Do you need a business internet connection? If the answer is yes, we’ve matched up two of the most popular broadband options available: cable and fiber. Read on to discover the pros and cons of each and determine which one will most effectively pump up productivity in your office.
Cable vs. Fiber-Optic: Which High-Speed Internet Service Is Right for Your Business?
We updated AT&T pricing and details to make sure the page was accurate.
Cable vs. fiber-optic business internet
|Features||AT&T business cable||Verizon Fios business fiber-optic|
|Download speed||1,000 Mbps||940 Mbps|
|Contract length||Varies||2 years or none for higher cost|
|Early termination fees||Varies||35% of monthly rate for the remainder of the contract|
|Dedicated internet option|
|24/7 technical support|
|Get started||View Plans||View Plans|
What is cable internet?
Cable internet service is offered through the television cable provider in your area. Cable internet is often offered as a stand-alone option, or it’s slightly discounted when bundled with a television cable package and phone service. Cable internet requires a modem and a professional installation by a technician, as a cable must be run to your office.
What is fiber internet?
Fiber internet is carried through a bundle of thin, lightweight optic fibers via modulated light. As thin as human hairs, these strands of optically pure glass can carry digital information over impressively long distances.
But because fiber cables aren’t as prevalent as cable TV lines, the process of installing fiber-optic cable internet can be more intrusive and take a bit longer than installing cable. Fiber is usually installed by a professional, yet some providers offer a self-installation option. Be aware that if you choose to self-install fiber, you may not be covered by the provider’s service contract.
Round one: Reliability
Cable internet connections are considered a reliable internet service. However, if your business is located in an area that frequently experiences cable outages or interruptions, you can expect your internet service to also be impacted. If your business must have internet to operate, it’s a good idea to have a backup internet access option available.
Fiber-optic networks are generally considered as reliable as cable. Fiber is considered a passive system, which means power does not need to be applied within the system network. So, during power outages, a fiber-optic network is less likely to be interrupted or go down. Also, because the conductor is glass, it does not generate electricity, so fiber is immune to interference that can be caused by nearby power lines or high-voltage electrical equipment. Plus, with fiber-optic, there is less chance of your computer sustaining lightening-related damage.
Round two: Availability
Fiber-optic internet isn’t offered in as many markets as cable, but its availability is expanding. However, because fiber requires the installation of new cable, it will take some time before it reaches as many markets as cable has and those located in rural areas may be the last to be serviced.
Cable is notoriously accessible. In fact, its availability is one of its greatest advantages over fiber. If your business can receive cable television, it can most likely access cable internet. While cable is widely available, it still isn’t available in some rural locations. If your office doesn’t have access to cable television, you won’t have access to cable internet either.
Round three: Speed
Cable internet speeds can accommodate the needs of most small businesses. Download cable speeds generally range from 20 to 300 megabits per second (Mbps), and upload cable speeds of 7 to 20 Mbps are common.
Latency (delays incurred during data processing) of 100 milliseconds (ms) is typical, but latency can range from 25 to 500 ms. It’s important to realize that with cable internet you share bandwidth speed with your neighbors, so the more customers using cable at once, the slower the internet speed is for everyone. This means that download speed can slow significantly during high-traffic times. All in all, cable internet remains a solid choice for heavy downloading, gaming, and streaming video.
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Cable has a reputation of being fast, but fiber internet speeds are amazingly fast and blow other high-speed internet options out of the water. Plus, fiber allows the user to send data over much greater distances while maintaining speed. Download fiber-optic speeds range from 150 Mbps up to 500 Mbps, and upload speeds range from 65 Mbps to 100 Mbps. These unmatched fiber-optic speeds allow every member of your team to download, upload, stream, and share files simultaneously without compromising performance.
Best fiber internet plans for business
The cost of cable internet varies depending on your location, and whether or not you choose to bundle televisions, internet, and phone services. Generally, cable internet is an affordable business solution that ranges from $25 to $100 per month.
Keep in mind that you’ll usually pay more for faster speeds, and you may be charged an installation fee.
Fiber-optic internet will probably cost your business more per month, but depending on how your business uses the internet, the speed could be worth it. Plans for Fiber usually start at about $100 per month but can exceed $300 per month, depending on where your business is located, the speed you want, and the length of your service contract (most providers will require a two-year commitment). You may have to pay an installation fee or activation fee, but some companies offer promotions that waive this fee.
Every business owner is looking for the fastest, most reliable high-speed internet option at a budget-friendly price. If available in the area, we recommend small businesses choose fiber internet vs. cable. When you consider your options, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. In addition to making note of download and upload speeds, ask about possible installation fees and thoroughly read over the service contract.