How Your Location Decides Your Internet Speed Results

Billions of people connect to the internet every day. In the United States, internet service providers offer what we need to connect. These providers usually have tiered options for customers that determine their maximum internet speed. Although these numbers are publicly accessible and can be seen on your bill, performing an internet speed test is usually the best way to see what internet speeds you are receiving.

There are two major terms to understand how the internet works. The first term is “internet speed.” This refers to the time it takes to upload and download information per second. For example, a 100 Mbps download speed means you could download a 4 Gb video game in roughly 40 seconds. “Latency” refers to the time it takes for information to reach its destination and return. The higher the latency, the more potential obstacles may be delaying the transmission of interactive media.

Wireline is the most common internet connection type

Wireline connections are the most common internet connections. These connections are defined by cables, including coaxial, fiber optic, and copper cables. This connection type includes many service names that you may be familiar with, including Cable Internet Service, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), and Fiber to the Home (FTTH).

Cable Internet Service

Cable television companies can offer internet services to communities through a hybrid network, utilizing coaxial cables to send data. This service uses a variety of cable types and varies depending on region and company. Typically, cable television providers offer high speed internet through Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) which is a telecommunications standard that allows high-bandwidth data to travel on existing cable services. These services typically download faster than they upload. Cable Internet Service is also the most common in the U.S.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A Digital Subscriber Line provides two-way copper telephone lines to consumers, allowing them to simultaneously use the internet and landline phones without either system being disrupted. The most efficient DSL wire will have up to 24 Mbps, falling below the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) definition of broadband. This also is not what many would classify as high speed internet. DSL speeds decrease based on how long the wire runs, meaning speeds can differ across communities after installation. Internet service providers have started phasing out this service as it is the oldest internet service technology in the U.S.

Fiber to the Home (FTTH)

Fiber to the Home or Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) can offer the fastest speeds paired with the lowest latencies. This service is founded in fiber optic cables that can send larger loads of data at high transfer rates. With the newest networks, FTTH has been recorded delivering up to 10 Gbps with symmetrical download and upload speeds. With limited maintenance, fiber can be scaled to faster speeds over time as better technology is developed.

Last Mile Division preparing to bury coaxial cable, granting internet access in a residential neighborhood
Last Mile Division preparing to bury coaxial cable in a residential neighborhood

Cable remains the most prominent of wireline connections in the U.S. despite fiber having faster internet speeds. The federal government is investing into fiber infrastructure expansion through bills like the America Rescue Plan Act, the Capital Projects Fund, and others by financially backing internet service providers and subsidiaries as they tackle the task of providing broadband access to all U.S. households.

Mobile Devices are the exclusive internet access point for about 1 in 7 Americans

Although technology continues to rapidly advance as does broadband development, 15 percent of Americans rely on their mobile devices to connect to the internet as they have no other means. Mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones are defined by their wireless generation. Each wireless generation is defined by its number in lineage followed by a G, signifying “generation.” For example, the newest wireless offering as of this writing is 5G.

There are three generations in use

3G: The third generation of wireless technology is significantly slower than the services we are familiar with today. Usually, speeds cap at less than one Mbps, meaning it would potentially take over one minute to load a high resolution picture. This service is nearly phased out and poses a potential security risk for some devices and industries.

4G: This generation is the most widely available service currently. 4G is normally above 1Mbps, but 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) boasts speeds up to 100 Mbps.

5G: The fifth generation of wireless technology is exponentially faster than those that came before it as it benchmarks speeds above 1 Gbps. Although it is faster, it also requires more receivers and transmitters to successfully send information at that speed. This need, along with an overall slowdown of the initial 5G rollout means it is not available in all areas.

Regardless of a device’s mobility, all of them rely on network infrastructure to function.

Broadband infrastructure makes the world go round

The internet, and access to the internet, is defined by strategic, sequential placements of cables, wires, routers, poles, servers, and more. These devices come together to open a portal to the vast expanse of information we use every day. As aforementioned, these devices did not simply spawn into existence. They did not naturally evolve and provide their resources to us. Instead, we engineered the technology and trailblazed new and efficient ways to deploy it.

This process of building networks, connecting communities to the networks, and maintaining said networks has developed right along with the technology itself. Securing permits and easements for network projects has become a part of that process and an exercise in problem-solving and logistics.

Internet service providers need permits and easements to build network infrastructure

Before a single shovel hits the dirt, companies need to secure the proper paperwork for a build. This paperwork is permits and easements.

• Permits offer the access necessary for the project area, including but not limited to streets, sidewalks, or highways. Most local, state, and federal governments, or extensions therein, issue permits. Two examples are the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

• Easements are used to build on private property and are attained with a specific purpose in mind. Internet service providers acquire these with the intent of building network infrastructure, but that negotiation process can be lengthy and costly. Most states have attempted to streamline the process to reduce turnaround times through various methods. This includes allowing companies to expand on existing electric easements so new ones do not need to be agreed upon.

Aerial Lineman lashes fiber optic cable between utility poles

National OnDemand helps build network infrastructure through aerial, underground and wireless projects

Broadband infrastructure relies on aerial installations on poles or buried underground by plows and drills. However, there is not a definitive solution across the country, much less across a single state as geography, weather patterns and climate, permits, and more define which solution is best. Network needs vary state to state, and county to county. That is why National OnDemand offers full-turnkey solutions for internet service providers and utility providers as we help build out broadband infrastructure underground and in the air.

Licensed to work in 45 states across the U.S., we have already been hard at work helping internet service providers expedite and complete their network projects. Additionally, we are available start to finish as our industry-leading Last Mile division connects and maintenances homes and businesses in communities small and large.

National OnDemand is ready to help you Anytime, Anywhere. See our services page or click here to contact us.

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