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Does Fiber Optic Internet Need a Modem?

/ Categories: Blogs, Fiber Internet
Does Fiber Optic Internet Need a Modem? 296

Every type of internet uses some kind of equipment to deliver it to homes and businesses. While the most common is a modem, some equipment depends on your internet type.

But does fiber internet need a modem? Well, the answer isn't as simple as it may look at first. So keep reading to find out more about how fiber delivers high-speed internet to you.

Fiber optic internet doesn’t use a modem. Instead, it uses an ONT.

Many people have used cable or DSL internet in the past, so they are used to having a modem. Modems use coaxial cables to transmit that, but they require electricity to be turned on and get a connection.

However, fiber optic internet uses light signals to send and receive data. Fiber cables don't rely on electricity like coaxial cables do to send or receive data, so as long as your devices are powered, you can connect to the internet even during an outage.

So, do you need a special modem for fiber optic internet? Yes, you need a device called an optic network terminal, or ONT.

ONTs are small boxes that convert light signals into data so devices can connect to the internet. And here at Fidium Fiber, we offer free ONT installations. Additionally, ONTs are quite fast to install, so our technicians will set them up for you in an instant.

Another great advantage of ONTs is that the light signals received are not affected by electromagnetic interference. Interference can slow down cable and DSL connections – meaning your connection gets interrupted when you’re watching your favorite shows.

To explain, let’s start with the basics: what is a modem, and how does it work?

A modem is the device internet providers use to connect you to the internet using a cable or a phone line. You connect the company's cable to a modem, and then an Ethernet cable from the modem to your device or a WiFi router, so you can connect your devices to the internet.

Cable internet providers use a technology standard called the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS). The DOCSIS technology sends and receives internet signals through the same wiring used by cable TV services. Since both use the same cable, it saves a lot of time and money when setting up the infrastructure.

The biggest advantage of DOCSIS is its nonlinear, web-like connection structure, making it more resilient against system failures. However, DOCSIS's biggest downside is that it uses an asynchronous connection. This means that cable internet generally offers higher download speeds and lower upload speeds.

DOCSIS was designed to focus on downloading because it puts less strain on the infrastructure and network created by cable companies. It's also severely limited in speed, with the 4.0 version of the technology allowing at most 6 Gbps upload speed, often at much higher prices than fiber internet.

Fiber uses another strategy: optical network terminals

While cable and DSL use the well-known modem to deliver the internet, fiber employs a different strategy to connect your home to the network. Fiber optic internet uses a special modem called an optical network terminal (ONT) to connect to your ISP.

When hiring a fiber internet provider like Fidium Fiber, you may wonder why you need an ONT instead of using the modem you already have at home. The reason is that fiber operates using a different infrastructure compared to cable and DSL internet, rendering traditional modems impossible to use.

ONTs receive an infrared light signal from the server and send it to an ONT owned by your ISP. The signal is then sent to the ONT installed at your home and converted into a signal your devices can use. The technology used by fiber internet and the ONT allows you to have an upload speed that is as fast as your download speeds, unlike cable.

You can also opt for an ONT with WiFi capabilities to build a wireless home network. If you opt for a standalone ONT, using a WiFi router is a viable option to create the same type of network. When hiring fiber internet, a technician will be sent to your home to install an ONT, so you don't have to worry about installing anything yourself.

All Fidium installations also come with a Wifi 6 router, so you won’t need to purchase a separate or additional one.

Getting fiber internet? Just swap your modem with an ONT.

If you already have a modem in your home and want to change your plan to a fiber connection, don't worry. Swapping a modem for an ONT is quick and easy, something technicians are used to doing every day. However, you will need to use an ONT since modems can't receive data from fiber cables.

So if you're tired of slow internet, inconsistent connection speeds, and slow upload speeds, we can help you. Check Fidium's availability in your area to upgrade to high-speed internet with a free ONT installation!