisticated system design, fiber internet has a great capacity to download and upload data in equivalent measures.
Techy folks call this “symmetrical internet,”—and no other technology currently has fiber’s ability to deliver it so well. Fiber’s technology provides equally fast download and upload speeds through its outstanding symmetrical internet capability.
Fiber’s Massive Bandwidth Capacity
Last but certainly not least, fiber internet has far greater bandwidth capacity than other forms of internet.
Bandwidth is often confused with speed, so let us clarify: bandwidth is the quantity of data and information an internet connection can handle over a specific time (usually per second). Higher bandwidth is critical in households with multiple devices—and for families that like to stream movies, regularly post and view online videos, and enjoy online gaming.
Because of more bandwidth, fiber internet providers typically have no data caps, so you won’t have to worry about end-of-month slowdowns.
ISPs employing older technology (like the kinds discussed below) are far more likely to have plans that sneak data caps into their services. With fiber and its vast bandwidth capacity, you seldom have to worry about data caps hindering your internet!
Fiber’s Rivals Just Can’t Keep Up
Fiber transmits data faster and more reliably than other internet options that rely on older infrastructure and materials designed for other purposes like telephone or television. That makes fiber a faster and more dependable internet service for your home.
While the other options on this list may have fast download speeds—or even claim to match some of fiber’s speeds—no other current technology has either the upload speed or bandwidth capacity of fiber.
Below are the four main alternatives to fiber internet available today. We briefly describe them—and explain why they fall short of fiber’s outstanding capabilities.
DSL, short for “Digital Subscriber Line,” is one of the earliest forms of “high-speed” internet.
Built on the copper wiring used for landline telephone service for decades, it can achieve maximum download speeds of around 100 megabytes per second—or about 10% of fiber’s typical 1 gigabyte per second rate.
DSL is still found in many small towns and rural areas that don’t have access to fiber. But since DSL’s maximum speeds are just a tenth of fiber’s, DSL doesn’t even come close to matching fiber.
Next, we turn to the most common alternative to fiber available today: cable.
Short for coaxial cable, “coax” uses copper-based wires to transmit internet signals. While cable is an improvement over DSL, it uses a technology created to send television signals, not internet data. Consequently, cable’s copper wiring doesn’t have the “capacity” to transmit data nearly as well as fiber, especially regarding uploading and upload speeds.
And fiber’s speeds are just astounding, up to 10-to-20 times faster than cable. Cable’s copper wiring just can’t keep up with fiber. So when you add in cable’s relatively poor bandwidth capabilities, it’s clear that fiber internet leaves cable in the dust!
Wireless Broadband (or Fixed Wireless Internet)
Another internet option is wireless broadband. The name can be confusing, as WiFi provides your own home with “wireless” internet, but in this case, wireless internet offers service to customers through cell phone towers with 4G and 5G signals.
Because cell phone towers are increasingly common in areas without other telecommunication or cable infrastructure, they may be a good option for people living in remote areas.
However, wireless internet cannot compete with the high speeds delivered by fiber and here’s why.
Your home or business’s distance from the wireless cell phone tower will impact the speed and stability of your internet—and probably leave you frustrated. In addition, wireless broadband’s signal is easily obstructed by other buildings and structures or affected by the weather and other environmental impacts.
Due to fiber’s “hard-wiring,” those obstructions simply don’t apply, letting fiber’s light-speed data transmission deliver outstanding service.
Starlink, a relatively new company, owned by SpaceX, provides satellite internet to remote areas, including many rural areas in the United States.
Starlink’s low-orbit space satellites provide faster speed capabilities than other satellite internet technology. But Starlink is still hampered by the same quality and consistency problems that plague all satellite internet options, including weather interference and other atmospheric factors.
While Starlink may improve previous kinds of satellite internet, it just can’t provide as reliable a signal as fiber’s advanced “hard-wired” infrastructure and technology regularly does.
Other Factors to Consider
So what, if any, are the downsides of fiber internet? Well, the biggest downside to fiber is that it’s not available everywhere. The good news is that more and more communities are accessing fiber, including rural and smaller communities.
Another consideration is that fiber’s highest download speeds per second—usually a gigabyte per second—can be pricey, meaning some people may not as easily afford to max out on fiber’s outstanding benefits. But even fiber’s more modest speeds are still faster and more reliable than the other forms of service currently available, making any fiber internet plan an excellent value.
