I’m here to tell you that it’s not an urban legend. It’s real, and people are already online using it. How do I know it isn’t hearsay? Because I’m one of them. The line was run to my home office. To truly appreciate the difference between cable and fiber, I think it’s only fair to think back to what it used to be like.
We’ve come a long way since dial-up. If you were born some time after 1985, there’s a good chance you don’t know what dial-up was, unless you’ve done your homework or studied it in some type of history class at school. With a max speed of 56 Kbps and the full use of what was often the only telephone line leading into the house, dial-up sucked. In today’s terms, the speed would be 0.056 Mbps. More commonly, you may have been stuck on a 28 Kbps speed. The reliability was awful at best, and if someone else in the house accidentally picked up the phone while you were using the connection, you could get disconnected. If that happened, you were best to sit back and relax, because it’s going to take another 5 minutes or so to get another connection.
Speeds have gotten better and better, and reliability has also improved. Cable is better than the phone line, but still a flawed system. The more people that are online, the slower your connection. Cable also loses signal the further it runs. The up-side is that movies are now able to downloaded in a reasonable amount of time. A good internet plan today will offer 100 Mbps download speed, and 10 Mbps upload speed. The 100 Mbps speed, if it’s a true connection, will now download a 700 MB (2 hour) movie in about 7 minutes.
Now there’s fiber – the replacement for cable. Fiber from Ting is running speeds currently at about 900 Mbps. Yup – that movie can now be downloaded in about 1 minute. Although the download speed is impressive, the upload speed is REALLY impressive. The absolute best offered by the local provider is an upload speed of 20 Mbps. My plan offers 10 Mbps (though when tested, it came in at a staggering 11 Mbps). Just to put that upload capacity into perspective, I’ll use my own example. The typical Suburban Living magazine that I upload to the printer is about 1 Gig. (1,000 Mb). Uploading with my previous provider, my max upload speed was 11 Mbps. My upload time for the file – roughly 15 minutes. Not as bad as watching grass grow, but enough time that I leave the computer on, tell everyone in the house to get off the internet, and let it go to work. With my new Ting upload speed, the same magazine can upload in 9 seconds.
The big question – does it do what they claim?
I decided to do speed tests at the same time of day on both systems.
I ran a speed test with my current provider via Wi-Fi through both the 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz connections. I had the computer the same distance from the routers in order to take out any variables.
I ran the test on a weekday at 11:00 am, when I would have the best chance for a full signal from the cable provider. I know that after 5pm, the signal bogs down considerably.
I wanted to test the two networks to compare them.
Cable was first.
The 5 GHz connection gave me a 116 Mbps download speed, and 11 Mbps.
The 2.4 GHz connection gave me a 40 Mbps download speed, and 11 Mbps.
I ran the same test from the same site with Ting.
The 5 GHz connection gave me a 501 Mbps download speed, and 692 Mbps upload speed.
The 2.4 GHz connection gave me a 108 Mbps download speed, and 151 Mbps upload speed.
The fiber has all been run for Phase 1, and they are working on Phase 2. Ting has people up and running in both Braxton Village and Holly Glen. Phase 1 also includes Holly Pointe. Phase 2, where they are currently running fiber, is Oak Hall, Windward Pointe, Morgan Park, Trotter Bluffs, Autumn Park and Garrison.
The fiber sheaths are all run. That means that once they have been in your area, it’s ready to have the fiber “blown in.” Each junction box (pictured on the left page) can service 24 locations. Once you order to have it installed, they place a “flower pot” outside your location (pictured right).Under the cover lies the junction to be able to pull the line, and run the fiber to your location.
The install process is a multi-step process, but all happens within a few days. Once the utilities are marked, the install team is there within a day or two to bury the line to the property. The fiber line is then blown in, and a day or two later, the install team comes to get the indoor work done. The indoor work is the only work you need to be present for. That process takes about 2 hours to get it wired inside. They are good about asking your preference as to where you’d like the entry point into the building, and where you’d like the equipment.
I ran a speed test with a hardwire to their modem. There’s a screen-shot of the speeds below. If you’ve been on the fence about hooking into the fiber network, or have been unclear about the details, I hope this helped to educate you a little more.