Whidbey Telecom blog: multi-gig internet is the fastest residential internet service you can get, but do you need multi-gig?

What Is Multi-Gig Internet and Do You Need It? 

BY Jennifer Wilkins

In Hollywood movies where the only limitation is imagination, futuristic devices effortlessly transport you from one world to the next. Often, such seemingly impossible technology pops up in the real world. 

Think about it… video calls, touchscreen computers, and targeted advertising were once confined to the silver screen. Now, they’re used in our everyday lives. We’ll soon say the same about multi-gig connections. 

Between 2021 and 2025, experts expect the number of smart devices available for consumers to more than double. The Fiber Broadband Association expects an average four-person household will require more than a 2 Gbps connection by 2030. 

But do you need it today?

What is multi-gig? 

Internet speeds are advertised and measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. Ookla reports average household speeds of 143 Mbps in the U.S. this past January. This is well below anything approaching gig status, yet still fast enough to support streaming, gaming, downloading, working from home, and so forth on multiple devices for most households. A gigabit per second is 1,000 Mbps, roughly seven times faster than the average tested household speed, and multi-gig plans boast speeds two, three, or five times faster than that

In short, multi-gig internet is the fastest residential internet service you can currently get.

For the vast majority of users, a gigabit internet connection (1 Gbps/1,000 Mbps) offers more than enough bandwidth to handle everyday online activities seamlessly. Streaming high-definition videos, online gaming, video conferencing, and browsing multiple websites simultaneously can all be accomplished with ease on a gigabit connection. In fact, you can have several devices connected and still experience fast and reliable internet speeds without any noticeable slowdown. 

Consumers who may be good candidates for more than 1 Gbps are usually ones who require a lot of bandwidth for large data uploads. Examples of such customers may include residential households with heavy internet usage, gamers and streamers, smart homes with dozens of connected devices, or work-from-homers who frequently transmit large data files.

The speed of progress 

Think about how quickly technology has evolved. When wireless technology was first introduced in 1997, few could have guessed that WiFi would commonly be used to control doorbells, refrigerators, even bathroom scales. While just a decade ago many consumers operated off a 5-25 Mbps connection, fiber technology has made connections ranging from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps the norm for most. 

According to a 2021 Deloitte survey, most U.S. homes have 25 connected devices. Take a moment to count the number of internet-enabled devices in your home. How many family members are in your household? Does each member own their own phone, tablet? When you start counting laptops, smart watches, doorbell cameras, keyless entry locks, gaming devices, even robo-vaccuums, the list adds up fast. 

With business and residential consumers requiring more bandwidth for their many internet-enabled devices every day, the need for multi-gig broadband connections is growing. 

Regarding devices 

Gigabit internet is excellent if your equipment can handle it. It allows for faster downloads and uploads, and activities like streaming, without being prone to endless spinning wheels of buffering. 

But can your devices handle more than a gig? Many smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even smart home devices are designed to work optimally with gigabit internet speeds. These devices typically have network interfaces that cap out at gigabit speeds, which means they cannot fully utilize multi-gig connections. Take an inventory of your current home devices, paying particular attention to the age of each device. A 10-year-old connected computer will slow your entire network down, even with multi-gig fiber. Take care, investing in multi-gigabit internet without compatible devices is excessive and impractical. 

Unlimited possibilities 

Multi-gig connections are about more than supporting the latest gadgets. Like any technology, the power of the internet lies with its users. Multi-gig connections provide simultaneous opportunities for remote work, online gaming, virtual learning, streaming content, video conferencing, and your dozens of other WiFi enabled devices to seamlessly operate online without buffering or lost connections.

Speeds as fast as 2, 5, and 10 Gbps may seem wholly unnecessary for most homes and businesses today, but the need is coming faster than you think. To learn more about Whidbey Telecom’s Multi-GiG service offerings, contact your friendly Customer Experience Team at 360-321-1122. They can help evaluate your needs, weighing usage and cost, to determine if Multi-GiG is right for you. 

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