My business is moving to a new location and this calls for new internet service. I am comparing quotes for both fiber optic and coax services from local internet service providers. While researching, I am finding conflicting opinions in regards to speed comparisons. A sales rep has told me that 10mbps DL over fibre is equivalent to 100 mbps DL over cable. That sounds odd to me though. Isn't bandwidth bandwidth regardless of delivery media. I am fine with the QOS on cable and don't doubt fiber wins in that regard. I simply want to compare the speed. Other than mbps, should I be considering other factors? Thank you, stackexchange community!

  • 6
    Consider the source when taking network advice from a salesman.
    – Ron Maupin
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:27
  • 2
    That's like saying a pound of bricks is heavier than a pound of feathers. 10 Mbps is 10 Mbps. Besides the numbers, there's reliability and customer service and that's about it. Sep 18, 2015 at 19:35
  • 2
    @ToddWilcox, I know someone who, to this day, insists that a pound of bricks is heavier than a pound of feathers. Not someone I associate with very much.
    – Ron Maupin
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:44
  • 1
    There could also be a difference in how the two carriers oversubscribe their bandwidth. Just because they are offering a service of 100 Mbps (often stated as "up to X"), doesn't mean you will get 100 Mbps at all times (or even often). The same is true for the 10 Mbps connection. Maybe there is a difference in reliability between the two. As always, the devil is always in the details of what the contract says the service is providing.
    – YLearn
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:56
  • thanks, guys! i feel silly for asking now but had to make sure.
    – ubuntu4all
    Sep 21, 2015 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


The sales guy might have meant the latency advantage. Although the capacity (diameter of a tap/pipe for example) is the same, fiber may be able to carry traffic quicker and therefore perform better (water speed in the pipe).

  • 1
    Excellent point, latency should not be confused with bandwidth, nor vice-versa. Sep 18, 2015 at 19:56
  • 2
    The latency difference is real but in practice for "normal" users, it is irrelevant.
    – Dan Pritts
    Sep 18, 2015 at 20:23
  • With TCP connections you have a Bandwidth Delay Product calculation which will limit your potential maximum throughput at default MTU and window size. This is totally dependent on the end to end latency of the connection.That said the last mile hand-off as fiber or RG6 cable is a complete non-factor in this or any other meaningful equation. I would probably look for a carrier that wasn't trying to feed me full of blatant misinformation.
    – Daniel
    Sep 28, 2015 at 3:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.