June 4, 2012

Fiber Optics Are Changing the Way We Surf Online

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Have you ever typed the name of a website into your browser and sat twiddling your thumbs as it loaded? How about playing an online game and had lag issues every few minutes because your ping rate was so low? Sometimes this has to do with the server that the website is being hosted on or the speed or your browser or computer, but often these slow load times have to do with your Internet provider — especially if you have problems on a regular basis. Slow-downs can increase if you share your home network with many other users, such as in a college dorm or in a large family with many computers.

What would it be like to surf the Internet at zooming fast speeds? How would it feel to know that you can go online and watch a streaming TV show found on Hulu.com without worrying about lag because your teenager is playing an online game?  Wouldn’t it be nice to watch movies with the vlc media player with no problems? Luckily for you, the future is fiber optic Internet. It’s spreading across the country and may be in your area soon.

And you know it must be big and innovative if Google is getting involved. In February of 2010, they announced that they were planning on getting into the industry by offering a one gigabit per second, fiber optic Internet to a community to be determined. That’s around 100 times faster than most people in America can access today. The hope is to use that community to experiment with next generation applications that require higher speeds to function.

So why is fiber optic so revolutionary? Because it has many advantages over its copper wire counterpart. It’s less expensive, thinner, able to carry a high capacity, and uses less power. One of its greatest attributes is the loss of signal degradation. It has much less loss of signal than with copper and so you are able to have clearer calls and a clearer TV signal. It’s also cheap to produce, lightweight, flexible, and non-flammable. Because it’s cheaper to produce, often the prices for it are very competitive even with the increase in quality.

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