10 Gbps fiber vs. the 10G platform: Wicked fast internet speeds are here, but do you need them?

Robin Layton

May 17, 2023 — 6 min read

Fiber won’t be the fastest option for internet speed for long as new tech speeds up.

family members gathered around computers

At a glance:

  • The 10G platform can produce faster-than-fiber speeds on current cable systems
  • Existing 10 Gbps fiber plans will be competing against this new tech

You might have heard talk of 10G internet and thought, “what happened to 6G, 7G, 8G and 9G?” Well, this 10G isn’t really what you think it is. It isn’t something new that is five times faster than the 5G service your phone or home internet runs on, and the 10G plans advertised by some cable internet providers aren’t exactly 10 times faster than the 1G plan you have now … yet. And then there are the 10 Gbps fiber plans to consider.

Confused? We’ll try to unravel this so you can make informed decisions when purchasing or upgrading your internet.

First, let’s explain the 10G platform. It’s a “combination of technologies that will deliver internet speeds 10 times faster than today’s networks,” explains 10gplatform.com. It provides “faster symmetrical speeds, but also lower latencies, enhanced reliability and better security in a scalable manner.”

This is basically fast internet that can run on existing cable systems. Mediacom and Comcast are two cable internet service providers jumping on this tech. It has the potential to be faster than fiber, without needing all the infrastructure updates like laying expensive fiber cables.

“Since this new 10G technology is delivered using Mediacom’s existing network architecture and the connections already installed at most customers’ homes, there is no digging up of yards to add bulky equipment or bury cables required,” reported Mediacom.

It is done by using the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS 4.0). This telecommunications standard allows high-bandwidth data transfers to go over an existing cable television system. 

10G platform will be an internet speed game changer

Comcast, Xfinity’s parent company, is one of the larger cable companies gambling that the 10G platform will be a true game disrupter that provides faster and less latent internet than fiber, which is still holding the gold standard of fast internet … for now.

Comcast launched the Xfinity 10G Network at the end of 2022, so you’ve probably seen ads for “200 Mbps internet with WiFi equipment on the Xfinity 10G Network — $25/mo for 2 years.” That doesn’t mean you will get 10G speeds just yet. With this plan, you’re getting 200 Mbps on what Comcast markets as their 10G Network, based on the 10G platform, using DOCSIS 4.0. Basically, it means you’ll see less latency and faster upload speeds that’ll lessen the time it takes to upload a video or large document.

The plan is to eventually have 10 gigabytes-per-second download and upload speeds available, but that will take a while to achieve on this cable-based system. 

“Comcast engineers tested symmetrical speeds over the connection and will continue trialing 10G technologies over the next several months in preparation for offering 10G-enabled services to customers in the second half of 2023,” reported the internet provider in a press release.

Mediacom rolled out their 10G version in February, “The scalability of the 10G Platform will seamlessly allow Mediacom to ramp up from the 1-gigabit offerings of today to speeds of 10 gigabits per second and beyond in the coming years,” according to the company’s press release.

Mediacom gave real plan examples of how it will enhance its existing speed tiers:

  • Internet 100 becomes Internet 100 Symmetrical as upload speeds receive a 10x increase from 10 megabits per second (Mbps) to 100 Mbps
  • Internet 300 upload speeds gain a 5x speed boost from 20 Mbps to 100 Mbps
  • Internet 600 upload speeds get over a 3x speed boost from 30 Mbps to 100 Mbps
  • Internet 1 Gig upload speeds double from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps
  • New Internet 1 Gig Symmetrical tier introduced with speeds of 1000 Mbps down by 1000 Mbps up

There haven’t been any significant changes in pricing structures, but it should be expected as new technologies cost ISPs to implement and those costs are often passed onto the consumers.

The near future: 10G platform will shine in entertainment, business and more 

There are many areas outside of the home where faster-than-fiber internet will help advance work and research. Your local ISPs will eventually be offering these 10G platform plans. 

