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Why Fiber internet is (probably) better than 5G for your home

Diverse group of young adults live streaming a podcast - fiber vs 5G

In the last three years, 5G home internet has grown as an option for consumers. In fact, by 2030, global 5G is expected to make up 21% of the entire internet technology market share. However, the technology is still developing.

Today, fiber internet still provides faster, more consistent and more reliable internet speeds, as well as unlimited bandwidth and flexible internet plans. The research is clear: 43% of U.S. households choose fiber-powered internet solutions to stay connected.

In this article, we will clarify the differences between fiber and 5G internet and we’ll explore why fiber is a great fit for all your home internet needs.

When is Fiber internet better than 5G?

In most cases, fiber is a better solution than 5G home internet. Not only does fiber possess the most developed internet infrastructure, but it also provides faster speeds and lower latency than 5G.

Fiber is perfect for data-intensive activities including:

    • Streaming high-res videos.
    • Online gaming.
    • File transfers.
    • Video conferencing.
    • Cloud applications.

 
Additionally, if a household has multiple users and devices accessing the internet simultaneously, fiber’s coverage, flexibility and bandwidth can handle increased demands without interruptions.

5G towers over city landscape at night

5G vs. Fiber: What's the difference?

5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. Wireless internet signals are transmitted in radio waves—in a range of high, medium, or low frequencies—through cell stations across specific areas.

5G wireless technology aims to provide users with fast speeds, low latency and increased reliability. However, the technology is still developing. 5G largely depends on consumer adoption in rural or residential areas for service providers to create infrastructure.

Fiber internet, on the other hand, transmits and receives data faster and over greater distances—without disturbance. Fiber networks use insulated fiber‑optic cables to send pulses of data at the speed of light.

An Optical Network Terminal converts the pulses into electrical signals like Ethernet. Fiber networks are all around us, and have been researched and developed extensively since the 1970s.

In other words, it’s a technology that has stood the test of time, and is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate new developments in networking, internet and communications.

Fiber Internet vs. 5G home internet comparison

The differences between 5G home internet and fiber-powered internet aren’t only about how they send and receive data. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences.

What is the difference in cost between 5G and fiber internet?

Fiber is more expensive for ISPs to install, but less costly for customers.

Since fiber can achieve higher speeds and support many devices without new infrastructure, it’s more cost-effective for customers in the long term.

Fiber-powered internet can range between $25 and $250 per month, depending on your ISP.

With Astound, fiber-powered internet prices start at $25. When bundled with mobile and TV services, prices start at $75. Most ISPs give discounts when bundling together mobile and TV services with your fiber-powered internet plans.
 

To get started with fiber-powered internet, do the following:

    1. Choose your speed. Speeds range from 100 Mbps to 1.5 Gbps.
    2. Add on a mobile plan. Access our 5G wireless network for internet on-the-go.
    3. Add a TV plan for your household. Find your favorite channels and shows, all supported by our fiber-powered internet network.

You’ll be harnessing our speeds to download and upload files, stream your favorite shows, or game online.
 

Compared to a cable or fiber ISP, 5G technology is less expensive to distribute. However, it provides individual users with less value for the money.

Moreover, 5G internet is not uniform in speed, meaning that obstacles, coverage, distance from towers or transmitters and other factors influence your actual experience of internet speed in the home.

The major networks providing 5G internet offer prices ranging from $25 to $70, which may include discounts depending on the carrier. However, it’s important to note that some providers include data caps in their plans. After using a predetermined amount of GB, your ISP will deprioritize your connection, meaning your speeds will be much slower.
 

If you think you’ll be streaming, gaming, or working from home and need a stable connection, a fiber-powered connection delivers consistent speed.
 

Because 5G speeds are not consistent, providers may not be delivering you internet at the speed tier that you are paying for. For example, some users of 5G home internet report that their internet connection switches from 5G to 4G, with little explanation from the provider.

