Fiber Optic Service (FiOS) Explained

What is FiOS?

Fiber Optic Service, more commonly referred to as FiOS, is about as good as it gets when it comes to Internet service for your home or business.

Data is transmitted using pulses of infrared light over glass fiber from the provider's Central Office directly to your home or business. Unlike electrical wiring, light is not susceptible to Electromagnetic interference and this ensures very fast and reliable communications. Also, the connection is point-to-point so is not shared with other users thus guaranteeing consistent service at any time of the day or night. It also is symmetrical, meaning the uplink and downlink speeds are the same. In fact, FiOS is one of the few Internet services that offers symmetrical speeds and if you have video gamers in your home, they will be delighted by this.

FiOS setup

Speed and Pricing

Most FiOS providers offer different tiers of service. The lowest speeds tend to be 30 Mbps (Mega bits per second i.e. million digital bits per second) uplink and downlink and often cost less than $30 per month. Mid-tiers tend to be 100 Mbps up and down and cost around $50 per month. The highest speed tier is usually around 1 Gbps (i.e. 1000Mbps) and costs under $100 per month.

Other fees you may see on your bill are as follows:


FiOS installation involves placing an ONT (Optical Network Terminal) box at the side of your home or business, as shown in Figure 1 below. The ONT is responsible for converting the optical signal to and from an electrical signal. A CAT5/6 cable or a coaxial cable is then used inside the building and connects to a FiOS modem/router device (see Figures 2 and 3).

If you also have a landline phone service, a battery back-up module is required to ensure you always have power to make and receive calls (Figure 4).


Figure 1: Frontier FiOS ONT Box

Actiontec MI424WR

Figure 2: Frontier FiOS Router - the Actiontec MI424WR

Actiontec MI424WR Ports

Figure 3: Actiontec MI424WR Back

FiOS Back-up

Figure 4: Battery Back-Up System

Some Advantages and Disadvantages

We will now cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a fiber optic Internet service.

FiOS Advantages

FiOS Speed Test

Figure 5: FiOS Test

FiOS Disadvantages


FiOS is about as good as it gets for Internet service, offering fast speeds in both directions, reliability and service consistency. It is perfect for streaming videos, gaming, VoIP and has enough bandwidth for your entire household or business. The only downside is it's not available everywhere. We also recommend you read our FiOS vs Cable - Frontier vs Comcast comparison summary to see what is best for your needs if you have both options available to you.

Finally, if you have any questions or comments on your experience with FiOS, let us know using our comment form below.

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Frontier FiOS vs Comcast Internet Comparison


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