Fiber Optic internet is quickly changing the way we use the internet. It is still the new entry in the internet, but the change it is bringing about to how we are and remain connected is like a revolution. This is a very strong opponent to the existing internet providers, especially DSL and cable, which holds the market’s lion share.
But change is coming and it’s all good news. If you are one of the lucky ones to have fiber network installed in your neighbourhood, or even know that it is in the pipeline for your area, then you should be prepared to have the internet equipment that can handle the super high speeds that will be coming your way.
Fiber Explained – How It Works
Firstly, let’s get the basic details out of the way. Fiber optics use optical fibers which are extremely thin strands of either plastic or glass which transmit data via light pulses. These light pulses are then transformed into electrical data which can be then read by your electrical devices. What makes fiber optics so ideal for today’s connected world is that the speed data can be transmitted as well as the amount. A fiber optic cable could have two strands to hundreds of strands, each with the capacity to carry at least twenty five thousand calls. Imagine the amount of data that could be transmitted each second!
The light pulses in the cables bounce off the glass edges, keeping the light beam inside the glass strand instead of allowing it to escape.
The reason why fiber optics is so revolutionary is because it has done away with the conventional copper wiring and standard equipment that accompanies the older technology. As fiber optics is so different, you will probably need an overhaul on your internet equipment such as fiber optic modem and/or router.
What You Need To Get Fiber To Your Home
- The first thing needed would be a fiber optic cable which would be laid out, directly connecting your home to your internet service provider. Your ISP can either offer FTTP or FTTN, with cable or DSL lines connecting your home to the node.
- The next thing to be changed would be your modem. You would need a fiber optic modem. You should probably get this with your ISP, but we all know ISPs are notorious for not offering the best fiber modem, all with constant monthly fees as well. The best move for you would be to buy your own fiber optic modem.
- Last but not least, your router should be changed. You should get a fiber optic router, one that can handle the awesome speeds that your ISP will be sending your way. In most cases, the speeds reach a bottleneck in your home, due to the old router you may be using. If fiber optics is coming your way, you should get a fiber optic router. This will help your devices access the high speed internet.
- Through all this, you need to check with your ISP if you are eligible for Fiber Optic service, as well as schedule an installation date. If you are cleared, you will have to give time for any digging or drilling that may need to get done in order for your home to get fiber optic service. You should also make sure that your space is cleared out of clutter before the technicians start their work.
Advantages of Fiber Optic Cables
- Reliable data transmissions: There is better signal quality with fiber optic cables as they avoid electromagnetic interference which occurs with copper cables
- Better bandwidth: As fiber optic cables can transmit more data than the conventional copper cables, they will also provide higher bandwidth
- Cheaper to maintain: Fiber optic cables can carry data over longer distances before they need to be amplified – which makes it a simple as well as cheaper solution to operate
Different Types of Fiber Optic Cables
Light can travel in many ways down that strand. The different paths the light beam takes is known as ‘modes’. It can shoot straight down the center of the strand, or it can bounce off at varying angles.
1. Single Mode:
This is the simplest type of optic fiber and is relatively narrow in diameter. It is great for information sent at multi frequency due to a better transmission rate as well as covering fifty times the distance as compared to Multi Mode cables. It has a smaller core and eliminates any possibility of distortions due to the single light wave.
2. Multi-Mode Cable:
This has a larger width and offers high bandwidth over distances up to 2 kms. However, over longer distances, single mode is preferred as data transmission could be unclear or incomplete due to signal distortion caused by multiple light beams.
Get Better Speeds and Coverage With Your Own Fiber Optic Router
It goes without saying, that when you decide to buy your own fiber optic router, you’ll invariably get a better deal than what your ISP can offer. Each individual is different, so you shouldn’t settle for one standard router when you can buy something that will specifically cater to what you need.
- Better speeds: A new fiber optic router will be better equipped to handle the awesome speeds your ISP provides
- Better Coverage: You will have better range over larger distances
- Run VPN: Many people want to run a VPN server, a VPN client or even both. You cannot do this with an ISP supplied router, as tweaking settings is possible in routers that run special firmware like DD-WRT, Tomato, or others.
