Discover the best thing that can happen to your high-speed Internet service.
Show speed. No, it's not jargon for how fast you can build a rock concert; It's the next big thing on the home internet. Gigabit Internet, also known as Ultra High Speed Internet, is much better than traditional cable Internet and may even be cheaper depending on the services available in your area.
Read on to learn why you should find out if gigabit-speed Internet is available in your city.
What is gigspeed internet?
Gig-speed internet is an acronym for broadband services with download speeds of up to gigabits per second. It's only been around for a few years and only in a few cities, but it's the future of home internet connectivity.
The biggest bottleneck in home connectivity right now is the Internet connection, and as we add more uses to it, such asStreaming the Netflix, games and countlessThe best smart home devices— We need faster connections with more data.
The cost of connectivity is also likely to drop as gigabit speeds become popular. In areas where gigabit speeds have been introduced, Internet access prices are generally falling, even for lower rates.
- Maximize your connection with afast vpn
Who offers gigabit internet and how much does it cost?
Although high-speed Internet is becoming more widely available in the United States, adoption is still in its infancy. If you live in a big city, chances are gigabit speeds are available to some people in your area, but it's still a neighborhood-to-neighborhood thing. All major ISPs offer some form of gigabit service, although where these are available varies greatly from company to company.
Comparison of Gigabit Internet Services
Swipe to scroll horizontally
However, smaller towns and cities are not entirely unlucky. Many municipalities have proactively invested in fiber optic local area networks, providing a ready-to-use infrastructure for any service provider wishing to offer ultra-high-speed Internet. Check your local options when considering ISPs, as many smaller businesses are using the gigabit switch as an opportunity to compete with the big boys and deliver blazing-fast speeds in places where the larger businesses don't.
Prices vary, too, but the general trend is clear: ISPs charge similar prices to broadband but offer gigabit speeds. While that may change over time, now you're getting the fastest internet for the price of a good cable internet subscription.
Now keep in mind that we are talking about internet service prices here and that comes with a lot of caveats. Actual pricing data is hard to find and many of these prices are introductory prices that apply to the first year or two of a long-term contract. You may get a better deal by bundling your Internet with a TV service, or you may be charged an additional monthly fee for the unique hardware required for gigabit speeds. As always, be sure to check what options are available in your area, and you'll definitely want to research prices.
How does gigabit internet work?
While gigabit Internet is still rolling out in many parts of the US, Internet service providers offer dual technology gigabit speeds.
The first is about fiber optic networks. The data capacity of fiber optic lines and the lack of interference (a common problem with standard copper lines) make light-based data technology perfect for delivering incredible gigabit speeds. Until recently, gigabit speeds were only offered by providers with fiber optic infrastructure, for example.wires from verizon(opens in a new tab)miGoogle Fiber.
But a second player has entered the game in the form of the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, which enables gigabit speeds over the same coaxial cables used for standard cable Internet. But it is not quite the same as the new format offers 1 Gbps download speed but only 35 Mbps upload speed.
How does gigabit compare to today's broadband speeds?
Compared to traditional cable broadband packages that offer download speeds of 20 to 100 Mbps, Gigabit speeds represent an exponential increase. We are talking about 1,000 Mbit/s or 1 million bits per second.
The other big benefit of gigabit (in most current implementations) is that download speeds match similar upload speeds. Traditionally, you get a much smaller tube to upload, which is one reason you can watch a 5-minute YouTube video in about 5 minutes, but uploading the same amount of footage can take over an hour.
The faster upload speeds are also a boon for activities like streaming your gameplay with services likeTo withdraw.
What can I do with gigabit speeds?
All that information, a million bits per second, means you can do everything you already do online, but much more and faster. All your regular web browsing and streaming are supported, but with faster speeds and less congestion on your home network. However, there are a number of specific applications that are dramatically benefiting from the new flood of data that gigabit connectivity offers.
- Stream a video:All that bandwidth means lag-free Netflix, even when you're watching different shows on different devices at the same time. But the real improvement is this4K streamingConsuming four to five times the data of a 1080p stream, it's just as fast without the endless buffering and loading times you might experience with standard broadband.
- Play online:Anyone who has ever lost a game due to an unstable connection will appreciate the move to gigabit speeds. With matching up/down speeds, you never have to worry about slow ping rates and fluctuating connections again.
- immersive media:Ultra HD streaming is just the tip of the iceberg, as faster upload and download speeds allow for more immersive media such as 360-degree videos andtrailer, Easier to access. As higher data capacities become popular, you can expect new media formats to take advantage of it, just like streaming video exploded when broadband became popular.
