Fiber Internet vs Cable

Your connection is only as good as your transport. Coax (cable) and fiber-optic (fiber) are two different technologies for delivering broadband internet service. Cable internet was first deployed in the ’90s and is now installed in over 69 million U.S. homes while fiber internet first started appearing in the mid-2000s.

The Differences Between Fiber & Cable Internet

Bandwidth, Speeds & Capacity

FIBER at it’s core is made up of many small, bendable strands of glass that allow the transport of enormous amounts of data at high speeds over long distances using the physical properties of light. The resulting dedicated connection bandwidth, true symmetrical speeds, and scalable capacity of fiber allows multiple users to access the network simultaneously without any limitations due to congestion.

CABLE is a shared asymmetrical connection. This means a pool of bandwidth is allocated to several users that can lead to the possibility of having your internet performance disrupted by your neighbors at times of peak usage. Cable internet speeds range from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps and can vary depending on utilization rates by other subscribers in your area.

Physical Connection Characteristics

FIBER includes an outer armor jacket, a buffer tube, glass cladding, and a glass core.

CABLE is made up of a plastic jacket, metallic shield, dielectric insulator, and a copper core.

Life Cycle

FIBER has a life expectancy beyond 25 years saving consumers money in the long run. There are also fewer technical issues with fiber eliminating many repair costs.

CABLE has a similar initial cost structure to fiber, but it will need to be replaced more often due to its shorter life cycle.


FIBER has increased security over cable, primarily due to how it transmits data through pulses of light over the thin glass strands. This makes the data harder to intercept.

CABLE is a shared medium and transmits data through electrical signals. These signals are easier to tap into making cable a less secure option.


There are a multitude of reasons why fiber has become the preferred solution versus the older coax cable. Previously, fiber was considered the more expensive transport medium but is now comparable to the cost of cable. Fiber’s glass composition allows it to withstand temperature fluctuations and severe weather conditions. Unlike cable, the glass utilized in fiber reduces the risk of fire and power outages since electricity is not being carried through it.

Fiber has flexible and reliable connectivity, which makes a huge impact on business productivity when reaching customers, working with partners, and hosting virtual meetings. Fiber infrastructure supports growing businesses by easily scaling up their bandwidth and network capabilities based on their specific needs. Fiber is also the fastest, most reliable transport for internet obtainable today. With over 4,500+ miles of fiber 123NET has been providing internet services across Michigan for over 25 years. Contact us today if you are interested in obtaining a quote to see just how affordable fiber internet has become!