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What's the difference between 5 Gig, 5G, 10 Gig and 10G? Demystifying internet speeds

(BPT) - Understanding internet speed and networks can be confusing for the average consumer. Tech jargon makes it even more confusing, making it difficult for internet users to know the difference between 5 Gig and 5G. In fact, many people assume that these are interchangeable terms for the same technology when they are worlds apart.

Knowing the difference between these terms, as well as others like 10 Gig and 10G, can help you better understand the best internet for your home. Read on to learn what these mystifying terms mean and how to decide how much speed you need and what type of network is right for you.

What is 5 Gig?

Gig refers to gigabits, the unit of measure used to describe internet speeds. The higher the gigabits, the faster your internet speed. When looking through gig-speed internet plans, you may see the gigabit rate next to its megabit equivalent. For example, 1 gigabit is equal to 1,000 megabits per second. Simply put, the number of gigs describes how quickly these bits of information are transferred per second.

What is 5G

The G in 5G refers to the generation of wireless technology. You've probably come across this term when buying a cellphone, with 5G being the latest in wireless tech. 5G does not relate to internet speed at all beyond telling you that it's faster than previous wireless networks like 4G and 3G.

What can I do with Gig-speed internet?

With an internet speed of 1 Gig, you can download a 2-hour-long movie in less than 10 seconds. With 5 Gig internet, the download speed is even faster. However, more important is the symmetrical upload speed that fiber offers. Upload speed refers to how fast you send things to the internet, like your image and voice on a video call and - with cable - it's usually just a fraction of the download speed. When download and upload speeds are asymmetrical, like what's offered with cable, you may see your video freeze on a work call or your audio will cut in and out. Fiber-optic internet plans are symmetrical, meaning they always offer the same upload and download speeds, resulting in better performance with no lag or buffering.

Additionally, fiber technology allows for more bandwidth potential, allowing for more devices to be used at your home all at the same time, with less lag and home connectivity bottlenecking. Both fiber optic internet (which transmits data as light through hair-thin glass or plastic cables over long distances) and regular cable internet have Gig-speed internet plans. However, unlike cable internet, with fiber you get your own dedicated line installed at your home, meaning you're not sharing the bandwidth you're paying for with your neighbors, town or city. You'll have a more stable connection without competing with anyone else for speed or bandwidth. Having symmetrical fiber internet ensures that all your devices will function quickly and efficiently at faster speeds with less lag than cable can ever offer.

What about 10 Gig and 10G?

10 Gig internet is 10 times as fast as 1 Gig and has everything to do with speed and capacity. It is only available on fiber, not cable. Cable technology cannot provide this type of gig-speed. In April, Ziply Fiber launched a 10 Gig internet plan that is now available across its four-state footprint in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, making them the fastest home internet provider anywhere in the Northwest.

While the G is in the name, 10G is a new cable network. It doesn't refer to a generation of technology or internet speed. While 10G sounds promising, it won't be available for another two years.

Do I need gig-speed fiber optic internet?

You may be satisfied with your current internet plan, but upgrading to fiber internet is something you should keep in mind, given the rapidly evolving pace of technology. Not only are fiber networks more reliable, but they're also "future-proof," meaning that it's a technology paving the way to the future.

If you're interested in learning more about fiber internet and gig-speed internet plans, visit

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