Fiber internet connections are spreading throughout America, especially in big cities like San Antonio, Texas. By using the speed of light rather than the speed of electricity, fiber-optic cables can send and receive information at several times the speed of a regular cable connection. The benchmark speed of fiber internet connections is one gigabit per second, and some locations like the Alamodome are getting 10-gigabit connections.
However, many residents of San Antonio and elsewhere are wondering why anyone would need so much speed. A fiber-optic connection has several benefits over cable, like the fact that you don’t have to share your connection speed with your neighbors, but you can get these advantages along with a discount by choosing a lower speed from a fiber-enabled internet provider. 200 or 500 megabits per second is still much faster than a regular cable, after all. So who would benefit the most from going with the full gigabit internet plan?
4K Video Streaming
High definition used to be the top resolution you could want, and it was certainly a big step up from the standard definition DVDs and old internet videos use. However, display sizes have kept going up for both home entertainment systems and home computers, and an HD video at its native size looks rather small on a modern screen. Ultra HD, or 4K, is the next size up, but it comes with four times the pixel count. If you want to stream a 4K video without buffering, you need a strong connection.
While it’s not a priority to everyone, there are plenty of people who take competitive video games seriously and a surprising number of people can even make a living from playing games online. However, you need a strong internet connection to keep up with a fast-paced game because a split-second of lag at the wrong time can turn a victory into defeat.
Fiber internet connections are spreading to more than just residential neighborhoods. Companies both big and small also have reasons to want a high-speed connection: it lets them quickly store and transfer data on cloud servers, it lets them communicate with remote workers, and it lets their customers place online orders in a snap.
For these reasons and more, people with access to gigabit internet connections are making full use of them. So even if 200 megabits per second are plenty for you today, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting or needing the top speed sometime in the future.