As you can see from the above comparisons, fiber clearly delivers superior internet at greater speeds and with more consistent reliability than any other option. It’s the best choice for high-speed internet on the market today.
If you have other questions about fiber internet and how it can help make you more productive, the friendly support team at Medina Fiber is available to help. And be sure to follow Medina Fiber’s social pages to learn more about our fiber network!
We’ve all experienced occasional slower internet speeds from time to time.
And too often, this happens at the worst times, like when you’ve finally gotten a moment to binge that show everyone is always harping on about! For some of us, though, slower internet speeds and poor streaming are regular occurrences.
We get the frustration. And just because you have the fast and reliable fiber internet provided by Medina Fiber, there can be many reasons why you still get slower speeds and poorer performance.
Below we discuss some of the sneaky suspects that slow down your speed and recommend ways to improve it.
We discuss the problem of continuing to use outdated technology. We then go through the next most common issue: WiFi router placement and two kinds of interference that can cause slowdowns, physical interference and signal interference. With a few simple changes, you’ll experience consistently faster internet speeds.
Older Routers Don’t Handle Higher Internet Speed Capabilities
Let’s start with the most common culprit for Wi-Fi problems and slower internet speeds: an out dated router.
Everyone knows technology changes quickly. But most of us don’t upgrade that technology yearly, including our WiFi routers. So while many people get a new smartphone or tablet every couple of years, too many of us have not upgraded our WiFi routers to keep up.
Newer WiFi routers, especially those made after 2019, can handle and disperse much higher internet speeds than older models. Specifically, be sure to look for routers that utilize at least 802.11ac technology, more commonly called Wireless AC or WiFi 5.
Better yet, the latest Wi-Fi technology is called 802.11ax, or WiFi 6. This upgraded equipment can greatly increase internet performance and capacity, allowing WiFi speeds to exceed one gigabit or more per second. However, as you will see below, newer equipment is not the only thing that matters!
WiFi Router Placement Problems Due to Physical Interference
Poor WiFi router placement is one of the most common problems that plague homes with slow internet.
To begin with, it’s important to remember that WiFi disperses its signal both horizontally and vertically (straight ahead and up and down).
Objects that are physically “in the way” of that signal can interfere with the quality and strength of the Wi-Fi signal before it reaches your devices. Below are the most common physical interferences in many homes that lead to slow internet speeds.
Glass and Windows
One of the biggest slow internet speed culprits is glass and windows.
Glass and windows can cause significant interference. Avoid WiFi router placement too close to windows or other glass, as that can “deplete” too much signal and waste precious internet speed your smart TV needs to stream your favorite content.
Walls and Similar Obstructions
Fireplaces, wall units, cabinets and similar obstructions will interfere with the WiFi signal. Reinforced concrete, which some walls in your home may consist of, is a particularly obstructing material. With this in mind, choose your WiFi router’s location, and try to minimize interference with these sneaky speed-stealing objects.
Televisions and Other Electronic Equipment
A TV is another typical problem for Wi-Fi.
In many homes the WiFi router is located near the television; and perhaps behind it so it’s hidden from view. This is a big no-no, as your television is loaded with electronic equipment that blocks Wi-Fi signal and its ability to spread throughout your home.
Do your best to give your router as wide a berth as possible from your television and other electronics-heavy equipment like receivers and DVD players.
Beyond the physical objects that interfere with Wi-Fi, other items in your home put off signals that can cause slower internet speeds, too. Three of the most common are highlighted below, and you should take care when placing your WiFi router too closely to any of them.
In many homes, the WiFi router is in the kitchen. And it’s likely your microwave oven is slowing down your Wi-Fi.
Microwaves operate at the same frequency as many Wi-Fi routers—2.4GHz. That means that microwaves can interfere with WiFi signal. Provide your router with as much distance from your microwave as possible, and consider relocating it out from the kitchen if the interference continues.
You should also know that Bluetooth devices can obstruct WiFi signals and slow down internet speeds as they “hop” around different frequencies.
There may be many more Bluetooth devices active in your home than the common ones you’re probably thinking of, such as your smartphone and tablet. A Bluetooth mouse, ear buds, speakers and even toothbrushes are typical in nearly every home. So be mindful of using too many Bluetooth devices simultaneously if your internet speeds are slow.
Baby Monitors and Walkie-Talkies
This one surprises many people, but baby monitors and similar devices that transmit sound waves over a distance can interfere with WiFi!
