This article was written for our sponsor, Ting Internet.

We live in a time where we rely on the Internet for everything from work, school and paying bills, to socializing and entertainment.

As availability and access continue to improve, more and more people are curious about fiber-optic Internet. Despite being a relatively new technology, making the switch can be a smart long-term investment that will show positive results from day one—especially in a post-COVID world of remote work and social distancing.

Local providers in the Triangle like Ting Internet provide fast and reliable fiber Internet. But before knowing if fiber Internet is right for you and your family, here’s the lowdown on what it is and how to get it installed in your home.

What is fiber Internet?

Fiber Internet differs from traditional coaxial networks in several ways. The most glaring difference is how data is delivered. Traditional coaxial connections send data through copper wires, vastly limiting how much can be transferred and at what speeds. Networks can quickly become bogged down during high-traffic times because these systems weren’t initially designed for the Internet. This is a problem amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coax is a shared network,” says Tim Herzog, Ting Internet senior manager of field operations. “As schools and offices closed during the pandemic, everyone started spending more time at home and the coax network took a hit because it’s a shared network. This network can be an entire street, or 40 to 50 homes sharing one cable so the more people that are on it, the slower it gets.

That’s not an issue with fiber because you have one dedicated fiber all the way to your house.”

Copper and satellite networks also struggle with high latency. Latency is the delay during the transfer of data—the higher the number, the more problems you’ll have during video chats or streaming shows. Because data travels at the speed of light through fiber networks, latency is low and streams are super smooth.

Fiber-optic Internet transmits data using light through glass tubes, making transfers at the speed of light. These tubes are incredibly complicated to tamper with, making them one of the most secure networks on the market.

Fiber to the home (FTTH) allows for symmetrical speeds, meaning upload and download speeds should be identical. Because Ting Internet is the only FTTH provider in the area, they’re the only Internet service that can offer symmetrical speeds. Compared to coaxial networks, fiber-optic Internet is safer, faster and more reliable.

What’s the process?

Ting Internet Regional Manager Todd Rubin says they work directly with city and county officials to obtain permits, after which conduit is laid using a public easement or right-of-way where most utilities are placed.

Once the entire neighborhood is set up with conduit, fiber drops are performed to customers who have signed up for service. This makes it easy for people to add service at a different time if they moved in later or missed the initial installation period. Ting Internet focuses on areas lacking in high-speed Internet, Rubin says, which means the company is fulfilling a significant need for many neighborhoods.

“Our policy over the past five or six years is that we don’t build fiber on top of fiber,” says Rubin. “There are so many places that don’t have access to high-speed Internet. We want to focus our builds on areas that don’t have access to fiber currently.”

Unlike traditional copper lines, fiber optics are designed to transmit across great distances. Coaxial cables will lose strength the longer they have to travel, so you aren’t maximizing your network unless you’re next door to your provider.

Fiber lines have been connecting different continents since the Internet became widespread, allowing for instantaneous communication across the globe. Regardless of your proximity to Ting Internet headquarters, you’ll receive the same blazing-fast speeds.

“For us, fiber optic is a no-brainer. We have a real commitment to customer support and we’re excited to be expanding in the Triangle region,” says Rubin.

This article was written for our sponsor, Ting Internet.