In some extreme cases, users have reported that being as little as 200 feet away from a 5G tower does not help 5G home internet performance issues.

5G home internet is a connection that is shared by many users at once—inside and outside the home. During peak usage times, your connection may be deprioritized.

If your home supports heavy data use, multiple users, or several connected devices, your service may not function properly with 5G.

What is the coverage like for 5G vs. fiber internet?

5G home internet is still in its early stages. Coverage isn’t available yet everywhere. As of now, 5G uses radio waves to transmit data through radio transmitters and small cell stations placed within major urban areas with high populations.

When transmitting a high-bandwidth or millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, the range of a 5G small cell is 50 to 2,000 feet (15 to 600 meters), assuming there are no obstacles like trees, tall buildings or mountains. If you happen to live near a 5G tower, you may experience fast download and upload rates.

Conversely, if you move away from the 5G tower, your internet speeds will fluctuate, impacting your internet’s overall performance. This same phenomenon occurs when you move your cell phone away from a 5G hub and your network slows to a halt.

Because fiber internet has been around longer, it’s already easily available in many regions. Due to its high speeds and minimal latency, fiber is the default option for many internet users.

More consumers are now looking toward fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) solutions. These connections are ideal, as the fiber-optic cables run directly from the ISP’s hub to your home, ensuring the best speeds and reliability for your home network.

Young businessman on laptop in home office

Is fiber internet more reliable than 5G?

Fiber provides robust and consistent internet connectivity. It’s transmitted by light signals and electromagnetic interference rarely affects fiber cables – unlike other technologies. For example, fiber connections send data over long distances with minimal loss of signal strength.

Compared to 5G, fiber has the lowest latency at around 1ms. These faster data transmission response times make fiber the most reliable internet for high-precision applications.

As 5G home internet uses radio frequencies, the distances the signals can travel is limited. Buildings, trees and other objects block signals. The further you are from the radio towers, the weaker your internet signal will be.

5G’s latency is around 4 ms. When using online applications that demand real-time interactions, high latency makes activities like video conferencing, online gaming, or virtual reality applications less responsive and less reliable.

How does the speed of 5G compare to fiber internet?

Fiber-powered internet enables high-speed rates. Because of fiber’s history, ISPs can deliver more consistent speeds. Consumers can choose from multiple speed tiers, ranging from lower to higher speeds, based on their needs, demands and plans.

5G home internet, however, provides a range of speeds. Home 5G internet providers cannot deliver consistent speeds the way fiber optic internet providers can. 5G home internet availability and actual speeds may vary depending on factors such as location, network architecture and service plans.

Fiber internet and 5G can both deliver speed. But, with fiber, you’ll know the internet speed you’re paying for is the internet speed you’re receiving in your home as long as you have up-to-date equipment, including your modem and router, capable of receiving the highest speeds.

The best of both worlds: Bundling with Astound Mobile

 
With Astound Mobile offers fiber-powered internet speeds from 100 Mbps to 1.5 Gbps, you and your friends can can browse, stream and game across multiple devices on your home network. And, while you’re on the go, stay connected with our mobile plans.
 
Read more about our internet and mobile plans.

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Disclaimers

*Internet speeds may vary & are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to reach advertised speeds. DOCSIS 3.1 modem with 2.5GE physical LAN port is required for 1 Gigabit speeds and higher. See astound.com/yourspeed for why speeds may vary. To view Astound’s FCC Network Management Disclosure see astound.com/policies-disclaimers. Modem required for Internet service. No contract required. Subject to availability. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

Not all services, speeds, packages, equipment, channels, tiers, pricing, streaming services, product offerings and product features are available in all areas. Offers valid only for new residential customers or previous customers with account in good standing who have not had our service within the last 60 days. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. Other restrictions may apply.

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, Astound Broadband is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom Astound Broadband has no control. Astound Broadband makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other websites.

eero Plus is available for an additional $9.99/month and requires subscription to whole home WiFi powered by eero.