The Singapore broadband market for consumers has evolved quickly in recent years: today most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) here offer 10Gbps home broadband plans at increasingly competitive prices, such as MyRepublic’s 10Gbps at $59/mth offer.
10Gbps fibre broadband seems incredibly fast, but how fast is it exactly? And how can consumers get the most out of a 10Gbps connection?
From shopping online and reading e-news to streaming movies, to name a few, the internet has become an integral part of our lives. Despite its advancement, internet technology can still be plagued with issues. This article will share some of the most common home internet problems that people may face, as well as some solutions to solve these issues.
How Fast is a 10Gbps Internet Connection?
Simply put, 10Gbps is ten times the speed of a 1Gbps broadband connection: a jump in performance several times over. How fast is 1Gbps then?
1Gbps is also known as a gigabit or Gb/s. This translates to 1,000Mbps or 1,000 megabits per second. This number indicates the maximum download speed achievable with your internet connection.
Notably, this refers to a gigabit not a gigabyte or GB. That capitalisation is important! When dealing with data storage, you’ll often come across files or storage capacity defined by how much GB or MB (megabyte) they are in terms of size. A bit is a smaller unit compared to a byte: eight bits make up one byte.
So 1Gbps is not 1GB/s but 125MB/s, which makes 10Gbps equivalent to 1.25GB/s.
In terms of numbers and performance, that’s really fast. For example, depending on video compression, a high quality 4K movie can be 10-20GB in file size. Downloading it on a truly 10Gbps connection means getting it in a matter of seconds, not minutes. You could build a massive library of 4K movies in a couple of hours, with more time spent choosing the movies you want than downloading them.
8K quality video is also available today so if you’re a passionate videophile with a 8K-compatible screen, 10Gbps is the kind of connectivity you’ll need to move these even bigger video files.
There’s also the latest generation of AAA PC games that can reach 100GB and larger in size (even more if you include 4K texture packs). An actual 10Gbps connection would get one downloaded in the time it takes to make a coffee (which you might need if you’ll be up all night or day gaming).
10Gbps of bandwidth may not be something you’ll need constantly but during time-sensitive windows (like if you need to urgently download and install a 50GB backup file) it truly shines.
How to Get 10Gbps Fibre Broadband Speeds
While any consumer can sign up for a 10Gbps home broadband service in Singapore (and it’s becoming increasingly affordable to do so), if you want to make the most of a 10Gbps connection, you’ll need to invest in your home internet setup to make sure it can also deliver 10Gbps to you.
Having your ISP deliver 10Gbps internet access to your modem (also known locally as the ONT or Optical Network Terminal) is one thing, getting that level of connectivity to your personal computer is another matter. All it takes is a single bottleneck in your home network to limit your speed.
Let’s go through the various things in your home setup to take note of when optimising for a 10Gbps connection.
Have a Router that Supports 10Gbps
Your modem typically connects to your router, the networking device that manages how the devices in your home connect to the internet. Many home routers (i.e. wireless routers) enable WiFi access as well but if you want to reach the highest speeds, we want to connect directly via an Ethernet cable (see our next point for why).
To reach close to 10Gbps download speeds, your router hardware needs to be powerful enough to handle this level of data traffic. Only a selection of top-tier consumer routers have this kind of processing power so an upgrade may be in order.
What ports a router has (that’s the openings where you plug cables in) is one indicator of how 10Gbps-ready it is. To get more than 1Gbps throughput, your router needs 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 10GbE ports, not the 1 gigabit or 1Gbps ports that are more common for consumer routers.
If you’ve signed up for a 10Gbps or multi-gig broadband plan, your internet service provider may already provide a suitably powerful WiFi router with 10GbE ports.
If you can’t get a 10 Gigabit Ethernet router, there are also WiFi routers that come with 2.5Gbps ports, which as the name implies, support up to 2.5Gbps data transfer rates. These won’t maximise the bandwidth of a 10Gbps connection but 2.5Gbps is nothing to sneeze at.
