If you want wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) in your home, then you need a router. The reason you need a router is because your modem is only designed to communicate with your Internet service provider (ISP) not the wireless devices in your home. The router is what takes the data from your modem, translates it into a Wi-Fi signal that your devices will understand and distributes that signal throughout your home.
That’s all good for your ISP’s standard package Wi-Fi connection. But if you are looking to have fiber Internet installed in your home, or already have it, then you can’t get any old router. You will need a router specifically designed to support fiber. Here’s what you need to know:
A fiber router, or fiber optic router, is a router that is specifically equipped to support fiber Internet. Fiber offers a super fast Internet connection and does so by sending pulses of infrared light through an optical fiber cable. A fiber optic router is able to get all of the fiber optic speed through to your network, whereas a non-fiber router isn’t equipped for that. If you have fiber Internet installed in your home, you need a good wireless router to support it.
Fiber Internet & ONT
Typically, when you purchase a fiber optic Internet plan, your ISP will install their own modem and router that you rent from them. The fiber optic modem from your ISP is often referred to as an Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which means that it transforms the optical signal received from your ISP and provides an Ethernet port to plug into your fiber optic router.
The ONT acts like a modem but is specific to fiber. The way that it connects and works with the fiber router might sound similar to a cable modem router or gateway, but it is different.
ONT vs Cable Modem Router
A cable modem router (sometimes called a gateway) is different than ONT in few ways. For one, a cable modem router is a single device. An ONT and fiber router connection is made up of two separate devices.
Second, a cable modem router works with coaxial cabling that exists in your home already, so no additional cable installation. An ONT must connect with a fiber router, and also requires you to have fiber cabling installed in your home.
Why would you choose a fiber router?
The best reason to choose a fiber router is if you have already had fiber installed in your home. That’s the only reason you would choose a fiber router. And, you would need a fiber-specific modem (ONT) to go with it. While fiber Internet is high-speed Internet, the overall installation is pricey and not for everyone.
However, you can still get fast and reliable Internet with a non-fiber modem and router. The type of devices that you choose comes down to your Internet setup, your situation, and your preferences. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to it, there’s just always a better solution for the situation you are in.