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

What is fiber optics and why is it better than copper?

Today, your Internet and TV services are probably connected to your home via copper wires. This technology has been around for over a hundred years, and it certainly wasn’t built for today’s uses and demands. Race Communications recognizes this and is working to build a network that will provide fiber optic internet to homes across the state of California. Now you may be wondering, what is fiber optic technology and is it better than copper? If so, why?

Fiber optic technology is far better and faster than copper at transmitting information, such as the bits that make up your favorite websites, Netflix shows, or online games. Fiber-optic cables are made of glass, and they use lasers to transmit information — close to the speed of light!

Investing in fiber-optic networks can significantly increase bandwidth potential and reliability. As mentioned earlier, copper infrastructure is limited because it was originally designed for transmitting the telegram! Think about that! The same infrastructure has been in use since the telegram – no wonder most homeowners are familiar with the slowdown that occurs when the clock hits 6:00 pm and everyone is home from work.

The signal for copper networks degrades as the signal is carried from the central office (CO) so distance is a huge factor in your internet’s performance. In contrast, when traveling over a long distance, fiber optic cables experience less signal loss than copper cabling. This is known as low attenuation. It is estimated that fiber loses only three percent signal strength going over 320 feet in distance. By contrast, copper loses 94 percent over the same distance.

While not everyone needs gigabit — or 1,000 megabits per second — the move to faster speeds is inevitable, and more companies are trying to offer these services, just look at Spectrum and Comcast. However, these providers do not use fiber optic technology and instead rely on the old copper wires. This means that the speeds will rarely (if ever) be symmetrical, data caps will apply and reliability will be an issue.

There are a number of factors that can cause outages when a company relies on a copper network – temperature fluctuations, severe weather conditions, and moisture can all cause a loss of connectivity. Old or worn copper cable can even present a fire hazard, due to the fact it carries an electric current – since fiber is made of glass it doesn’t present the same hazard!

Fiber optics is an amazing technology, but unfortunately, very few homes have direct access to fiber networks today. This is in large part due to the resource-intensive process of deploying new infrastructure – but Race Communications hasn’t let that slow us down, thanks to grants and partnerships with public and private entities!

If you are lucky enough to live in one of our fiber communities, don’t hesitate!

Submit an inquiry today to find out if you live in our fiber footprint (or if we are coming to a neighborhood near you soon) – or give us a call at 877-722-3833 to place your order!

Sources:
https://smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/fiber-optic-copper-wireless-internet-transmission-methods.html
https://www.atlantech.net/blog/8-advantages-of-fiber-optic-internet-over-copper-cable

🎃 Turnout for Trunk or Treat was UnBOOlievable! 👻

Race Communications would like to thank everyone who came out to the Trunk or Treat on Saturday October 28th in Bear Valley Springs.  Over 700 people came out to the Whiting Center to enjoy the 20+ cars that were decorated for the event.  The trunk decoration contest was heavily contested with the Day of the Dead Theme edging out 1st Place.  2nd Place went to the Spooky Concoction Theme.  3rd Place went to the Froggy Theme. 4th Place went to the Spooktacular Scare Family Theme.  Some of the prizes Race awarded the winners were an Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire Tablet, Race Coffee Mugs and Starbucks Gift Cards.  This event was sponsored by the Bear Valley Police Department, Bear Valley Community Services District and Race Communications.

Race Communications has been constructing the Kern County High Desert Project bringing a fiber-based network to Tehachapi, CA and surrounding areas.  This project was approved and partially funded by a grant from the California Advanced Services Fund.  Currently, Race is accepting orders and connecting the vast majority of serviceable areas in the Tehachapi and Bear Valley Springs.  For more information you can visit race.com or visit our Race to Tehachapi Facebook page. 

General Use Plans Approved

The following communities had their General Plans approved by the Mono County Planning Commission during the June 2017 meeting:

-Swall Meadows – Paradise

-Walker

-Mono City

-Aspen Springs

-Benton

-Bridgeport

– Sunny Slopes

So what does that mean? Residents in the area will now see our Race crews around town stranding fiber in the area, working hard to bring better connectivity to rural communities in Mono County. At this time, you will not be able to place an order, but we are getting closer and closer!