In 2022, the Internet truly makes the world go round – but which technology is best?
Just like the internet is constantly updated so are the technologies that we use to transfer the data on it. This forever changing industry is constantly evolving with new infrastructures and older ones that are being updated.
In this blog, we will delve into the pros and cons of two technologies – fibre optics and 5G, exploring which is better for your needs.
What Are Fibre Optics?
Made from a thin piece of glass or plastic, fibre optics are physically wired cables that come all the way into your home. Transmitting information across this fibre at the speed of light, fibre delivers internet to your home – fast!
Fibre optic cable makes up the backbone of the internet and is used throughout the telecommunications industry to transmit data. Now with fibre to the home, increasingly it is available for residential internet use replacing older and increasingly obsolete copper based technologies.
The speed of light is the fastest method of transmitting data yet invented, so if you have fibre optics in your home there is nothing better.
As the fastest possible form of internet, at the speed of light, fibre optics is the gold standard of connectivity. Is there anything better?
What Is 5G?
5G is the fifth-generation technology used for broadband cellular networks. You probably have it on your smartphone but some people will use it as a means of home connection through a portable 5G modem or by tethering their mobile phone.
While convenient to tap into, the worst thing about 5G is that it travels through the air. This means compared to fibre, it will have higher latency than fibre (the time it takes for data to transmit across the network). You will notice this most in real-time activities like Zoom, gaming and pretty much anything that is not simple web browsing.
Like other wireless technologies, 5G is ultimately a shared network. This means you are sharing the capacity of the 5G network with other people. Every 5G cell on your local tower has a certain capacity, and the more people using it the slower it becomes. So when the latest episode of your favourite TV show starts streaming, or Fortnite has a big update, the 5G network can really struggle to keep up.
The other limiting factor with 5G is its short wavelength. The shorter the wavelength on wireless technology, the shorter its range and the more difficulty it has passing through physical objects. 5G is the shortest wavelength wireless technology yet widely deployed and this can impact the speed and quality of your 5G connection.
With buildings increasingly incorporating double or even triple glazed windows, the ability to get a good 5G signal becomes harder.This limits the performance of the connection and you may have to accept a degraded performance.
That’s not to say there aren’t benefits to 5G. The best thing about 5G is that it is portable and you can take it anywhere. Top it up as you go or go on a monthly plan. It can be a good alternative to nbn if you can’t get any form of fixed connection. It’s also increasingly available – with more and more areas becoming 5G enabled.
It can also be good for emergencies such as fixed connection drop-outs but isn’t the best idea for 24/7 residential use. 5G can easily be used to tether on your phone as a backup when working from home.
In the long-term, fibre optic will always kick the butt of 5G as a fixed option for you and your family. Enjoy fast speeds and ensure every member of your pond is as happy as they can be using the internet. Find out how to get unlimited data for your family here.
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