“Fiber internet” refers to internet connections that rely mostly or entirely on fiber-optic cables. The name comes from the fact that these cables use thin fibers made of glass or plastic to project light from one end to the other instead of using electricity. Photons are incredibly fast, even when you compare them to the electron movement that creates electricity. Thanks to that, fiber-optic cables can move a lot more information every second than any kind of electrical cable.
This switch to photons is how fiber internet connections can offer speeds 10 or 100 times faster than a fast cable connection, and it’s why businesses that need a good internet connection are moving to cities and communities that can offer it. However, cable companies are offering faster connections of their own in order to compete with fiber-optic connections. So aside from speed, what is it about fiber connections that make them attractive to businesses?
Regardless of speed, cable connections generally share a key weakness: you have to share your connection with your neighbors. This means that if the business next door is downloading a big program at 10 Mbps, you can’t use that speed on your own downloads until they’re done. The same goes for all your neighbors, so at peak usage times everyone will be downloading things and everyone’s connection will slow down. However, every fiber internet user has a dedicated connection, giving them consistent and reliable download and upload speeds.
It’s possible to tap a phone or cable line by cutting open the insulation and attaching the right connector, and it’s easy enough to infiltrate a Wi-Fi network if you can get or guess the password. On the other hand, fiber connections are completely secure: because they transmit light instead of electricity, they don’t generate any detectable signals except at the other end of the cable. The only way to intercept these signals would be to cut the cable itself, and the internet outage at the other end is hard to miss.
There are other ways that fiber-optic cables are good for businesses in particular, such as the benefit of having an uninterrupted connection to a cloud storage server, but these two points are the biggest advantages. So while speed is definitely a big draw for businesses, there’s more to a fiber internet connection than just the bandwidth. That’s why online companies are rushing to offices and storefronts that support fiber connections.