What is gigabit internet and how does it work?

What Is Gigabit Internet and How Does It Work?

We have all felt the pain of our internet connection not being up to the task. Maybe you’ve experienced TV and video streams pausing frequently for buffering, connection lags causing you to lose a video game or maybe you’ve even missed something important that was said in a Zoom conference.

Fortunately, these problems may soon become a thing of the past with the rapid emergence of gigabit internet across the country. This next-generation internet service can deliver broadband speeds many times faster than typical existing connections, allowing you to easily stream standard definition (SD), high definition (HD), ultra high definition (UHD) and 4K UHD video to accommodate most existing and coming-soon high-bandwidth uses of the internet.

Find out more about how gigabit internet service works and what it could mean for you.

What is gigabit internet?

A gigabit broadband connection is an internet service that offers a maximum connection speed of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) or 1 million kilobits per second (Kbps).

With much faster speeds, it is a breeze to handle things like:

  • Streaming video
  • Video games
  • Immersive media
  • Multiple users
  • Data backup
  • Large file downloads
  • Group video conference hosting

Gig-speed internet service has only been around for a few years but the demand for it is growing. For this reason, there’s a push to have a fiber-optic structure to support it across the country. Many major cities have fiber-optic networks that are growing. And even some smaller cities and towns have invested in the high-speed pipelines needed to deliver gigabit service.

How fast is gigabit internet?

Right now, most of us measure our connection speed in terms of Mbps. A gigabit equals 1,000 megabits. Moving from your current internet connection to a gigabit connection will provide your fastest internet to date — up to 40 times faster than typical average connections — with smartphone operating system updates done in seconds and HD video conference hosting for multiple users set up with ease.

To put this in context, the earliest dial-up internet users would have been lucky to achieve speeds of 56 Kbps. So, something that can be downloaded in seconds or minutes with a gigabit internet connection might have taken hours or days with a dial-up one.

That said, it’s important to understand that with this new high-speed internet service, the top-end speed of 1 Gbps is rarely achieved because your internet service provider (ISP) will use some of the bandwidth to manage your account, ensuring that your data is directed to the right places. Still, an actual speed of 940 Mbps (or something very close) is more than enough to impress you with how quickly your internet moves, handling the most data-intensive applications with ease.

How does gigabit internet work?

Gigabit internet service is best delivered through fiber-optic lines. This is the fastest broadband service widely available, where data is transmitted as beams of laser light through fiber-optic cables. It works much more efficiently than using copper wires for digital subscriber line (DSL) internet connections, which most people have now.

Most other internet services have faster download speeds but slower upload speeds. With gigabit speeds, uploads and downloads are usually equally fast. This means you can set up a server in your house and stream videos to your mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. While gigabit internet can work well over Wi-Fi, it works fastest as a wired connection, with a gigabit ethernet cable plugged directly into a computer.

In some cases, gigabit internet can be delivered through the coaxial cables of traditional internet connections.

Benefits of gigabit internet

Fiber-optic cables enable the blazing-fast transmission of huge amounts of data, providing users with the best network speeds and highest bandwidth. For people working at home, this means they can work as productively in their house as in the office, downloading files, using collaboration and workflow platforms and attending meetings over video conferencing software.

Some of the other benefits of having this extremely fast internet service available include:

Support for multiple users

Home internet is often used by the whole family for work, homework, gaming, streaming videos on platforms like Netflix or Hulu, scrolling through social media and much more. With this level of demand, many internet connections stagger under the load. With gigabit internet, however, everyone can use it without causing slowdowns or service problems.

Improved service reliability

Gigabit internet service provides greater reliability than traditional connections because it usually uses fiber-optic cables made of glass, which are more durable than copper wires. While copper wires can withstand about 25 pounds of pressure, fiber-optic connections can endure 100 to 200 pounds of pressure, which means they are less prone to damage and service interruption.

Fiber-optic cables also don’t undergo signal reductions over distances, as copper wires do. Even better, they protect your internet connection from extreme weather conditions, fire, moisture and electronic interference.

The speed and reliability of gigabit internet also minimize latency — the time it takes for data to be transferred between its original source and its destination. Latency can occur on satellite internet connections, cable internet connections and some Wi-Fi connections. With latency, site loading can slow down, online gameplay can be affected and home office workflows can be delayed (and the list goes on). The faster response times of gigabit internet connections improve productivity and the quality of your internet experience.

Better cloud access

Many businesses and enterprises depend on cloud services for hosting information and doing network updates, communications, security patches and much more. Slow internet connections can slow down uploading and downloading data, causing backlogs and slowdowns of work efforts.

With gigabit internet service, you’ll have better cloud access and backup capabilities with fewer disruptions to your service.

Super-fast internet speeds

Yes, gigabit internet service is super-fast. Not only is this important to run the most intensive bandwidth uses available, such as 4K UHD video, but to prepare for even more demanding applications to come, including virtual reality.

Other factors for getting the best gigabit internet service

While you might get a fiber-optic internet connection, other factors in your home network setup could affect the speed of your service. For example, an older modem may not be able to handle the throughput of this internet connection. Some Wi-Fi routers might be able to handle gigabit traffic, but older routers using standards like 802.11g might not be able to. (What is the best router for gigabit internet?)

Newer computers and laptops, smartphones and tablets should be able to handle the super-fast speeds, but the fastest type of connection is by ethernet cable as opposed to Wi-Fi. If you connect your computer this way, it will also be less prone to signal interference from other connected devices in your network.

Discover Fiber Internet plans from Frontier in your area

If you want one of the fastest internet service options available for your gaming, downloading and streaming services, then check out the fiber-optic plans offered by Frontier.

Our ultra-fast Fiber Gig Service offers speeds that are much faster than cable, with enough bandwidth to easily cover all of your household’s needs. The package comes with whole-home Wi-Fi, a free router and no data caps.

Check to see if our service is available in your area and then buckle up and prepare to enter the fast lane.