While searching for an internet provider, you may have come across the term fiber internet and wondered what it is and how it is different from other internet options. Fiber internet is the fastest residential internet technology widely available in the market, using fiber-optic lines, which are cables that contain strands of glass or plastic. These tiny fiber-optic strands are extremely thin, transmitting light, which then carries data across these fiber-optic cables at incredibly fast speeds.

As people spend a considerable amount of time online streaming videos, emailing, gaming, working from home, or browsing the web, a fast and reliable internet provider is becoming a basic household necessity. With fiber internet on the rise, you may want to get a better understanding of how fiber internet works. Below, we answer some of the most common questions about fiber internet and provide you with a thorough overview of what makes fiber so incredible.

Fiber internet is the fastest residential internet technology widely available in the market.

How fast is fiber internet?

Because fiber internet uses fiber-optic strands to transfer data as light signals, it can support faster, more reliable download and upload speeds compared to DSL and cable internet networks. Fiber internet can offer download and upload speeds of up to 940 megabits per second via a wired connection. Compare that to the average speeds for DSL, which is between 1 and 100 Mbps for downloading and up to 20 Mbps for uploading. Speeds for cable internet vary, too, averaging anywhere up to 940 Mbps* for downloading and up to 50 Mbps for uploading. Those speeds work well for many people, but households that need a lot of bandwidth can really benefit from a reliable fiber internet connection.

Below, you will find a side-by-side comparison of download and upload times for DSL and cable internet networks compared to a fiber internet network.

Media DSL/Cable Internet Providers Fiber Internet Providers
Photos (5 MB) 1.6 sec 0.04 sec
Music (70 MB) 22.4 sec .56 sec
TV Shows (175 MB) 56 sec 1.4 sec
Movies (700 MB) 213 sec 5.6 sec

With access to fiber internet, you can enjoy all the activities you do online already (i.e. browsing, streaming music and emailing) with less slowdown, lag, or buffering.

What can I do with fiber internet? 

With access to fiber internet, you can enjoy all the activities you do online already (i.e. browsing, streaming music, and emailing) with less slowdown, lag, or buffering. Fiber internet is a great option for those that frequently telecommute, especially while working on data-intensive tasks. The power of fiber internet can help support all high-bandwidth activities better. For those that enjoy online gaming or 4K video streaming, fiber internet is designed to help provide necessary bandwidth to do these online activities.

Fiber-powered internet is also perfect for those that use smart home technology within their homes, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Nest smart speakers. This type of internet allows more devices to connect to the internet at the same time without sacrificing speed and reliability.

What equipment is needed for fiber internet?

If you have decided to go with a fiber internet option, you will want to make sure you have all of the proper equipment. One of the most important pieces of equipment you need is a fiber-ready router that can accommodate fiber-optic speeds. Your internet service provider can provide you with a new router that is compatible with your new service.

Internet service providers will send a technician to come and install your fiber internet, helping to set up a WiFi-enabled router that connects your devices to the network. Learn more about how fiber internet is installed.

CenturyLink Fiber Internet packages are available in many areas nationwide and the network only continues to expand.

Can I get fiber internet?

Because fiber internet technology is gaining more popularity, your access to fiber internet will depend on your internet service provider building out fiber infrastructure. For example, CenturyLink Fiber Internet packages are available in many areas nationwide and the network only continues to expand. Discover if service is available near you.

Need more information about CenturyLink Fiber Internet? Check out these articles on how to maximize your fiber internet connection, the cost of fiber internet, and the top benefits of fiber internet.

* Some internet providers may offer cable