Fiber or Cable Internet – Which is best for you?

Fiber vs. Cable internet, what’s the difference? If you are looking to learn more about your internet options, you’re in the right place. Today we are breaking down the differences between fiber and cable internet so you can decide what is best for your home or business. 

Cable Internet 
Cable was designed for transmitting voice calls and is a common option for home internet. Cable internet uses copper wires that send data via electrical currents. Cable Internet uses the same coaxial cables to transmit data as your TV. Most cable internet providers use the same existing wires present for phone lines or cable TV to send information. 

Fiber Internet 
Fiber internet is cutting-edge technology. Fiber internet also uses cables, but instead of copper wires, the lines contain tiny strands of glass and send information through bursts of light from point A to point B. The light travels much like electricity would through a copper wire. The advantage is that fiber cables can carry multiple signals at once at about 70% of the speed of light. 

Photo from Pexels.com

Availability 
Cable internet providers use the same established and existing cables as cable TV and other devices. Therefore, it’s been around longer and doesn’t require new infrastructure. Because of this, cable internet is widely available and the most common type of internet in the United States. 

Fiber internet, on the other hand, is a newer form of technology. It requires new infrastructure and can be a long process to deploy into neighborhoods for use. However, the demand is growing, and internet providers diligently work to install fiber across the country. Visit Broadband Now to see which fiber internet providers may be in your area.

Speed 
Fiber shines when it comes to speed. It’s capable of bringing much faster speeds than cable. Fiber can reach speeds up to 2,000 Mbps making it an excellent option for homes and businesses that require fast internet connections. Many factors affect wireless speeds. If you stream video services, games, or work from home on video calls, Fiber Internet can meet these demands. 

Cable internet speeds are asymmetrical, meaning cable internet often has slower upload speeds (uploading photos to the cloud) and faster download speeds (streaming a TV show). Fiber internet is more symmetrical, providing even speeds which allow for faster upload and download speeds.  In today’s world, people work from home and go to school remotely. This change demands speedier upload speeds to turn in homework assignments or work projects. 

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Reliability 
Cable internet is less reliable than Fiber internet. Cable sends data through electricity, power outages, extreme weather, and moisture can also cause a loss of connectivity. On the other hand, fiber optic internet is less likely to go down during power outages because it is made of glass and doesn’t use electricity. 

Bandwidth 
Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection. Typical bandwidth uses include streaming a movie on Netflix, video meetings, or web browsing. As mentioned above, cable technology has been around for a long time and was initially used to transmit voice calls, so the demand for bandwidth wasn’t high. However, fiber provides up to 1,000 times as much bandwidth as cable and is an excellent option for a highly connected home.

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Cost 
For most people, options for fiber internet are more expensive than cable internet. However, costs will decrease as fiber grows in availability and popularity. Race Communications is committed to bringing Fiber internet into communities and is more cost-effective than competitors in the fiber space gigabit starts at $60/month. 

Now that you know the difference between cable and fiber internet, you can make the best choice for your needs. The Internet is not one size fits all. Each person has different requirements for their usage. If you would like more information on internet services contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry and we will help you pick the right service for you. 

GIGABIT vs. GIGABYTE – Why is everything so confusing?

Do you get confused when you hear gigabit, gigabyte or megabit? Do you scratch your head when you see abbreviations such as Mbps? If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, rest assured you are not alone. We at Race understand this can be confusing, especially for those of you who live in unserved or underserved communities where broadband has been non-existent and we are here to help you navigate through this new terminology.

Many people confuse the terms “gigabit” and “gigabyte” as well as the terms “megabit” and “kilobit”. While both “bit” and “byte” are units of measurement describing digital data, how much they measure and how they are used are different.

A bit is one of the most basic units used in telecommunications. A bit is considered data moving so when we’re talking about internet speeds, the correct term to use is bits per second. Race’s “Gigafy Me” plan provides speeds up to 1Gbps, one gigabit (or a thousand megabits) per second.

Meanwhile, bytes are generally used when describing data capacity such as hard drive storage. One Byte equals 8bits. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes. 

When we need to refer to numbers of bits or bytes as those numbers get larger and larger, we use the prefixes from the metric system (see table below for examples).

prefix multiplier bits-to-bytes bytes-to-bits
kilo- (K) 1,000x 1Kb = 125B 1KB = 8Kb
mega- (M) 1,000,000x 1Mb = 125KB 1MB = 8Mb
giga- (G) 1,000,000,000x 1Gb = 125MB 1GB = 8Gb
tera- (T) 1,000,000,000,000x 1Tb = 125GB 1TB = 8Tb
Source: Atlantic.net

To distinguish between the two when abbreviating them, the lower-case “b” traditionally represents “bit”, whereas the upper-case “B” represents “byte”. Bytes are generally used when describing data capacity. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in gigabytes and terabytes (and, perhaps soon, petabytes!).

