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Pville_Piper
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Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:00 pm

I'm a bit lazy and a search seemed to be answers only by providers and I prefer real life answers. So let me get to the question. AT&T has been sniffing around trying to sell cable to me. I think they bought out the local Wow provider who has a very bad rep and from what I hear it was a "paint the rocks" kind of buyout on the local side of things. Now they tell me they want to sell a fiber optics with a 100mb download and cable with a DVR for $100... I already have all that with a phone included (my wife wants one in case the grandkids need to call 911 as their mother won't let them have a cell phone) except it's not fiber optics for $130.

I don't do a lot of streaming but I do game with my computer, FPS shooters and Elite Dangerous mainly so I'm more concerned with latency than speed. The grandkids and my wife use tablets a lot (with a fair amount of you tubing) and my grandson uses a PS3/PS4 to game on. Would I really notice fiber at the same speed? They claim to have a clearer picture... I've not noticed any issues on my old Panasonic plasma TV with a 720p picture. It works well and I'm not going to get a 4k TV until this one dies... And maybe not even then as I don't watch much TV and my wife doesn't care about that kind of stuff.

The second issue is I've had good service from Charter since we moved here in 2003 and all of our emails have always been thru charter.net and would be a major pain to change since I don't even know how many places I've registered that address with... Interestingly, when my wife brought that up, he said nothing would change with that. I'm really confused by how my email marked charter.net will suddenly appear on an AT&T network.

I didn't talk to this guy, my wife did, I work from home and was busy at the time.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:05 pm

What's your download right now? Anything south of 25mbit I think you'd notice a big difference, particularly while people are streaming to their tablets. Anything above that and my guess is no, you won't notice much difference.

I have a fiber connection not because I wanted fiber or even wanted the insane speeds, but because I wanted away from Comcast. The 150mbit connection is just a bonus, but unless I'm downloading a huge title on Steam or the PS4 I don't think I notice much difference over the old 50mbit connection we dumped in 2014. I'm also a 100% telecommuter, so uptime and decent performance are really important to my continued employment. :lol:
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DancinJack
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:09 pm

You'll likely get marginally lower latency for some things, but I doubt you'd notice the difference otherwise. I actually don't love the "modem" and "router" options with FTTH that are offered now. Some providers require you use their equipment as it stands and....no thank you.

IMO just stick with Charter unless something else comes along that really dunks on them.
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:25 pm

Although real-life examples will certainly vary, I would take fiber if given the option because it's easier for them to upgrade your speed at some point, but most importantly because overall it's more reliable and it's easier for techs to figure out why the heck you can't see cats on the interwebz. Assuming usual levels of ISP idiocy and assuming everything always breaks, fiber will hopefully break less.
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:35 pm

My experience has only been fios vs various cable providers (so BYOR and all that is a non-issue, turn on ethernet port and done) but it has been a far better connection. I've had both types running simultaneously in the same general area for most of the last ~10 years.

Better latency, much much better uptime and better prices...if you play the game right.
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Pville_Piper
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:42 pm

My speed is 100mb right now and you don't see that big of a difference downloading stuff from the 66 it was. I tend to play the same games for a while so it's not that big of a difference.

I don't like the combos either, even though my router is getting long in the tooth my modem is fairly new SB6183 I wouldn't want to change. I have my network setup nicely, it locks out the grandkids after bedtime... Report cards and attitudes went up right after I instituted the blocking service...

I just don't trust the other cable services, Charter has always worked to keep me happy and, while not perfect, I have been so. The local WOW/AT&T service is still getting hammered in local reviews and Charter isn't.
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 3:56 pm

FTTP vs FTTC vs Cable - The preference is in that order.

Latency isn't going to be hugely different between them. Maybe an extra 5-10ms on FTTC because of the extra conversion steps but as Morphine says, stuff will break and the best option is the easiest to fix. FTTP is simpler than FTTC, and whilst no more complicated, cable companies leave you out of service with minimal or even zero re-route options if there's a fault.