Use a Wired Cable Connection
If you want speeds close to 10Gbps, present WiFi technology–even the latest WiFi 6E standards–isn’t your best bet. While 10Gbps is the theoretical maximum bandwidth of WiFi 6E, real-life testing of home routers shows maximum speeds averaging 1.7Gbps.
This will likely change one day with the next generation of WiFi 7 devices but for now a wired Ethernet connection from your router to your computer is the only way to getting anywhere close to 10Gbps throughput.
Powerline adapters aren’t ideal compared to a cable connection either: they may be able to provide faster speeds than WiFi for some home setups but they won’t be as reliable or as fast as an Ethernet connection as the powerlines in your home aren’t optimised for transmitting data.
That said, if you’re going from a standard 1Gbps connection to a 10Gbps one, and are using a latest-generation WiFi 6E router, your wireless speeds will likely improve as your top WiFi speeds can now go beyond 1Gbps.
Use Ethernet Cables of Cat6 or Better
The kind of Ethernet cables you have can impact your connectivity speeds. Ethernet cables come in different categories and you’ll need to use one of at least Cat6 quality to properly support 10Gbps data transmission speeds.
Each Ethernet cable category generally shows its performance potential and the level of shielding it has to prevent crosstalk. Crosstalk or data leakage happens when several cables are bundled tightly in an area, which can happen if you’re running multiple lines of cable across a property.
Cat6, for example, is an evolution and improvement from Cat5 and so on. The best kind of Ethernet cable you can get these days is Cat8 but all iterations Cat6 and later can handle 10Gbps speeds. That said, Cat7 is a bit of an unreliable category as it’s not recognised by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), which means there’s no uniform industry-wide standard.
Do note that if you have a Cat6 cable that it can only reliably transmit 10Gbps at a maximum distance of 55 metres or 33 metres if the potential for crosstalk is high.
In comparison, Cat6A can transmit 10Gbps at twice the distance and reduces the loss from crosstalk. So if your home covers a large area or many floors, Cat6A is a better bet. While Cat8 can achieve up to 40Gbps speeds, over longer distances it’s on par with Cat 6A and would be more expensive to install for that same length.
Have a Computer that Can Handle 10Gbps
Your router isn’t the only machine that needs to have the processing power to make the most out of 10Gbps: there’s the personal computer (PC) you’re using. For starters, it needs a 10GbE port as well, which means getting a Network Interface Card (NIC), also known as a Local Area Network (LAN) adapter, that can support up to 10Gbps speeds.
There are other hardware components inside your PC that need to be powerful enough as well, given that they all work together, such as your PC’s motherboard and Central Processing Unit (CPU).
For your motherboard, check that it supports 10GbE LAN and for your CPU, you’re going to need one with at least an Intel® Core™ i7-7600 Processor or equivalent and 8+GB RAM.
Additionally, you’ll need a Solid-State Drive (SSD) to write and store the data you’re downloading on your 10Gbps connection.
While traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) and SSDs perform the same function, SSDs can read and write much faster: HDDs typically reach write speeds of 160MB/s while the fastest type of SSDs, the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) M.2 format, can offer speeds of 5,000-7,000MB per second.
If you recall, a 10Gbps connection is equivalent to 1.25GB or 1,250MB per second, so that’s more than enough speed to match.
In other words, to take full advantage of 10Gbps broadband, it’s best to use PCs or desktop computers: Smaller wireless devices such as tablets and mobile phones may not have the level of processing power needed. That said, these portable devices may still benefit from a 10Gbps connection boosting WiFi speeds.
What Can I Use 10Gbps For?
Not only are 10Gbps broadband plans readily available for Singapore consumers today, it’s very possible to achieve speeds of about 8Gbps, assuming you’ve got the right hardware and software to take full advantage of that impressive bandwidth.
So should you get 10Gbps? And what could you use a 10Gbps connection for?
Create and Share (High Quality) Content
Such a hyper-fast connection is ideal for video professionals, videophiles, content creators, editors or streamers who often deal with raw video footage regularly. These video files are usually massive: we’re talking terabytes (that’s thousands of GB) of data.