Just to name a few places where this growing platform will take the world…

  • Artificial intelligence is a current buzz phrase worldwide, but it’s also a technology that’s growth is dependent on ultra-fast internet connectivity, from robotics to chatbots.
  • Sports fans will love being part of the game, almost literally. According to The Internet & Television Association, “at a game, fans will be able to see things from the athletes’ perspectives, utilizing wearable technology to bring them closer to the action.”
  • Educational benefits are boundless. With increased speed availability, classrooms could see robot assistants, synthetic tutors and 3D screens bringing history and science into the room as never before.
  • In the healthcare field, “wearables and smart sensors will enable proactive, invisible in-home care, while rural hospitals will connect to high-quality care via robots and holograms,” according to 10gplatform.com.  

10 gig fiber plans are available now, not to be confused with the 10G platform

Internet service providers (ISPs) like Ziply Fiber advertise symmetrical 2, 5, 8 and 10 Gig plans on a fiber connection. This means your speeds are the same downloading and uploading. 

Fiber is reliant on cables that contain extremely thin strands of glass. At about one-tenth as thick as a strand of human hair, a cable may contain just a couple of these strands or several hundred of them. The strands of glass allow for data transmission via light.

Fiber is mainly available in metro areas because it’s easy to serve thousands of connections that exist in a big city footprint rather than installing hundreds of miles of cables across a rural area. It’s also the most expensive option for a company to provide, with a deep infrastructure required.

With a fiber plan, you typically will see higher pricing than cable but less latency.

ISPs like AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Frontier, Mediacom, Optimum and Verizon offer residential fiber Wi-Fi connections in select areas, with speeds from 300 Mbps to 5,000 Mbps. 

Do you need a 10-gig fiber plan at home?

Fast internet speed is great when you are powering your smart home, working and video conferencing from your home office while your teens are playing some heavy online games, but beyond 1G or 2G plans, do you really need 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps home plans? 

Starting at $120/mo. and going beyond $400/mo., the financial commitment to speeds over 5 gigs is a serious one to consider.

First, determine what speed you really need. Fiber plans like Frontier’s 1G for $69.99/mo. or its 2G for $99/mo. are good deals if you have a totally connected smart home with five or more users. That level of speed and the fiber connectivity will keep everything running without notable latency or lag. 

Making the jump into 5G to 10G speed tiers that are available from providers like Ziply, Frontier, AT&T, Optimum and others can make sense if you stream in 8K with several users simultaneously, create and upload video frequently or require Static IPv6 and IPv4 addresses, which can allow you to host multiple servers. 

With a 10 gig fiber plan, “You could download a 4K movie in less than 30 seconds or you could stream around 1,700 movies simultaneously,” says Utopia Fiber.

High-speed equipment required for multi-gig plans

Keep in mind that just an average router won’t help you reach the symmetrical download and upload speeds of high multi-gig plans. Even 2G and 5G plans require routers that can handle those speeds. It won’t benefit you to use a sub-$100 router like the NETGEAR 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router which won’t reach 3+ Gbps speeds. 

Ziply Fiber’s 10 Gig plan, for example, tells consumers that “speeds shown are for wired connections and require 10 Gig capable equipment.” 

10 Gig routers can run from $300 to over $1,000. The ASUS AX6000 WiFi (RT-AX89X) or similar device is recommended by Ziply. You can also lease these devices through most multi-gig internet providers.

Wrapping up

It’s ultimately up to you to pick the internet speed plan that best suits your home’s needs. With this new tech making use of current cable infrastructure, expect upload speeds to increase and latency to decrease in more cable provider plans. It will also become available faster than fiber may hit your neighborhood. 

Read more industry news from Allconnect.

Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. She built her internet industry expertise writing and editing for four years on the site, as well as on Allconnect’s sister site MYMOVE.com. … Read more

Joe Supan

Edited by:

Joe Supan

Principal Writer, Broadband Content

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