How Google Fiber Works

Some of us are old enough to recollect a time when everyone on the Internet used it through a dial-up connection. Your computer connected to a modem that noisily calls the phone number of an ISP(Internet Service Provider) to allow you connect at 56 kilobits per second, if you were quite fortunate to have a faster modem. Web pages load slowly onto pc screens.Pictures usually use a lot of time to fully show up. Software usually take hours to fully download. If you do not have a dedicated phone line, you would tie up the line, and the connection may trigger off if someone calls the phone line. We used  more of text than other bandwidth-hungry media out of need.

Recently Internet connection speeds have increased tremendously from the use of broadband connections using technologies like cable and DSL (Digital Subscriber Lines) and 4G or LTE

According to the FCC's standards, the new goal is for all household to have access to broadband with a minimum speed of 4 megabits per second (Mbps) download  and 1 Mbps upload. Although nearly 30 percent of U.S. households are reportedly still connecting at near dial-up speeds, many of us have resorted to faster broadband Internet connections. Speeds above the 4 Mbps minimum goal are gradually becoming readily available and cheaper.

With higher broadband speeds, we easily stream music and videos, multiplay video games, have video chats with friends, upload pictures to social media sites and view all manners of media on the web faster than ever. There are sometimes drawbacks, for instance when a video refuses to load and buffers or it takes sometime to view a web page. But for the greater part,some people are very lucky to have the average broadband speeds that can stream movies and surf the Internet to our satisfaction.

There are some breezily faster Internet services available that focus on bringing speeds in gigabits per second -- or at least 1 gigabit per second,around 1,000 Mbps. One of such is Google Fiber, which was unveiled rolled in Kansas City in 2012, and has been gradually making in-roads to other cities.

Google claims that,Google Fiber is up to 100 times faster than the average U.S. broadband speed. At such high speeds, things use hours or minutes to download will only use seconds and a lot of tasks can easily be done faster.

The super-fast speeds are not the only ones around.Google also offers slower speeds,similar to the FCC broadband basic,free of charge for seven years to users within the Google Fiber areas (after a construction fee). Free, or not, high-speed Internet could the light for a lot of people presently stuck with pre-broadband speeds.

Google Fiber Network Infrastructure

Presently, nearly all consumers connect to the Internet through their phone or cable providers. Nearly all of these providers transmit data into homes using electrical signals in copper cable with several other networks bringing us data and telephone communications employs numerous type of wiring,in-addition to fiber optics. Fiber optic cables transmit data more quickly than copper over long distance,employing pulses of light through glass (or plastic) strands.
Fiber optics have been used for telecommunication networks since the 1970s, but the so-called "last mile" branching from service lines into consumer homes are usually made of copper wiring.Telephone firms usually use twisted pair copper cable (like old phone lines) to offer DSL, and cable firms employ the same coaxial cable to deliver cable TV. Nearly all homes in the U.S. are already fitted with one of these and fiber links to the home is not common. But Google is looking to change this by laying thousands of miles of fiber cabling to create last-mile fiber networks.

Google Fiber networks include several basic components, although the actual design will likely vary by city. A fiber ring around the city feeds fiber into a fiber hut. Here the fiber lines are fitted to devices that accept and transmit data from users' homes to the Internet back and forth. From the hut, lines of fiber branch into numerous directions into telecom cabinets in cities , where the lines are further split into little bundles that link to cluster of homes.The fiber cables either runs above-ground on new or older utility poles, or underground within conduit tubes,through cities,where individual tubes of fiber optic cable lead directly to homes,just the way phone and cable lines are now.

Google Fiber Hardware in the Home

After the fiber optic cable is connected to your home,Google will hook it up to a port beside a fiber jack, also known as an Optical network terminal (ONT), which will be attached to a wall plate and mounted to an external wall. The fiber jack is powered, Ethernet ports and a status LED (light emitting diode). This jack converts the fiber optic light signals to gigabit Ethernet signals and directs them to a network box (provided by Google) through Ethernet cable.

The network box is a 7.5 by 7.5 by 1.6 inch (19 by 19 by 4 centimeter) high-speed router that allows your devices to hook onto the Internet. It comes with four gigabit Ethernet ports on the back for hooking up your computer and other devices via Ethernet cable, as well as the Ethernet WAN (wide area network) port for connecting to the fiber jack. A reset button and power connector are provided on the rear of the box.The network box comes with built-in 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi and gives access up to 16 devices to hook up wirelessly,so allowing a higher number of devices hook up at once will greatly reduce performance.

