First Step Internet is proud to begin rolling out Gigabit Fiber!
What is Gigabit Fiber?
In a word: fast. Gigabit Fiber is the gold standard for the fastest consumer-grade Internet connections around the world and typically only available in large metropolitan areas. Because it uses fiber optics it is immune from the outside interference that can occur with wireless and cable Internet connections. Also unlike other Internet delivery systems, Gigabit Fiber can upload at high speed as well as download, making online backups, video collaboration, and file hosting a breeze.
What kind of speeds can I expect?
Gigabit Fiber has a maximum real-world speed of about 940 Mbps. Though no Internet service provider can guarantee the maximum speed to a single device all the time, download and upload speeds in excess of 700 Mbps are normal for a single computer connected directly to First Step Gigabit Fiber.
Factors including your home router, cabling, ethernet card, computer's processor speed, the number of devices on your network, Internet congestion, location of remote device used for download/upload/or testing (as well as its routing, cabling, ethernet, congestion levels, etc) all play a more significant role in achieving the highest speeds than with other connection types because the Gigabit Fiber connection itself can often exceed the fastest possible equipment speeds (particularly if it is not the newest gear).
With multiple devices connected, at peak hours, and to popular sites results will vary of course. Users should regularly expect download and upload speeds combined over devices to be in excess of 400 Mbps (much higher if averaged over time)... many times faster than any other Internet connection type... and plenty fast to stream HD movies to multiple devices while downloading game updates, running smart-home appliances, making backups, and keeping up to date with tablet and phone apps.
When can I get it?
First Step Internet is beginning its role out with select apartment communities in Pullman, Washington as well as in some new residential home construction projects in the area. Contact First Step or your apartment manager/builder to find out when First Step Internet Gigabit Fiber might be available for you.
How do I test my speed?
We recommend: http://speedtest.fsr.net to get the best picture of how fast data gets through your network to our servers.
How can I get the best speeds from Gigabit Fiber?
First Step Internet Gigabit Fiber will bring the newest fastest Internet available to your door. While it is impossible to list every possible connection bottleneck (and keeping in mind that "as fast as your router can handle" is likely to be satisfying for all but the most extreme applications) some things to consider are:
Router and ethernet card. To take the most advantage of Gigabit Fiber, make sure that your router supports Gigabit speeds. Though Gigabit Ethernet is common on brand new routers it was less so a few years ago, and many of the lower-priced models may advertise Gigabit ports but lack the internal processor power to deliver the highest speeds. Here are some high-quality home routers that our technicians have found to deliver the best performance:
Mikrotik Brand, Nighthawk AC Series, Netgear Brand.
As always, make sure you have all of the latest software updates for your router (most companies are continuously tweaking and improving the throughput of these devices!
The same goes for your computer's ethernet card. Look for "1 Gbps" or "1000 Mbps" in the documentation. If you are using a laptop that requires a USB-to-Ethernet dongle, only high-quality models, newer than about 2015 and using USB 3, will support the highest Gigabit speeds.
Wireless vs. wired connection from your router to your device. If you use a wireless connection, you can expect speeds up to 75 Mbps. Though the newest wireless routers boast speeds much higher than this, those assume perfect environmental conditions, with the device very close to the wireless transmitter and without any barriers that may weaken or slow the connection.
A direct Ethernet connection to your router will always be the fastest option, but at Gigabit Fiber speeds, even that Ethernet cable can determine the speeds available to you. Cat 5e or Cat 6 (the best) wiring is the industry-standard cabling used for Gigabit speeds today – Cat 5 and below may only be able to achieve 100 Mbps speeds.
Do I really need First Step Internet Gigabit Fiber?
First Step Internet has been a leader in providing Internet connectivity services throughout the Inland Northwest for over 25 years. In that time we have grown from providing dial-up connections through DSL, cable, faster and faster wireless technologies. Gigabit Fiber is cutting-edge of Internet connectivity and while we cannot say whether it is right for you, we have never heard of anyone wishing their Internet was slower!
Check out our Speedtest Guide here.