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Fiber Optics 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Next-Gen Networking

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Everyone is familiar with what they need out of the internet and digital services. Whether you’re a business, a family or an individual, you’ve probably experienced the difficulties caused by slow, laggy and unreliable internet, and you know you require speed and dependability from your connectivity.

Yet, conversations around networking solutions can leave some in the dark. Terms like ‘fiber optic’ have been floating around for a long time, but truly knowing what these terms mean is still a work in progress for many. Knowledge is power, and in order to get the absolute best out of your network, we’re setting out to make sure everyone is equipped with an understanding of fiber — and how it serves business, communities and beyond.

Here’s your guide to fiber optic technology, its usage, its benefits and more.


Your Fiber Foundations: How it’s Made

Entertainment and business services that occur over the internet need a way to connect into the world wide web. This is the basic, foundational need that solutions like satellite service, DSL, cable and fiber optics solve. All deliver a connection to the internet, but fiber optic is the latest (and many would say greatest) strategy for establishing this connection.

So, how is fiber different? Well, it sends information differently than the other strategies do — it transmits data, files, images and more as light along what are called optical fibers. Optical fibers are extremely thin strands of glass (think smaller than the width of one of your strands of hair). These individual fibers are gathered together in the hundreds to make up one fiber optic cable. That cable, in order to function properly and reliably, is wrapped in protective outer layers and laid in the ground, installed overhead, or otherwise placed strategically to reach homes and businesses and connect them to what’s called the fiber backbone — a type of central nervous system for connectivity.

In legacy systems (older, more outdated connectivity methods) like cable, data and files were sent using coaxial cables, which were copper and electricity-based. While this method does connect users to the internet, it’s more vulnerable to things like electrical interference or weather incidents, making it less reliable. The same goes for satellite solutions.

Fiber is also faster and delivers higher quality results to users. Many fiber providers will even offer what’s called symmetrical speeds, which means you can upload and download things from the internet equally as fast — a big bonus for on-the-move businesses and homes that rely on digital means for work, play and communication.


Harnessing the Power of Fiber Networks

Now that you’ve been introduced to fiber optics and their benefits over other solutions, it’s time to think about how to leverage this technology. You’re probably already thinking about how fiber could boost your productivity in the workplace, enrich your experiences at home and help keep you better connected to the apps and tools that you use daily. Now, the question becomes: What do you look for in the network marketplace to ensure you’re getting the fiber optic services you need?

Above, we mentioned the benefits of symmetrical upload and download speeds. This isn’t something that every fiber provider will offer, and it’s a good indicator that a certain provider is looking to deliver the greatest number of advantages. What else is a sign that a provider could be right for you? Well, it comes down not only to the quality of the fiber services but to the quality of the customer service too.

Nobody likes waiting on hold for hours or having difficult-to-understand troubleshooting sessions with personnel that seem like they couldn’t care less about your needs. Whether you’re a business, family or individual, when you need help with something as crucial as internet services, it’s important to feel like you have a friendly, knowledgeable neighbor on your side — an ally, not just a transactional service provider. This is where local teams come in handy because nearby help means faster roadblock resolutions and helpful teams that can get you back on track quickly and easily.

Community dedication is also a major bonus. Sure, big-name providers (we’ve all heard of them) can deliver the goods, but do they really know what makes you, your business and your community tick? Are they really interested in supporting and future-proofing your unique requirements? These are the questions that will help you find your perfect fiber optic option.

To learn more about Horizon’s fiber internet services, click here.


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