If you fall into this category, a 10Gbps connection would be an immediate boost to your productivity and greatly accelerate production time: Transferring your files should no longer take half a day or more! The same goes for photographers who deal with large raw image files and work with remote teams.
Maybe you’re not so much a content creator but a content enthusiast like a movie or TV buff who runs their own media server or collects a lot of shows. Having a 10Gbps line would definitely help with downloading and uploading your media files, especially if you prefer 4K+ quality video.
And as mentioned above, the quality of video is only set to improve with 8K resolution set to become the new premium standard. Considering 8K files are generally four times the size of 4K files, scaling up your internet bandwidth to 10Gbps doesn’t seem too unreasonable!
Likewise, if you’re someone who collects a lot of photos or music or digital art, with 10Gbps broadband it’d be easier to upload your precious data to your storage service or device.
Cloud Storage and Collaboration
Cloud storage has become increasingly popular over the years, with apps like Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud a part of many people’s digital lives. No longer do we need to rely on our own physical harddrives for storage or worry about them failing and losing our data.
The main bottleneck when it comes to cloud networking is the speed of sharing i.e. how fast one can sync data from the cloud to your personal computer. Having 10Gbps of bandwidth brings cloud storage and collaboration to a new level: you’d be able to open huge files from the cloud in seconds or back up your computer in minutes.
For context, a 10Gbps connection is the same data transfer rate using a USB 3.2 Gen 2 drive. Your broadband could be as fast as the latest generations of USB drives.
10Gbps would be especially useful if you’re someone who regularly works from home and uses cloud services to sync and access all your work related data.
Game Downloads and Cloud Gaming
As mentioned earlier in this article, the size of many AAA video games today are already over 100GB (the latest Call of Duty games are over 200GB) and video game file sizes are only set to increase as games take advantage of more detailed and complex textures as well as high-res video and audio.
A 10Gbps connection provides all the bandwidth you’d need to get the latest, most spectacular-looking games quickly downloaded and installed.
If game installation sizes or hardware requirements are getting too much for you, cloud gaming (or game streaming) is an increasingly popular and viable option. The latest Nvidia GeForce Now Ultimate service is already capable of supporting 4K resolution gaming at 120 fps (frames per second) and it’s only a matter of time for cloud gaming’s performance and offerings to improve.
Just like other cloud networking technologies, cloud gaming is reliant on the speed of your broadband connection to stream the game to your setup. While GeForce Now now recommends a minimum of 45Mbps consistently for 4K cloud gaming, we expect demand for internet bandwidth to increase significantly once 4K at a higher fps is enabled or as graphical effects become more complex.
Smart Devices and Connected Homes
Beyond smartphones and tablets, internet-connected smart devices in the home (such as smart TVs, speakers, refrigerators, cameras, lights, power plugs, doorbells, home security systems, etc.) are increasingly popular. Today, for example, the average U.S. household has 20.2 connected devices and that will only grow over time.
Plus, with advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), smart home products are only becoming smarter, giving us more reasons to use them. For example, smarter power systems can learn your energy consumption patterns and optimise energy usage. Smart vacuums can navigate your house automatically to clean your floors effectively. AI-powered cameras can also keep an eye specifically on your pet dog, even snapping a photo if it looks at the camera.
While a smart digital assistant or speaker won’t use a lot of data by itself, smart cameras, smart TVs, and smart set-top boxes that encourage video consumption can and all these devices do add up in terms of bandwidth use.
From 2021 to 2022, the average amount of data downloaded every month by US homes increased by 21.5% while Japan homes increased their data consumption by 44.7% over the same period. At this rate, it seems we could all eventually use 10Gbps broadband to match our increasingly connected lifestyles.
10Gbps is after all essentially a faster internet connection for everything we can use it for. It wasn’t too long ago that some people wondered whether 1Gbps was overkill. Expectations have quickly evolved with the many meaningful and complex ways we stay connected digitally.