- Backups:Traditionally, data protection has focused on local storage, such as external hard drives, especially for data-intensive applications such as video. With the move to gigabit speeds, expect more cloud and backup features that you can access anytime, anywhere. See our guide to thoseBestes cloud backupServices.
- Multiple users:After all, the number one reason to switch to gigabit speeds is not to please one prolific data hog, but many users. A family of four can easily max out a broadband connection with little more than a movie marathon and a round of Grand Theft Auto online, but gigabit speeds promise to handle much more data at once, making music streaming possible. via Internet. , 4K video in the living room and a game in the children's room without cuts.
Can my current modem support gigabit speeds?
The short answer isMaybe. Without equipment that supports high-speed fiber or the DOCSIS 3.1 standard for gigabit over coax, you may be out of luck with your current network equipment. The good news is that existing fiber and cable internet users can upgrade simply by swapping out their old router for a newer one with gigabit capability.
You can find the products in ourThe best cable modemsWebsites mostly use the older DOCsis 3.0 standard, but there are still great options likeNetgear CM1000(opens in a new tab), dieMotorola MB8600(opens in a new tab)or theArris Surfbrett SB8200(opens in a new tab), all approved for use with cable Internet from providers like Cox, Spectrum and Comcast Xfinity.
Fiber-optic based services like Google Fiber and Verizon Fios actually require other modem-like network hardware called an optical network terminal that converts fiber-optic signals into electronic Ethernet. Without the right hardware, there is no way to achieve gigabit speeds.
The more difficult problem is that similar upgrades must be made to an ISP's infrastructure. While some areas are served by legacy equipment, there will be parts of the country where gigabit speeds simply won't be available. If you're still using dial-up or DSL, you're out of luck.
Can my wireless router handle gigabit speeds?
OThe best wireless routerscan handle gigabit speeds in some cases: 802.11ac Wi-Fi running on the 5GHz band, with aMU-MIMORouters with two or more antennas can achieve speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s and higher. And the new 802.11ax standard (also called Wi-Fi 6) can be found in many new routers that can easily handle gigabit speeds.
FURTHER:The best wireless routers currently available
Older wireless standards, like 802.11g and n, can't offer the same kind of performance. Unless you've upgraded your router to 802.11ac or the latest Wi-Fi 6, be sure to do so when you switch to gigabit internet, or your old router will be a huge bottleneck, killing all the benefits of your new Zippy. gigabit speeds.
Does my computer or phone support gigabit speeds?
Maybe, but maybe not. Most modern Ethernet connections can handle gigabit speeds, and you'll find them in manylaptopsand almost every desktop today. If you want the best possible speeds on your PC, Ethernet is the way to go. The bad news is that Ethernet ports are getting harder to find on laptops. And the phones don't have wired connectivity options; WiFi is all you get.
If you're up to date with the latest Wi-Fi standards, you can get a full gigabit connection for yourtelephoneor laptop, but it is highly unlikely that it will reach that full capacity in normal use. But does it matter? In practice, any device that can connect to the Internet will work with Gigabit Internet, since it only dictates the speeds inside and outside your home. And all of your connected devices benefit in some way, because a gigabit connection is like a multi-lane highway with lots of data for every device to share at the same time.
Credit: Tom's Guide
- Best WiFi Router: Router for Strong WiFi with Long Range
- How Much Internet Speed Should You Really Pay?
- The Best Cable Modem - Reviews of Comcast, Spectrum and Cox Modems
Get instant access to the latest news, best reviews, great deals, and helpful tips.
Brian Westover is currently a Lead PC & Hardware Analyst at PCMag. Until recently, though, he was a senior editor at Tom's Guide, where he oversaw the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing dozens of TVs and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also used his computer knowledge by analyzing many PCs and Mac devices and also ran our router and home network coverage. Before joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.
3 commentsComment from forums
A gigabit is one billion (1,073,741,824) bits per second, not one million.
1 Gigabit is a billion bits per second, not a million. More specifically, it is 1,073,741,824 bits per second.
Respondedor(Video) AT&T Fiber VS Spectrum Gigabit Speed Test Comparison
I wouldn't say it's the internet, it's the wifi router. Gigabit LAN has not been updated for a long time. Even mechanical hard drives can have write speeds in excess of 200MB/s, while transfer rates are typically around 105MB/s. New SSDs are achieving transfer speeds of over 3 GB/s with new technology, and this will continue to increase.
WiFi speeds are even worse. MU-MIMO is a great idea, but it's still hard to populate your entire network with it (phones, tablets, ROKU, Android box, existing laptops). Computer systems can potentially be upgraded, but most equipment would need to be completely replaced. And from what I've seen, even high-end AC routers still have transfer speeds of around 20-30MB/s, wireless to wireless.