Here's How to Install a Fiber-Optic Modem for Internet

When looking for an internet connection for your home, you might have come across the term fiber internet or Gigabit internet. Fiber internet is the fastest internet connection type available today. It uses fiber-optic cables to transmit data. Since the data transfer occurs through light pulses, fiber cables can carry large amounts of data quickly. Typically you get speeds of around 1 Gbps with a fiber internet connection.

Hand with tablet

It is important to note that most Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) across the world use fiber-optic trunk lines to connect with each other. However, when you get a standard cable internet connection, your service provider will run a traditional coaxial cable from the local IXP to your house. In the case of fiber internet, this last run will be of fiber-optic cable. As such, if you are getting a fiber internet connection, it essentially means that the final connection between your house and IXP is also using fiber. This last-mile fiber ensures high-speed connectivity.

Read on to find out how to install fiber internet and the equipment required. Also, learn about the top fiber internet providers in the country and their installation processes.

Fiber-optic internet equipment

Fiber internet cable

What does it do?

A fiber-optic cable utilizes small glass fibers to transmit data using light pulses. It connects your home with a nearby optical distribution box to access the internet.

How is it installed?

If a fiber network is not available in your home, you will have to run new cable lines from the distribution box to your home. You can run these lines either along the existing phone poles or underground.

Fiber-optic modem

What does it do?

A fiber-optic modem or Optical Network Termination (ONT) modem receives incoming optical signals over fiber-optic cables and converts them to digital signals that your digital devices can understand.

How is it installed? 

Usually, a technician from your service provider will install the fiber modem on the side of your house, or possibly in a garage or basement to serve as a connection point for fiber-optic cable.

Fiber router

What does it do?

Just like the fiber modem, the job of the fiber-compatible router is to keep up with the speeds provided by fiber-optic cables. These high-speed optical routers manage internet traffic between all your connected devices either wirelessly or via LAN channels.

How is it installed?

An Ethernet cable connects a fiber router to the modem or ONT. One end of the Ethernet cable goes into the back of the modem, while the other end goes into the WAN port available on the fiber router.

ProviderType of internetSpeedsStarting package price
AT&T logoHigh-Speed Internet1 - 1,000 MBPS$49.99/mo for 12 monthsView deals
Frontier logoFiber & DSL50 - 940 MBPS$29.99/mo for monthsView deals
Spectrum logoCable internet100 - 940 MBPS$44.99/mo for 12 months
Verizon logoDSL & Fios Internet5 - 1,000 MBPS$39.99/mo for monthsView deals
Xfinity logoCable Internet15 - 2,000 MBPS$29.99/mo for 12 monthsView deals

Fiber optic internet installation for top providers

AT&T Fiber

AT&T has a variety of fiber internet plans and bundles that you can choose from depending on your online lifestyle. However, all the fiber plans have the same price of $49.99 per month (this may be a promotional price that is subject to change,) which is affordable compared to many other fiber internet providers in the country. 

There is an installation fee of $99 for a technician visit and an activation fee of $35 for DIY installation, but you get a free WiFi gateway (modem-and-router combo) when you sign up. 

Frontier FiOS

Frontier FiOS offers high-speed fiber-optic internet plans with no contract and no data caps. You can choose from download speeds ranging between 50 Mbps and 940 Mbps. For new customers, Frontier does not charge anything for installation by a professional. 

For DIYers, there is a self-installation guide available on the Frontier website. Moreover, there is no need for you to lease or buy equipment as you will get a free WiFi gateway with most plans.

Spectrum

With coverage in 41 states, Spectrum is another popular choice for fiber internet connection. Spectrum fiber plans vary between 30 Mbps and 940 Mbps with no data caps or yearly contracts. 

Similar to other providers, you can either self-install the internet service for a small fee of $9.99 or pay $199.99 for a professional installation. All Spectrum internet plans come with a free WiFi gateway.

Verizon Fios

Verizon Fios provides the usual benefits that come with fiber connectivity: speed, reliability and quality support. Fios internet plans range between 200 Mbps and 940 Mbps with no data caps.

You can either self-install Fios internet or request professional installation. For self-install, Verizon will mail you the equipment. Rent the equipment or purchase it, depending on your budget. Follow step-by-step instructions to connect your home to the internet by signing in to your Fios account.

The professional installation comes with a one time fee of $99, and a Verizon technician will handle everything from installation of the Optical Network Terminal to router and WiFi network setup.

Xfinity

With download speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps, Xfinity is one of the fastest fiber internet service providers in the country. However, except for the 2,000 Mbps plan, all other plans come with a data cap of 1 TB. With Xfinity, you also get access to over 18 million hotspots spread nation-wide.

You can activate Xfinity fiber internet service through a self-install kit for $15 or get professional installation for a one-time fee of up to $70 depending on the plan you choose. While Xfinity offers a WiFi gateway for $14 per month, you also have the option to use your own modem and router if compatible with the provider.

Bottom line

Fiber internet connection offers the fastest internet speeds of all other internet connection types today. With speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps, you can enjoy high-speed internet across multiple devices without any glitches. However, fiber internet differs in technology compared to DSL and cable internet. As such, its installation is also different. Knowing the installation procedure and the equipment required will give you a clear idea of what’s involved and any additional expenses that you may incur.

In your area

Call now to learn more about internet deals. If you're ready to secure high-speed internet services, then visit ISP.com. Simply enter your zip code to find high-speed internet near you. If you have questions, then we're available to take your calls.

 in you area image

Frequently Asked Questions

Get a fiber internet connection, which is currently the fastest option and can deliver lightning-fast speeds of up 2,000 Mbps.

In fiber-optics, data transmission between two devices occurs through light particles that travel through small glass wires about the diameter of a human hair. These light signals are decoded to present information.

A fiber-optic Ethernet cable consists of thin wires made up of glass. A protective tube conceals these wires to protect them from the outside environment. The purpose of a fiber optic Ethernet cable is to connect two physical devices such as your router and a computer and enable high-speed data transmission between them.