- Better consistency and Stability
- Fewer fees: When you buy your own, you say goodbye to a barrage of fees that are bombarded on you by your ISP – from installation, to rentals, to add-ons, taxes and more. Buying your own is a onetime investment which will offer a return on your money within a short period of time.
1. Asus RT-AC88U Wireless AC3100 Router
Best Fiber Optic Router (Editor's Choice)
This dual band router uses the latest wireless standard of 802.11AC and is accompanied with a huge variety of features that will make sailing the fiber speeds a breeze. The sleek matt black design with four external antennas looks like it’s ready to leap into warp speed, and that’s what it does for your home as well in terms of internet speed and performance.
The ASUS RT-AC88U is our Editor’s Pick for best fiber optic router for your home, due to the multiple management options it offers. The simple set up takes mere minutes, thanks to the Intuitive Set up Wizard. You have a choice in going through the process manually or using the wizard to get automatically set up.
In tests, the Asus RT-AC88U did really well, and the throughput at short distances – 5 feet – 10 feet was about 783Mbps. As we went further away from the router, the speed dropped a little, to 556Mbps at a distance of 30 feet, which showed a very reliable and good performance in range and coverage. While this was all on the faster 5GHz band, the 2.4GHz band also performed very well, with the throughput performance managing 328Mbps at a close range, with the speed dropping to 212Mbps at a distance of 30 feet.
The file transfer speeds were higher than average, delivering writing speeds of 33MBps faster than a few other tested routers. The read speed reached 40MBps, which was not great, but better than most.
Features & How they help to improve speeds
With the ASUS RT-AC88U, you get the following features:
- MU-MIMO technology – It improves the capacity of home networks and in turn, affects your speeds, boosting them so that multiple devices can send and receive data at the same time.
- 1024-QAM technology – It boosts your 5GHz speed by 80% more, and boosts your 2.4GHz by 66%.
- 4 antennas – They help in increasing coverage as well as increasing signal strength.
- 1.4 Dual core processor – Boosts your USB data transfer speeds and WAN-LAN throughput.
- WTFast Game Accelerator - For better gaming experience, to have fewer lags, lower pings and latency issues.
- AiProtection – Helps keep your devices free from malware and cyber threats which may adversely affect your speed and performance.
- 8 x Gigabit LAN ports – Now you can connect up to 8 devices for super fast wired connectivity at the same time.
- Smart Connect - Intelligent technology that assigns devices to the best bands for them, so that slower devices do not clog up your faster 5GHz bands, slowing down speed.
Asus RT-AC88U Router Pros
- Great Wireless performance
- Smart web interface and very user friendly
- Excellent throughput
- Wealth of management options
- Multiple ports
- MU-MIMO enabled
Asus RT-AC88U Router Cons
- Average on file transfer speeds
2. Linksys WRT AC1900 Wireless Router
Low Budget Fiber Optic Router
Not only is this affordably priced, but the Linksys WRT1900AC is also a powerful router that delivers. Unlike many of the other Linksys routers, this one proved its worth from Day One, and continues to be featured on our best routers list. This is a great router for those who are looking to access advanced features via custom firmware.
The router is great for users who don’t have a lot of tech background and this can be set up straight from the box, with instructions clearly given. You have the option to manage and control your home network remotely via a free Linksys Smart Wifi account through its Web interface,
Having 3x3 stream model, this router features 4 antennas that helps to deliver a total combined speed of 1900Mbps on both bands. Actual speeds varied, and when placed on the Auto setting, the wireless performance delivers great results. We received 585Mbps on the 5GHz band at a close range, with the speed falling to 351Mbps at a distance of 30 feet. The 2.4GHz band delivered speeds of 242Mbps at a close range, with the speed dropping to 186Mbps at a distance of 30 feet.
The range on this router is brilliant, with us catching a signal at a distance of 230 feet. Even when the BlueGadgetTooth team decided to test file transfer speeds, it could handle the immense load with no disconnected or dropped connections.
The NAS performance on the Linksys WRT1900AC is impressive, with speeds reaching 112MBps for reading and 82MBps for writing data, via an Ethernet gigabit connection.
