Here’s The Reasons Why You Don’t Need 8Gbps Fiber Internet In Your Home

Bell is in the midst of launching 8Gbps up/down Internet service which is starting in Toronto and then branching out from there. While this sounds cool, you don’t really need Internet service that is this fast. In fact, you don’t need anything faster than 500 Mbps Internet service in your home. That’s because of the following reasons:

  • Your computer likely can’t leverage this speed – Part 1: Most computers have an Ethernet port that does a maximum of 1Gbps. Some have a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port. Very, very few have a 10 Gbps Ethernet port. What does that mean for you? Well chances are you’re in one of the first two camps. Which means that you won’t get anywhere near maxing out this 8 Gbps connection on a single computer because you simply can’t utilize all of that speed.
  • Your computer likely can’t leverage this speed – Part 2: If you have the fastest WiFi standard on your computer and router which is WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E, the fastest speed you’re likely to see in the real world is just around a gigabit a second if you’re sitting right next to your router. Chances are you’re going to be six to twelve feet away from it which means that you’ll see half that speed. Maybe. So just like the previous point, you still won’t get anywhere near maxing out this 8 Gbps connection on a single computer.
  • Fun Fact – Not many services can leverage a connection above 1 Gbps: Services like Dropbox, iCloud, YouTube or anything of that sort really can’t fully leverage a 1 Gbps connection. Never mind an 8 Gbps connection. Don’t believe me. I encourage you to find someone who has a 1 Gbps or second connection and upload something that is 100 MB or more to a Dropbox account and see how fast it takes. Then find someone who has a 500 Mbps connection to the Internet and do the same thing with the same size file and time that. You’re not going to find much, if any difference between the two.
  • If you’re trying to pwn n00bs online, speed doesn’t help you: Beating people in Call Of Duty Warzone isn’t about speed, it’s about your ping times and jitter where lower is better as that will allow you to react faster to someone lurking in the shadows attempting to blow you to bits. And as I noted when I reviewed Bell’s 1.5 Gbps tier, those times were insanely low and didn’t change all that much regardless of what speed tier of Bell’s Fibe service I tested. Meaning that you will be able to pwn n00bz just as well at 100 Mbps as you would at 8 Gbps.

So who exactly is this service for? Good question. Here’s a scenario that I came up with that could leverage this speed.

If you’re say a content creator and you’re working with video that’s encoded in ProRes format which is known to make huge file sizes in the order of hundreds of gigabytes, and you had to move the video from your Mac Studio with a 10 Gbps Ethernet port connected to a Bell Fibe modem like the HH4000 which has a 10 Gbps Ethernet port, and the modem has Bell’s 8 Gbps service switched on, and this video is going to a remote server that also has 8 Gbps Internet service (or faster) and also has a 10 Gbps Ethernet card in it and is plugged into a 10 Gbps backbone, it would literally fly across the Internet very, very quickly. As in within a few minutes.

Now let’s unpack what I just said above. For this all to work, you need:

  • Bell’s 8 Gbps service
  • Bell’s HH4000 with a 10 Gbps Ethernet port
  • 10 Gbps Ethernet cards at both ends of the connection
  • A backbone at the remote end that supports 10 Gbps
  • An Internet connection at the remote end that has 8 Gbps service (or faster)

In other words, a lot of stars have to align to make this work at 8 Gbps. But in the here and now 10 Gbps cards for PC’s and Macs are not cheap to say the least and are not standard equipment on either platform. And most business backbones are still on Gigabit. And business Internet connections are rarely as fast as 8 Gbps. Bottom line: 8 Gbps service in your home might be useful someday. But today’s not that day. And it won’t be for a while.

Now if you’re asking me what my thoughts are about what Internet speed you should get. This is how I see it:

  • The average household really doesn’t need anything more than Bell’s 500 Mbps down and up Internet service. I’m basing that on a couple of things. Netflix does just fine in 4K with a 15 Mbps connection according to this. And video calls from Teams and Zoom aren’t all that much different. And playing video games like Call Of Duty Warzone aren’t much different than Teams or Zoom. So even with multiple people online streaming, gaming and video calling, it is highly unlikely that you will max out this connection.
  • 1 Gbps down / 750 Mbps service from Bell is overkill based on the above.
  • 1.5 Gbps down / 940 Mbps service from Bell which is what I have, is beyond overkill based on the above. So why do I have an Internet connection that is beyond overkill? Because Bell offered me an offer that made it cheaper to get than the 1 Gbps Internet service that I actually wanted. Thus who am I to refuse? And to some degree I fell into Bell’s trap which I will explain what I mean by that in a moment.
  • 3 Gbps up and down is just insane levels of overkill.
  • 8 Gbps up and down is just ludicrous levels of overkill.

So given all of that, why does Bell offer such a connection? My best guess is that they want to be known as offering the fastest Internet connections around just for the marketing win against Telus and Rogers. The latter more than the former in my opinion. So in other words, to use a phrase that millennials use these days, it’s a flex for Bell. But there’s another reason. Profit. Bell pays next to nothing for bandwidth. And they know that 98% of customers will never max out their Internet connections. So if they push customers to faster tiers via their aggressive pricing which has a $10 to $20 jump between tiers to make it attractive to go faster than what you need, and Bell’s insanely aggressive customer service reps push you even further to get more services, Bell wins because they extract more money from your pocket while their cost of goods (bandwidth) doesn’t really change all that much, if at all. So in my case, I got encouraged to move to a higher tier because they could give me a greater discount on home phone, the Fibe TV app, and Internet. And I went for it and fell into this trap. Though I will note that it’s still significantly cheaper than what I was paying with Rogers.

My advice is that you should stick to Bell’s 500 Mbps tier, or less, as you’re never going to max out that connection, and save some money in the process. Now I’m willing to hear alternative opinions on this. Thus feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

5 Responses to “Here’s The Reasons Why You Don’t Need 8Gbps Fiber Internet In Your Home”

  1. Aint nothing wrong with overkill brother.

  2. […] whether you need these speeds or not is a completely different discussion. Which you can read here. But Bell clearly has delivered on something that they have announced unlike Rogers who simply […]

  3. Derek Snider Says:

    Definitely in agreement, despite the fact that I ended up getting Fibe 3Gbps out of the sheer ecstasy of the fact that fibre Internet was available to me after 13 years of suffering through terrible rural wireless offerings (Rogers Rockethub, Xplornet, etc), and I wanted the fastest Internet available to me. It didn’t click until after signing up that even 1.5Gbps was overkill, and I would have to upgrade all my networking equipment to take advantage of higher speeds, and even then, most of the Internet would be throttling me for years to come.

    I am curious, however, to the setup and experiences of those who actually signed up for 8Gbps (I know I would have if it had been available and offered to me at the time).

    • I would love to know that as well. Leveraging 8 Gbps with consumer level gear isn’t easy or cheap. Thus I have to wonder if they are getting their money’s worth.

  4. […] currently in. Which is that they aren’t competitive. Now do you need those sorts of speeds? I’ve argued that you don’t, but that’s not the point because it is great marketing for Bell that they’re faster […]

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