This can get confusing for many, especially if they are switching from a satellite or wireless provider that sells their packages based on usage, not speed. With Race, you are never charged for usage and you can rest assured that we won’t be throttling your speed after a certain amount of data is used. With us, you simply pay for the speed you want – and we make selecting a plan as easy as possible.

We offer 25Mbps as our Basic Broadband+ package and 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) as our “Gigafy Me” package. Both packages offer symmetrical speeds which means you are getting the same speed for your uploads and your downloads!

How fast is 1000Mbps or 125MB/s is in terms of usage?
Below are examples of files with the average download duration:

  • MP3 file — 3MB, less than 1 second
  • TV episode — 350MB, 3 seconds
  • 720p High Definition TV episode — 950MB, 8 seconds
  • Blu-Ray Movie — 15GB, 2 minutes
Source: myrepublic.com

This post was originally published in July of 2018, and was updated in August of 2021.

How to buy that new router you’ve been putting off

Routers are everywhere. In our homes, apartments, schools. Everywhere we turn – but what exactly should you be looking for when purchasing one? Single or Dual band? Beamforming vs. Multi-User technology

What does all this mean and how does it tie into choosing your next router? Well for starters, let’s take a step back. The first thing is, what is a router? A router is a small electronic device that joins multiple computer networks together either via a wired or wireless connection. In simple terms, a router tells your computer/device which door to use to get on the Internet.

However, the market is flooded with options and the thought of purchasing a new router can be daunting to most – after all, picking a wireless router that delivers fast and reliable Wi-Fi, while maintaining excellent coverage, is no easy feat.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of four things for you to consider for your next router purchase:

Dual-band capability: The main Wi-Fi bands are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Most routers these days have the option to use either of the bands. Additionally, newer routers have tri-band compatibility.

Coverage and Range:  The strength of your router is another important factor to consider. With routers, strength applies to your signal. You want to look for a router that offers you to go the furthest distance, while still maintaining a strong connection.

Quality of Service: This function of the router allows you to prioritize bandwidth to specific activities or devices. It is particularly useful where there are several devices using the router. A wireless router with a fast CPU is advantageous for QoS configurations.

Security: No list would be complete without mentioning security. It is perhaps one of the most important issues to consider when selecting the best router to buy. When considering which router to buy, make sure it at least uses WPA2.

However, buying your own equipment doesn’t always guarantee better performance from your router. Always remember that at Race, you can skip the guesswork and rent a router directly from us. We offer tech support on all our equipment, so if you ever run into any technical problems, we can help you by troubleshooting it for you without having to send a technician to your home. Another great point about our routers, they come configured to the network. So there’s no extra setup, just plug and play and your router is ready right out the box!

With so many options out there, we know how hard it can be to pick your next router. Just keep these pointers in mind and you will be on your way to picking out the perfect piece of equipment for your household’s needs. Customers can also call us at 877-722-3833 if they have any questions about their Race-provided router.

This article was originally published in April of 2017. It has been updated in August of 2021 for accuracy and to reflect changes and advancements in technology.

What You Need To Know About Utility Easements

Did you know that you may have several types of utility lines running under or over your land as a property owner?For example, electric, gas or telecommunications lines like those used by Race Communications. If these lines exist, a utility company can access them if there’s a problem, and that means they can go onto your property to do so. Here’s what you should know about utility easements and what you can expect as a property owner.

Firstly, while you may own the land, but utility companies will have the right to use your land to access their equipment
: Utility easements are usually written into your deed. If you’re not sure if there’s an easement on your property, it’s best to do a title search to find out. A utility easement will transfer with the land, or “run with the land”—that is, if you sell your house, the next owner buys your house and land with the easement on it. Sometimes there’s nothing in writing showing a utility easement, but an easement is usually implied when you buy a house that comes with running water, cable, electricity or gas, and other utilities.

Property owners have the right to use the land as they see fit, including the easement area, so long as they’re not obstructing the easement itself. For example, if there’s a written easement for a company to use a small corridor along your property to access its equipment in the back, you can’t build anything on it or obstruct that corridor. If you do, the utility company can remove the obstruction or even destroy it if it interferes with the easement.

That doesn’t mean you can’t build a fence, or plant shrubs or flowers along the border, so long as they don’t interfere with the utility companies’ access to their equipment. Remember that your deed permits utility companies to access it whenever needed so that they can take you to court—they can ask the judge for an injunction to stop you from blocking entry onto your property—for violating the easement.

One way to avoid damage to utility lines placed on your property, is to call 811 before you dig! Race Communications recently shared a blog post on the importance of utility markings prior to kicking off any projects around your property. We hope we’ve been able to answer your questions on utility easements and what they mean for you as a property owner!