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How Fast is Fibre?

The Speed of Fibre Optical fibre is a thin strand of glass or plastic the size of a human hair that transmits light.  One fibre strand can transmit many different wavelengths of light with each wavelength forming an independent data channel.  In 2011 a single fibre strand used 370 channels at 273Gb/s each to transmit data at over 100,000Gb/s.  The Speed of Equipment The fibre optic end user equipment currently in use can transmit data at up to 100Mb/s.  The network equipment that interconnects communities can transmit data roughly ten times faster at 1Gb/s.  Future speed improvements can be achieved by simply upgrading the network equipment where it is needed.  The speed of the broadband connection is limited by the network equipment rather than the fibre itself, and for this reason fibre is called “future proof”.  The relative difference in broadband speeds can be seen visualized in the diagram at right. The Speed in Real Life The speed customers actually receive will depend on many factors including, but not limited to, their connection type, subscription speed, time of day, and where they are connecting to.  Customers may notice slowdowns when the school day ends and youth return home to bandwith hungry games, NetFlix, YouTube and music downloads.  This heavy usage and/or many users on a network segment can cause network congestion.  Congestion can be local or anywhere in the world your data travels to reach you.  Distance is not a major factor in speed, but data from a distant source may pass through many networks to reach you. Some networks your data passes through can be very congested or low speed networks that makes your internet experience painfully slow.  The best way to judge connection speed is by testing it on various servers using Speedtest.net.  The results below were obtained on a 25Mb fibre connection on Monday Feb 19, 2013 from Community Futures in Trail.     
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