Fiber, Satellite, or 5G Internet for Residential Users


Remember when you had to stop talking on the landline so you could use the internet? Dial-up internet was responsible for many family quarrels. Now, we can choose between fiber, satellite, and 5G internet—and connect with multiple devices at any time.

Internet connections have come so far!

Far enough that most residential users have questions about what the best option is. We’ve gotten this question many times from our residential clients in Jesup, Iowa, so let’s explore it here and find out if fiber internet is a better choice than satellite or 5G internet. 

Fiber Internet 101

Fiber internet has been used since the 1970s but mostly to link local computers to each other. It wasn’t until the 1990s that fiber connections started becoming available at large scale for residential and commercial users.

The discovery of optic cable is what allowed the mass adoption of the internet. Fiber cables can transmit enormous amounts of data at vast distances and with incredible speed — all of which traditional copper cables couldn’t handle very well. And since fiber cables are buried in the ground or underwater, your internet works come rain or shine. 

Using light signals that travel along glass fibers, these cables provide users with an average bandwidth of 250 to 1000 Mbps (1 Gig). If these numbers mean nothing to you, just remember that these are the highest upload and download speeds any technology can provide today.

Are there downsides to fiber internet? Of course, every technology has them.

The biggest drawback is the high cost of installations. Running the fiber cables through the ground is fairly expensive and time-consuming, and most internet companies don’t bother to do it in areas of sparse population.

This is why fiber internet is rarely accessible in remote or rural areas, at least for now. But at Heartland Technology, we’ve invested in the community’s infrastructure to offer residential and business customers the best, most reliable service. 

Satellite Internet 101

The first satellite designed for two-way broadband communication, aka the first internet-ready satellite, was launched in 2003. It happened more than 20 years ago and it still feels a bit surreal to get internet from a satellite orbiting the Earth, doesn’t it?

Satellite internet works in a similar way to cellphone calls: the signal travels from the transmitter dish located on top of your house to space. Once there, it’s processed by the satellite and sent back to your receiver.

Every time you do anything on the internet, this long journey to outer space takes place. As Sci-Fi as this may sound, it’s not a very reliable (or fast) way to transmit data.

It works fairly well for phone calls because those are less taxing on the system and they require less bandwidth. Internet traffic, on the other hand, is much more complex and requires more bandwidth, especially given the ever-increasing sizes of applications today.

With satellite internet, you can expect an average bandwidth of 25 to 150 Mbps for downloads and slower uploads. Yes, much lower speeds than with fiber internet. Another drawback of satellite internet is the fact that it is weather-dependent. During bouts of bad weather, you could experience downtime or an even slower connection. 

5G Home Internet 101

5G home internet, the latest evolution in wireless technology, has quickly become a viable option for residential internet access since its rollout in the late 2010s. As the fifth generation of mobile networks, 5G offers significant improvements over its predecessors in terms of speed, latency, and connectivity.

Unlike fiber internet, which relies on physical cables, 5G home internet uses wireless signals transmitted through cellular towers. This means that setting up 5G internet doesn’t require digging trenches or laying cables, making it much more accessible in areas where installing fiber would be impractical or too costly.

5G technology provides moderate download and upload speeds, with users typically experiencing bandwidths ranging from 50 to 200 Mbps—if they have access.

One of the main drawbacks of 5G internet is coverage. While urban and suburban areas are increasingly well-served by 5G networks, rural regions still struggle with availability. The high-frequency signals used by 5G can also be easily obstructed by buildings, trees, and even weather conditions, potentially affecting signal strength and reliability.

Additionally, while the initial setup cost for consumers is relatively low, the infrastructure investment required to build a comprehensive 5G network is substantial. This can impact the speed at which 5G services are rolled out, especially in less densely populated areas.

Should You Choose Fiber, Satellite, or 5G Internet?

This answer is as straightforward as it gets: if you have access to fiber internet (i.e., if there is fiber infrastructure in your area), opt for that. Fiber internet is faster and more reliable than satellite or 5G internet.

For remote or sparsely populated areas without access to fiber connectivity, satellite or 5G internet might be the best choice. While it is slower, it can be the only way to get an internet connection. However, with more and more areas getting access to fiber internet, the satellite option will be used less in the near future.

Looking for Fiber Internet Connections in Jesup, Iowa?

Then you’re in the right place! At Heartland Technology, we provide residential users in Jesup, Iowa, with fairly priced, high-speed, ultra-reliable fiber internet connection.

Since we know every home has different needs and different devices, we have five plans to fit the needs of all of our customers. We don’t require long-term contracts, so you can switch your internet speed at any time. Have family coming into town? Bump your speed for a few weeks to ensure the best user experience. 
Read more about our fiber internet service here or get in touch with us if you have any questions.