Over the past year and a half, your internet usage has most likely changed. Chances are, you’ll spend more time online, work from home, or participate in Zoom happy hours, distance education, or virtual doctor appointments. With the onset of the global pandemic, we have all realized how important the internet and our ability to connect to it are.
The broadband industry, which is continually evolving to meet customer needs, has stepped up efforts to meet increasing demands for speed and bandwidth. Bloomer Phone Company, offering speeds up to 1Gig, has stepped up to ensure that customer and technical service practices are safe for employees and customers, and that customers are connected or upgraded as quickly as possible.
The global pandemic has highlighted that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) minimum speed requirements may need to be updated. The last time the FCC reset the speed definition for broadband was in 2015, when it was established that download speeds should be at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds should be up to a minimum of 3 Mbps to be eligible. Prior to that, the broadband standard, established in 2010, was 4 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for downloads.
Lucky for you, there’s no need to wait for the FCC to set new speed standards. With Bloomer Telephone Company, we are happy to help you determine the speed that is right for you-at the moment!
When choosing internet speed, many people skip the price straight away. It’s understandable, but it’s not always the best tactic. To make sure you’re getting the right speed, there are three key points to consider:
â¢ Will my Internet be powered by the latest technology? And why is this important?
â¢ How much bandwidth do I need? And how is it different from speed?
â¢ How many internet-connected devices are there in my house? And are they used simultaneously?
Internet technology and why it matters
The Internet can be brought into your home through DSL, coaxial (or coaxial) lines, or fiber lines. Each of them creates a pipeline for your internet to travel to your devices. The more advanced the technology, the more likely you are to achieve faster speeds.
DSL: The Internet is transmitted over copper telephone lines. Speeds range from 5 to 35 Mbps (for downloads) and 1-10 Mbps (for downloads). The speed varies depending on how far you are from the ISP’s local office. DSL offers minimal bandwidth, and if time interrupts the phone line, you will likely be without internet as well.
Coaxial: Sometimes referred to simply as “cable,” the Internet is delivered through a copper coaxial television cable. Speeds range from 10 to 500 Mbps (download) and 5 to 50 Mbps (download). Bandwidth is shared among neighbors, so speeds may slow down during peak hours. Coaxial cable can also be weather sensitive and with shared bandwidth it is often unstable and unreliable.
Fiber: Internet is transmitted at the speed of light. Well almost. Fiber optic lines are made up of many strands of plastic or glass, no thicker than a human hair. Data is transmitted by sending pulses of infrared light through fiber optic lines. Fiber is more resistant to weathering, electrical surges, radio waves, and other environmental conditions than DSL or coaxial cable. Plus, the fiber can travel longer distances without compromising speed or stability. The best part? Fiber can currently offer speeds of up to 1000 Mbps!
The difference between bandwidth and speed
Although some people seem to use the two words interchangeably, bandwidth and speed are, in fact, two different things, but related. Bandwidth determines how much data can be uploaded or downloaded, and speed determines how fast the data travels. For example, if you choose a plan with 100 Mbps, it means that you can move 100 megabits of data per second. The higher the Mbps, the more data you can move per second.
This is where bandwidth can play a limiting role. Although fiber bandwidth is not shared among neighbors, it is shared within your home. Using the 100 Mbps plan as an example, let’s say your home simultaneously uses ten different internet connected devices (currently the average household has 25 internet connected devices) and each device requires a minimum of 10 Mbps to function properly. If so, you’ve just maximized your Internet package. If you connect just one more device, your internet experience on all your devices will be hampered. You may experience lag and buffering, or the device may disconnect from the Internet.
It may seem like the internet is slowing down, but in reality it is just overloaded because there is not enough bandwidth to cover all of your devices at the same time.
Take a look at the devices in your home
When counting the number of devices in your home, consider the devices that each member of the family uses. Then go beyond the obvious computers, laptops, cell phones, smart speakers and smart TVs, and consider other smart devices (such as lights, doors, security, appliances, and thermostats) and Wi-Fi connected devices (such as printers) that use your Internet connection daily.
Then see how these devices are used and when. Is there more than one person working from home under your roof? Are family members playing, streaming and video chatting on multiple devices at the same time? The more devices you have and the more people using those devices at the same time, the more bandwidth you need.
When you consider how many of your home devices are connected to the Internet, and how and when they are used, you can make the smart choice of the Internet technology, bandwidth and speed that is right for you.
Bloomer Phone Company is happy to help you determine the speed that’s right for you. Contact the friendly hometown staff at 715-568-4830 or drop by the office at 1120 15th Avenue in Bloomer.