The debate over the best between Starlink vs. Fiber regarding internet speed and other aspects has been shaking the internet industry.
While fiber has been around and trusted since 1966 as a dependable, fast internet network, many view Starlink, which only came to the picture in 2021, as a game changer.
Whether this is true or not will depend on your judgment after reading this piece.
Table of Contents
- What is Starlink?
- What is Fiber Optic Internet?
- Starlink vs. Fiber: How to Choose
- Starlink vs. Fiber Optic Cable – FAQ
- Starlink vs. Fiber: Which One Do I Need?
What is Starlink?
Starlink is an advanced, newly discovered technology that uses satellite signals to deliver the internet.
It offers the ability to deliver broadband internet to areas where other options do not exist, such as remote areas.
Furthermore, it guarantees a speed only suitable for residential customers.
This technology works by sending signals to a satellite in low earth orbit from a dish in your home.
The data then gets back to earth. The connection here is wireless, unlike fiber, which uses a direct cable connection.
What is Fiber Optic Internet?
Fiber optic internet designates a data connection transmitted via fiber optic or copper cable. It transmits data through fast-traveling pulses of light.
It is the fastest internet provider with a stable connection that is unmatched.
And unlike Starlink, fiber optic uses a direct cable connection from your home to a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Fiber optic cable on a white background
Starlink vs. Fiber: How to Choose
If you are interested in a faster internet provider, fiber optic is by far a better choice, with a speed of 1gbps.
The main reason for faster transmission in fiber optics is that it uses a direct cable connection. This reduces the issues of power limitation and bandwidth.
The speed is far better than what you will get from Starlink, which ranges between 50mbps to 250mbps in homes, depending on the location.
For instance, connections in homes in rural areas have lower speeds compared to urban areas.
The technology used here is the reason behind the relatively lower speed.
The data moves from your home to the satellite and then back to Earth, which exposes it to a lot of bandwidth and power limitations.
Fiber optic transmission
Latency is the time taken during data transmission from one point to another on the internet. When latency is low, the internet speed is higher.
Fiber optic has a lower latency of 1ms to 20ms compared to Starlink, which averages between 2ms and 40ms.
The reason behind the higher latency in Starlink is the technology used to transmit data, which we have described in the speed section.
However, the latency rating of Starlink is still great for satellite internet.
It is much better than satellite internet companies such as HughesNet and Viasat, which can be as high as 600ms or more.
Fiber optic underground installation
No one would want an internet that breaks so often; in this aspect, fiber optic is a great choice.
The cables are earth grounded to reduce exposure to damage from extreme weather conditions such as snow and rain.
On the other hand, Starlink is a satellite internet prone to signal interference from weather conditions.
Being a new technology, it still needs a lot of advancement. Most customers have complained about experiencing short outages from time to time.
Starlink has a wireless connection; you should expect wider coverage. Its connections can easily reach remote areas because you don’t have to worry much about the terrain.
You will need earth cables for fiber optics, which can be hard if the terrain is rough.
It cannot reach many people in rural areas, and the designer likely devised Starlink to bridge this gap.
The cost of buying equipment and installing Starlink is higher compared to fiber. You will need around $600 to $2,500 to install it.
Even the ongoing monthly cost is still more expensive than fiber.
In addition to a one-time fee of $599, Starlink will cost you around $110 every month for a standard residential plan.
Though the cost of fiber may vary depending on location and service provider, it generally costs an average of $70/m.
Starlink vs. Fiber Optic Cable – FAQ
Will Starlink Replace Cable Internet?
It is not easy for Starlink to completely replace cable because it is unlikely to be as reliable as a grounded connection.
However, we expect it to eat a significant market share shortly.
Is Starlink Better than Fiber for Gaming?
Considering its high latency and lower speed, Starlink cannot be better than fiber.
Gaming relies on the stability of the internet and speed, which is inconsistent with Starlink.
It can only be compared to traditional cables, but a more stable fiber optic is far better for gaming.
Is Starlink Better than 5G?
Starlink internet is as good as 5G mobile for browsing and streaming. However, for other services requiring a stable latency, Starlink falls short due to its latency variation.
Starlink vs. Fiber: Which One Do I Need?
You can choose either option if you need a faster, lower latency cable compared to most options in the market.
However, if you narrow your choice between these two, fiber optic is still superior in almost every aspect.
The only key advantage of Starlink over fiber is its availability and coverage. It is a wireless connection that can cover even rural areas.
Fiber isn’t available in most remote places in the US. Otherwise, it is a better choice due to superior speed and lower cost.