What to expect from a fiber connection

Gigabit fiber broadband is impressive, but when you go to a pilot site and run a speed test, you might be surprised to see lower (yet still impressive) speeds.

Initial Wi-FI test at Lemonjello's
Test at Collective Idea after Wi-Fi tweaks

Wi-Fi is capable of gigabit speeds, but there are many factors that will determine your actual speed, including:

  • Distance from the access point

  • Equipment capabilities

  • Noise (other networks)
  • Number of people on the network

Here’s what you can do to improve your speed.

Distance from the access point

This one is easy. Move closer. In the Collective Idea office we initially saw a 100-300 Mbps drop when moving 20 feet from our Wi-Fi access point.

Equipment capabilities

Screen shot of Wi-FI menu

Not all devices can handle gigabit speed. Your Wi-Fi must be 802.11ac to get full speeds. Computers and phones also have different antenna configurations, which can limit your speed. 802.11ac came out in late 2011. The Wikipedia page has a list of capable devices.

Your device negotiates a speed with the access point. On a Mac, you can see your current negotiated speed by Option-clicking the Wi-Fi menu in the menu bar.

Finally, Wi-Fi networks broadcast at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You’ll get the highest speeds from the 5 GHz networks.

Noise (other networks)

We have many many Wi-Fi networks downtown and there’s only so many channels for Wi-Fi to use. It is best to keep nearby networks off the same channels, but as new networks come and go, this is a constant challenge.

This is another reason to pick a 5 GHz network: they’re less crowded.

Number of people on the network

As more people try to use the network, the speed allocated to each individual is less. This is easy to see with a speed test. Run one on your own, then run one the same time a friend does.

All the pilot sites are sharing a single gigabit connection (1,000 Mbps). A benefit of fiber, however, is that since downloads are quicker, you get out of the way of the next person quicker. So your speed test might not be the best, but you’ll be loading YouTube videos faster than you ever have.

Will I notice a speed difference?

I’m confident you will. Load YouTube and play a video, download a Software Update, host a video chat, or something equally bandwidth intensive. You’ll feel the difference immediately. If you’re a gamer, you’ll notice fiber provides the lowest latency possible. If you have anything to upload you’ll notice a huge difference.

Either way, let us know what you think! Drop us a note in the comments, email [email protected] or discuss on social media with #HollandFiber.


  1. Upload was fantastic at LJ’s on Saturday morning.

    brent rowe
    Brent Rowe
    January 31, 2016 at 4:25 AM
  2. When running speed tests the defaulted server you are given might not be the fastest. Try another server in a different city and state to compare.

    August 10, 2017 at 8:44 PM

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