You can connect any device to the network that conforms with IPv4 or IPv5 through Ethernet or WiFi.The box comes with four LEDs; the different colors and display (solid, blinking or fluttering) condition can reveal to you different states about network status. The network box comes pre-fitted with a gigabit firewall for protection against online intrusion.
An optional/additional service is Google Fiber TV. If you choose TV, you will be given a storage box with a Google Fiber TV box. The storage box dimension is 7.5 by 8 by 1.7 inch (19 by 20 by 4.3 centimeter) DVR (digital video recorder) for storing tv shows or movies to watch later. It comes with a coaxial port, a USB port, an Ethernet port and a power connector and a reset button.One box will serve all your TV boxes.

The storage box is connected to your network box via Ethernet cable and is made to stay beneath it. In nearly all cases, the DVR connects directly to your TV Box via a coaxial cable wiring in your walls through the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) networking standard, it also be connected via Ethernet in certain conditions.The coaxial cabling may already exist from previous cable TV service or just put in place by Google during Google Fiber installation.
The TV box is a set-top box with dimensions of 6.8 by 5.3 by 1.3 inches (17.3 by 13.5 by 3.3 centimeters). You will require one for every TV you want to connect to Google Fiber TV. Google gives you one,you can order more. The TV box is hooked to a coaxial cable from the wall through a coaxial port on the rear of the box. This links it to the storage box. The back of the box also comes with an Ethernet port for hooking up devices like gaming consoles, eventhough connecting to the TV box only gives a speed of 100 Mbps. In rare situations,the Ethernet port can be used for connecting the box to the fiber network.
Other ports on the rear includes the S/PDIF, AV out,the HDMI out,the HDMI in (currently not supported) and a power connector. An infrared (IR) extender port (in case you need to hook up an IR extender so remote control signals can reach the box), an IR receiver and LED status lights are fitted in-front of the TV box, along with an unsupported USB port. A WiFi access point is fitted into each TV box and can be enabled to increase the WiFi coverage within and around your house.

In their Kansas City roll-out ,every household were given a Google Nexus 7 tablet (tablet computer) to use as a remote control. As at mid-2014,Google Fiber comes with a standard remote control instead,the Google Fiber app can be downloaded and used on mobile devices running the Android Jelly Bean operating system or higher, and iPads running iOS 6.0 or higher. The standard remote can be used in either IR or Bluetooth mode. With IR, you can use it to control your TV box and your TV set.

You can check, setup and control these devices from your My Fiber account on the web. You can also setup the network box using the Network Box Advanced interface to alter the more advanced networking settings.
As for terms of service, Google owns the network interface unit outside that hooks up your home unto the Google Fiber network,with the fiber jack and network box within your house. All other equipment that Google gives you is owned by you.They retain the right to do automatic software upgrade to all Google Fiber equipment. All the hardware parts are open source, and their source code can be downloaded from Google.

What does Google Fiber TV includes

You can get TV service together with Google Fiber, allowing you another choice besides cable or satellite. Google Fiber TV comes with more than 150 high-definition (HD) channels, some are standard definition (SD) channels and optional premiums such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, STARZ and sports channels. Local broadcast channels are also included.

The TV box is a set-top box that gives you access to channels. You can use your remote control to prop up a guide,which is quite similar to a common cable TV guide. You can view or search for content, check on information about latest and future programs, and choose the ones you want to watch. You can also view on-demand content, rent movies and setup programs to store into the storage box.
Google Fiber TV also comes with several other built-in apps ,such as:
Netflix,Vudu,YouTube and Weather.

The Netflix and Vudu apps need subscriptions to access their services. Netflix comes with Super HD content that can be accessed using Google Fiber. Ranging from the Apps & More menu, you can also view your personal photos, music and video files.

At the beginning HBO, ESPN, Comedy Central and Disney were not included in the service, but were later added (HBO and some other premium services are included as optional paid extras). As at August 2014, Google Fiber subscribers who pay for HBO cannot view HBO GO-an online service that allows people to view HBO content away from their TVs. An agreement may be reached to include it in the nearest future.

Google Fiber also offer a service known as TV Everywhere (TVE) that permits you to view shows from some channels on a pc or mobile device when you are not at home. You can view the following TVE channels if you have subscribed to Google Fiber TV and other necessary subscriptions,such as:
NBC Olympics TVE,Showtime Anytime (requires paid subscription),STARZ Play (requires paid subscription),Watch ABC,Watch ABC Family,Watch Disney
Watch ESPN and Watch Longhorn.