As for bandwidth, it's rare that you can make use of more than 25Mbit/s - game downloads with P2P are one of the few types of content that can benefit, but even with 200Mbit instead of 25Mbit, it's still going to be a case of getting up from the PC to go and do something else for a while.
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DancinJack
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 4:08 pm

Slighty off-topic, but yeah, Steam's servers will let you pull down a ton. I think I've seen it max out my connection around 22-25MB/s (yes big M big B).
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 5:01 pm

Gigabit FTTP at work didn't quite get maxed-out by Steam's content servers. I was seeing 40-45MB/s which means that they *do* have a limit! :D
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Pville_Piper
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm

Well they ambushed me this afternoon, basically gave us the same TV with a better DVR and 100 up/down for 20 bucks less a month... So I said yes. I'll know in a couple of weeks if it makes much difference.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 7:57 pm

well if you're saving money and it's at least comparable that's a win, right?
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anotherengineer
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Mon May 07, 2018 8:22 pm

Never had fiber but i do have the option. I'm on cable and have had speeds from 5Mbps (way back) all the way to 300Mbps, and currently at 100Mbps. (all down speeds)

I would say diminishing returns starts around 50Mbps down, and kicks in lots around 100Mpbs. (down) Having said that I am about 400 miles from any major city (1 mil pop. +)

From my experience on 100/150/300, steam can max out my 100Mb and 150Mb connection, I can't recall is steam maxed out the 300, I only had it 1 month for a free trial. MS, AMD, Intel, Nvidia, other big companies with large drivers/updates typically max out around 5MB/s so about 50-60 Mbps.

So I have decided to stay at the minimum connection speed offered by my ISP at 100/10, and I am happy with cable. The nice thing the fiber company offers though is 50/30 or 80/50. That 30 or 50 upload speed would be nice nowadays with so much stored on remote servers (errr the cloud)
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Glorious
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 8:09 am

If you can (or can get them) to run CAT5/6 from the Gateway to the ONT, I'd recommend that. Not using MoCA between the ONT and the gateway shaved 5ms off my latency.
 
tanker27
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 8:35 am

FWIW FIOS and Uverse are not equal.

FiOS is hybrid bastard system that isnt 100% fiber.

Uverse on the other hand is 100% fiber from the street to the house and if wired correctly through out it.
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wizardz
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 9:01 am

we have a symmetric 1gbps FTTH (fiber to the home) with IPTV and coming from cable, the difference in latency is i believe what makes a difference. went from 30ms to major content providers to less than 5ms in most cases. steam is one of the few service that i can pull 600-700mbps from.
 
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 10:23 am

tanker27 wrote:
FWIW FIOS and Uverse are not equal.

FiOS is hybrid bastard system that isnt 100% fiber.

Uverse on the other hand is 100% fiber from the street to the house and if wired correctly through out it.


This isn't entirely accurate.

FiOS is full fiber to the premises, after which the signal is converted to coax for the purposes of providing TV, and in older installs, Internet, after which it's converted from coax to ethernet. On newer installs this is skipped and the fiber is converted directly to ethernet. I believe coax system on older installs only went up to 75 ish Mbit, so they had to drop it when they started offering higher speeds. AFAIK, the TV side is still coax even on newer installs.

Uverse _can be_ 100% fiber to the premises, but historically they also used the Uverse marketing name to describe hybrid fiber/vDSL systems, which provided a single IP TV stream with 18 Mbit Internet.

To the OP's point, pure fiber to the home/premises (FTTH/FTTP) is technically preferred over hybrid systems, which is in turn preferred over legacy coax systems, as the fiber latency is generally lower and the system in general has more capacity. In reality however, the ISP's peering and maintenance is likely more important. Shaving 6 ms off the first hop isn't going to do much good if the traffic has to travel an extra 400 miles, cross through a congested peering point, or goes out when it rains because there's a garbage bag over one of the pedestals.
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Pville_Piper
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 10:28 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
well if you're saving money and it's at least comparable that's a win, right?


Yes, proably for a year, then I'll have to play them against Charter for the best deal...

It's supposed to be full fiber, we'll see...
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 11:24 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
Gigabit FTTP at work didn't quite get maxed-out by Steam's content servers. I was seeing 40-45MB/s which means that they *do* have a limit! :D


I get around 70MB on larger games that have time to ramp up. On the same connection my Linux ISOs break 100MB inside a VPN, steam is not the biggest "distributed CDN" out there ;)

tanker27 wrote:
FWIW FIOS and Uverse are not equal.

FiOS is hybrid bastard system that isnt 100% fiber.

Uverse on the other hand is 100% fiber from the street to the house and if wired correctly through out it.


You are pretty confused, or maybe your area only has that awful "bastard DSL" implementation but I think those all got sold off to the regionals already (I feel bad for their customers). Any install here is fiber all the way to the ONT.

If you're trying to say PON isn't "real fiber" you are even more off base. All networks are shared to some degree, the recent "neighborhood" back-ends in the 1G service areas are at least 10Gbit.

