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Internet Providers with the Fastest Speeds

Internet providers offering the fastest download and upload speeds integrate fiber optic technology in their ISP services. Fiber optic communication transmits information via light pulses sent through optical fibers. By forming electromagnetic waves that are modulated so that information transmission is facilitated, fiber optics dramatically improve internet speeds so that users no longer experience interruptions in downloading audio and video files containing large amounts of megabits per second (Mbps).

The Need for Speed--Fast Internet Providers

Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Century Link and DirecTV use fiber optic technology to provide high-speed internet service, as well as cable television and telephone. Customers receive excellent speeds when these companies send internet signals along optical fibers comprising their system, which are quickly received by modems installed in homes or business. Conversion of a fiber optic signal into an electrical signal is more accelerated than using an all-electric system. Additionally, interference is nearly eliminated and attenuation is reduced, two problems affecting the copper wire method that is still used in some high-demand or long distance applications.

Facts About Fiber Optics

Instead of thick copper wires, plastic or glass thread "fibers" are used to transmit huge amounts of data over vast areas to millions of people. One fiber optic cable contains hundreds of these glass fibers that are capable of relaying messages attuned to light waves. High speed ISPs give customers more bandwidth with glass fibers instead of metal cables by being able to transmit information digitally rather than electrically. In addition, glass fibers are maintenance free, since they are not affected by temperature changes like copper cables. Because copper cables contract, expand and corrode over time, they need periodic upgrading to ensure connectors are still tight and wiring integrity remains intact. Although fiber optics are more expensive, the cost of maintaining copper cables will eventually outweigh the initial cost of installing glass fibers.

Google Fiber

Purported to be the fastest internet provider to date, Google Fiber's "fiber to the premise service" offers cable TV and broadband internet service to a limited number of locations that have been gradually expanding in response to demand for the service. By providing a connection speed of one GB per second (upload and download), Google Fiber offers customers nearly 130 mb per second, or speeds that are 100 times faster than what other ISPs can give. However, people choosing to use Google Fiber will need to acquire special devices that support at least category 5 cabling and 1000BaseT technology.

The Future for High Speed Internet Providers

Although Google Fiber represents cutting-edge ISP technology, engineers exploring methods to make internet speeds even faster have already created glass fibers that transfer information almost as fast as the speed of light. Glass fibers used to accomplish this amazing feat are comprised of mostly air, since light travel speed is reduced by about 30 percent when sent through silicon glass. Consequently, internet providers wanting to remain competitive in such a high-tech industry as the ISP sector will need to continue investing in both research and component upgrades to improve customer retention and expansion.