Like microwave ovens, baby monitors and walkie-talkies operate on the same frequency as WiFi. Try to be careful where you place baby monitors in the house, or consider moving your router if the interference persists.
When you upgrade your Wi-Fi router to the latest, higher-speed capacity technology and wisely locate it, you can significantly improve your internet speeds.
But don’t forget that appliances, devices and equipment cause slowdowns, too! Doing so will make your streaming and browsing experience much more satisfying.
To learn more ways to improve your home’s internet speed and performance, follow Medina Fiber’s social pages!
Online gaming is no longer just a leisure activity for teenagers and young adults. It is big business, with a market value worth tens of billions of dollars a year, employing thousands of digital programmers, engineers, designers, and artists, and an increasingly growing online competition sector called “esports.”
While online gaming continues to be as fun as it’s always been, and new processing power and intensifying graphic technology make video games more life-like and spectacular than ever before, advanced streaming platforms, esports and gaming tournaments are taking online gaming to a new level.
And thanks to improved fiber internet technology, such as the fiber network provided by Medina Fiber, more players in literally every corner of America—and the entire world—can get in on the online gaming action.
Read on to learn more about the streaming gaming phenomenon and why it’s worth checking out!
Online Gaming in the Cloud Elevates Video Games to New Heights
Cloud-based gaming technology enables players to test their skill against competitors worldwide.
Whether “massively multiplayer online games” consisting of hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous players or simple one-on-one duels, gamers simply need to access their accounts, select their game, find their opponents or teammates and start playing.
And the variety of games available to play is astounding. From simulated sports like football and soccer, to idyllic fantasy worlds to explore and survive, to designing and engineering buildings and even entire cities or civilizations, to war games and battlefield tactics, there is a game to satisfy just about anyone’s tastes.
But online gaming also provides a social component that had been conspicuously absent in previous video game eras.
Today’s streaming gaming platforms allow players to communicate, strategize, and even form friendships in a way that was impossible before. Apps like Twitch and Discord even let players record and broadcast their games widely, and allow fans to watch their every intricate move and tactic.
And the more competitive aspects of gaming help build teams and collaboration beyond individual skills. Thus, today’s online gaming is more than just about “owns” or putting up “W’s” or even economic gains—it’s about interaction and problem-solving among like-minded individuals working toward a common goal.
In this way, online gaming is not dissimilar to playing in little league or youth soccer or on the office’s softball team!
Popular Streaming Gaming Services
Online gaming among multiple players takes place on streaming platforms that enable players from different zip codes and time zones—even continents—to play against each other on the same gaming server in real-time. Some of the most common streaming services include those developed and maintained by the largest video game companies in the world.
Sony, which makes the PlayStation 5, has its own streaming platform, PlayStation Plus (which now includes the previously called PlayStation Now). Xbox and its Games Pass allow players to test their prowess on Xbox’s extensive library of acclaimed games. A membership with Nintendo Switch Online is required to play Nintendo games online, but it also offers up classic Nintendo 64 games to play.
Fostering Community–and Improving the Local Economy
Because online gaming isn’t just about the individual gamer but about forging connections and building community, online gaming also provides an opportunity for broader economic development to help towns and cities grow.
According to industry estimates, the economic “spillover effect” of sponsoring and hosting esports tournaments and other online gaming events is considerable.
In 2022, the economic impact of hosting an esports competition in Atlanta, Georgia and Raleigh, North Carolina, was $1.78 million and $1.45 million, respectively.
In addition, thousands of gamers attended each event, helping small businesses like restaurants and shops thrive. Even state governments recognize the value of esports and online gaming tournaments to the broader economy, as legislation is being considered in North Carolina to incentivize and encourage more esports events.
More gamers and gaming groups and clubs are needed in our towns and cities to continue the industry’s growth.
These gamers need reliable, high-speed fiber internet to participate in online gaming events, locally-hosted and remotely played. And communities need high-speed fiber internet to serve and attract gamers and gaming tournaments.
At Medina Fiber, we are proud of our efforts to provide the most reliable fiber network available and benefit both the growing online gaming phenomenon and our community’s broader economy.
It’s easy to see both the local and the global reach—and importance—of online gaming. And as technology develops and internet speeds and connectivity improve, online gaming will become an even more significant part of the world’s economy and broader culture.
Be sure to follow Medina Fiber’s social pages to learn more about our high-speed fiber network and how it can help keep you connected to online gaming and the broader global economy, too!