You did get the not equal part right though as from everything I've seen with heavy users reporting in: uverse top end is generally worse.
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SuperSpy
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 11:47 am

I've heard a few horror stories about AT&T's peering killing what is otherwise a nice fiber system. For instance, the connection testing 900+ MBit via the internal AT&T speed test site, but only being able to pull 400 from 'real' sites like speedtest.net or dslreports.com/speedtest due to the bottleneck being further up the chain.

This is contrasted by companies like Comcast that generally are struggling a little on the last mile bandwidth (being technologically less superior hybrid-fiber-coax), but generally have good peering, so what you get via internal test sites more closely matches what you get in reality.
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 11:51 am

That could also be an overprovisioning issue.
 
tanker27
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 12:20 pm

Bauxite wrote:
You are pretty confused, or maybe your area only has that awful "bastard DSL" implementation but I think those all got sold off to the regionals already (I feel bad for their customers). Any install here is fiber all the way to the ONT.



Probably.
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Glorious
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 12:45 pm

FiOS is full fiber to the premises, after which the signal is converted to coax for the purposes of providing TV, and in older installs, Internet, after which it's converted from coax to ethernet. On newer installs this is skipped and the fiber is converted directly to ethernet. I believe coax system on older installs only went up to 75 ish Mbit, so they had to drop it when they started offering higher speeds. AFAIK, the TV side is still coax even on newer installs.


Was 75MBit restriction because of MoCA or because of BPON versus GPON? I know that it had something to do with the ONT, but MoCA 1.0 can definitely do at least 100.

But yeah, in practice, they are going to make you use ethernet for internet service over 75.

That's better anyway.
 
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 1:42 pm

Yeah, FIOS started back when the existing cable runs in house could handle several hundred Mbit, and Gigabit Ethernet was still expensive. So they compromised on the local connection over existing Coax.

They ran the internet plus TV over the same cable like Comcast, with the understanding that you would have to upgrade in the future if you wanted more than 75/75 internet. Along with an upgrade from BPON to GPON.

You can call anytime you want and get Verizon to install a gigabit Ethernet connection to their ONT, if you want to use your own router. That's the system they use with Gigabit plus TV installs.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r317696 ... s-3-floors

Every cable provider performs similar feats of upgrades on their fiber infrastructure like BPON to GPON, they just hide it behind a DOCSIS upgrade (all you the customer interfaces with).
Last edited by defaultluser on Tue May 08, 2018 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
SuperSpy
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 1:46 pm

Glorious wrote:
Was 75MBit restriction because of MoCA or because of BPON versus GPON? I know that it had something to do with the ONT, but MoCA 1.0 can definitely do at least 100.

But yeah, in practice, they are going to make you use ethernet for internet service over 75.

That's better anyway.

I remember it being because of MoCA, but the limit may have been 100 or 150. My understanding is the BPON vs GPON limitation is more due to plant age and number of splits per node than raw speed offered.
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TheRazorsEdge
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 08, 2018 3:10 pm

SuperSpy wrote:
I remember it being because of MoCA, but the limit may have been 100 or 150. My understanding is the BPON vs GPON limitation is more due to plant age and number of splits per node than raw speed offered.


Going from BPON to GPON requires at minimum a new transmitter (OLT) in the central office and a new ONT for each customer.

A BPON splitter will split an OLT to 32 ONTs, and each fiber hub can house multiple splitters. With GPON (G.984 spec), you can get a 64:1 ratio of ONTs to OLTs per splitter while bandwidth goes from 622/155 Mbps to 2.4/1.2 Gbps. So, higher cap if you want to go there and less overprovisioning on the last mile.

You may be able to service a limited number of additional customers from that hub depending on local geography, regulations, and the size/location of the enclosure. So the effective overprovisioning will be even lower, especially in suburban and rural areas.
 
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 22, 2018 8:39 am

We all need fiber to have a healthy diet to go with the clearer signal.

Personally, I would take fiber over copper any day, anyway, any time, even if your connection speed is the same you should have a cleaner signal with fewer issues.
 
Pville_Piper
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 22, 2018 5:38 pm

Well it might be preferred... But unfortunately the AT&T salesman made some promises that AT&T didn't want to keep. I get a bill from them before they did the installation and it was not what the salesman said it was and the only thing that the AT&T operator would do was remove those options, not add them at the offered price.

On top of that, several friends and family members let it be known that they had some major issues with AT&T and they thought we were completely nuts for using them. The wife didn't to deal with them so we told them goodbye.
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Captain Ned
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Re: Fiber optic vs cable

Tue May 22, 2018 5:39 pm

Ah, to live somewhere where there's choice.
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