Features & How they help to improve speeds
- Network Mapping – You now have true power over your router and its connected devices. You can add, edit and manage users on your network, check out which device is connected to which band, all while being user friendly.
- Media Prioritization – You can make High and Normal priority lists and add or remove connected clients from these lists to give priority to certain devices. Example, if you are gaming, you can put your gaming devices on High Priority list so you get the oomph of high speed internet.
- Guest Networks - Having 2 guest networks means that guests don’t clog up the bandwidth of your private home network.
- Beamforming – Allows strong signal to be sent to specific devices so that they get better speeds.
- Other common features - This includes IPv6, WPA2/ WPA encryption, Dynamic DNS, port forwarding and more – all which affect your speed, security and performance of your network.
- 4 High performance antennas - Adjust the external antennas to direct the signal strength equally across your space – which is great for homes with multiple levels.
Linksys WRT AC1900 Router Pros
- Great range
- Supports add on storage
- Sleek design
- Allows for third party custom firmware
- Powerful networking hardware
Linksys WRT AC1900 Router Pros
- Large size
- Web UI may take time for first time users
- Not enough config options for advanced users
3. Linksys Max Stream EA9500 Tri Band Wireless Router
High Performance Fiber Optic Router
If you’re looking to get a kick out of your fiber connection, and want a fiber optic router, this is the one to go for. In terms of performance, it knocks every other router and leaves them lagging far behind. It is a powerhouse of performance, which is why it has been featured as our High performance option for a fiber optic connection.
This tri band router really took our BlueGadgetTooth world by storm, delivering speeds of 921Mbps at close range, with the speed averaging out to 842Mbps at a distance of 30 feet on the 5GHz band. The 2.4GHz band delivered speeds of 532Mbps at close range, with the speed averaging out to 333Mbps at a distance of 30 feet. Keeping in mind the amount of walls, this router had a good range of 180 feet.
If speed is your thrill, and performance is what you need from your fiber optic router, this wins hands down.
- Eight adjustable antennas – Each antenna helps direct and strengthen the signal to give you better coverage. Having eight antennas only boosts your signal so that you don’t have dead spots.
- Wealth of ports – From the 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports which is a great solution to gamers or people who want to hardwire multiple devices, to a WAN port and USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports – you’ve got yourself a powerhouse of ports which can get multiple devices connected, up and running.
- Seamless Roaming Technology – When used in conjunction with a Max Stream Range extender, your devices will automatically be connected to the strongest signal, no matter where you are in your home.
- Mu-MIMO technology - Get a stronger signal directly sent to your connected clients – which means they get better speeds and performance, according to their speed grade.
- Remote Management – via the Smart Wifi Mobile app which allows you to check out router settings, Wifi tools, manage guest networks and other settings.
- Media Prioritization – Decide which device gets priority on your network.
- Network Mapping – Check out all connected devices and decide what device goes where on your network, and other functions and settings that helps make your network better for all devices.
- Tri band – Having two 5 GHz bands means that your connected devices can access fast speeds, without clogging up the 5GHz band. This totals up your combined speeds on all bands to a theoretical 5.3Gbps.
Linksys AC5400 Wireless Router Pros
- Multiple Gigabit Ethernet Ports
- Seamless roaming
- Excellent wireless performance
- Parental controls
- MU-MIMO enabled
- Excellent throughput
- Wealth of management settings
Linksys AC5400 Wireless Router Cons
- Large size
While fiber optic service is still not as widespread as cable, it is getting there, and this is the way of the future. With faster speeds, you can get a lot more done, without wasting time. In today’s world, time is money, and these three fiber optic routers are a great investment for your money, by allowing you to actually get the amazing speeds that you are subscribing to with fiber optic service.
You may get a default fiber optic modem or fiber optic router with your connection from your ISP, but why settle for something average when you have access to something extraordinary. It’s time to boost your networks performance, and reading through the guide to check what features make a difference to your network and why will help you understand the reasons why buying your own fiber optic router is a good path to walk down on.
All in all, it’s a move you won’t regret, simply because you’ll be getting more than what you asked for.