The DVR that accompanies Google Fiber stores up to 2 terabytes (TB) of data, which roughly equals to around 500 hours of high-definition programs. It can even record multiple shows at the same time,to around eight at a time. Several DVRs and TV services are able record a show at a time, and their hard drives stores less data. In-addition Google's storage box also lets you store personal files, such as photos, music and home videos, which you can watch or play from any of your connected TVs through the apps menu. With regard to audio files, you can also play them through audio equipment hooked to the TV box or TV, but the remote will not be able to control those audio devices.
After downloading the Google Fiber mobile app onto a compatible mobile device, it can serve as a remote, to check through shows and movies without interrupting what is currently playing, to time and manage DVR recordings and to share to social media.

Google Fiber Real Speed

Google is claims to offer you broadband Internet, for upload and download, at speeds ,up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). And boast that its Google Fiber service is 100 times faster than common broadband speeds, that an Internet research firm -Akamai found to be 9.8 Mbps in the U.S. in their third quarter 2013 "State of the Internet" report. Akamai's estimate has moved up a bit to 10.5 Mbps in its Q1 2014 report. One Gbps places Google Fiber near the 100-times mark, but do users actually get that speed.

The answer is no. But you can obtain the highest speed available. One gigabit is the highest limit,which is not the same as what you can get on a daily, and several factors can reduce it speed. Ookla Speedtest estimated Google Fiber's average speeds for the 30 days ending on July 20, 2014 to be around 235.67 Mbps download and 223.31 Mbps upload,using data from users' experiences ,employing their speed test service.

There are factors that can negatively skew the numbers, such as people using WiFi (slower than connecting to a network via Ethernet), or maybe some users were testing from the slower free service. Google has created its own speed test that can precisely measure its ultra-fast fiber services.

One user,by name Mike Demarais, tested and posted his speeds data,immediately after the rollout in Kansas City. He was connecting from the "Home for Hackers," a house specially bought to give a temporary rent-free housing and high-speed Internet to potential start-up entrepreneurs in an area where Google Fiber was made available. Demarais reported constantly obtaining  600 to 700 Mbps speeds through Ethernet and 200 Mbps through WiFi. And at a Google Fiber Space showroom in Kansas City, at least one tester obtain speeds of over 900 Mbps. So people may be reaching the peak, but higher speeds are possible.

What Else May Slow Down Google Fiber

There are several other things that can slow down your connection down apart connecting through WiFi. Your pc's network interface card(NIC) also matters. Fast Ethernet (or 10baseTx) cards can only connect at 100 Mbps,but Gigabit Ethernet (or GigE or 1000BASE-T) cards are needed to connect at 1 Gbps. Some latest laptops, particularly certain netbooks, are not fitted with Ethernet cards or connectors, but you may be able to connect a Gigabit Ethernet adapter using the USB port. 

To obtain gigabit speeds, it must be connected to a USB3 port. The Ethernet cable itself is also important. Cat5e cable is able to transmit at 1 Gbps and Cat6 transmits at 10 Gbps, but Cat5 only 100 Mbps.

Other things that can affect your download and upload speed are the age of your computer or device and its hardware, the connecting device's configuration, the operating system, the web browser you're using, whether you have other applications running and whether another device that plays video (including your Google TV box) is running or even just connected and turned on. Video (including Google Fiber TV) takes priority over data, and data gets to use whatever bandwidth is left over. All devices on your home network will also be sharing the bandwidth, so having multiple devices running might slow down your connection a bit, especially if any of them are streaming video.

Certain sites (and areas within the network between your computer and the sites you visit) will not be loading at 1 Gbps, which affects the speed with which you can upload and download data. Any network overload taking place between you and your requested data may also slow down. Certain websites cannot display data as fast as Google Fiber can request it. Netflix's servers, for instance,only process streaming HD video at 5 Mbps. Google is collaborating with certain major content providers,together with Netflix, to let them connect directly to Google's network, and in certain situations ,they even allow these providers place their servers within Google's Fiber facilities (co-locating) to make sure transfer of content to users is delivered quickly than never before.

Google does not implement a data cap policy or adjust users' speeds according to usage like certain providers do, but the firm says,it can scale down users' connections in times of extremely high network congestion in a manner fair to users.

With  all the possible things that may bring down your Google Fiber gigabit service speed, it will always be faster than nearly all of its broadband competitors. Google also provide services offering a scaled down 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload ,that is comparable to the broadband offerings of cable and phone service providers.

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