CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — In recent years, fiber optic connectivity has outpaced wireless and other types of broadband to establish itself as the gold standard of high-speed internet. The “internet people” at InfoWest are working to bring this technology to homes and businesses across Southern Utah.
The future of internet
Along with blazing speed, fiber internet provides unparalleled stability, InfoWest Chief Technical Officer Cassidy B. Larson said.
The maximum bandwidth available to InfoWest fiber customers today is one gigabit per second. But as technology continues to evolve, Larson said because the infrastructure has already been created, upgrading the network will be as easy as swapping out the lasers on each side of the connection to enable 10 gigabits per second and beyond.
“One little strand has unlimited potential,” he said. “When we put fiber in the ground, it’s a long-term investment that’s going to get us the capacity that the future requires for high-speed data transmissions.”
In Southern Utah, InfoWest currently offers fiber connectivity for Washington County businesses, as well as select residential communities in the St. George and Cedar City areas.
“We’re expanding our footprint and putting fiber in the ground as quick as we can,” Larson said.
Not all fiber is created equal
Harnessing the full potential of a fiber connection requires multiple pathways. InfoWest can use as many as four fiber routes connecting to Salt Lake City and multiple locations in California.
However, Larson said most local internet providers only provide one or two. This creates a speed bottleneck that he compares to expanding Interstate 15 to eight lanes of traffic between the Bloomington and Hurricane exits, while keeping only four lanes north and south of those exits.
“With InfoWest, we have multiple eight-lane freeways coming in and out of the area through different paths,” he said. “Once they get the big ‘highway’ to their house, they’re able to use that all the way out to the internet.”
InfoWest further enhances the fiber experience for residential customers with managed router solutions. Managed routers have all the bells and whistles, Larson said, including gigabit capability, dual-band connectivity and Voice over Internet Protocol ports.
Customers can install the InfoWest Wi-Fi management app on their smartphones to track data usage and limit kids’ access to the internet. InfoWest monitors the router remotely, automatically providing security updates as they become available.
Five tips for getting the most out of fiber
- Go wired: Larson recommends using a gigabit-capable cable to connect the primary computer on a network to the router for optimal speed and stability.
- Get the right router: Fiber requires a router capable of handling at least one gigabit per second of bandwidth. More pedestrian routers equipped for a maximum of 100 megabits per second will bottleneck the connection, Larson said.
- Stay vigilant: Once any device on a network becomes infected with a virus, that virus will inconspicuously eat up the network’s data capacity over time, Larson said. With a managed router from InfoWest, customers are able to monitor what’s going in and out of their network and watch for suspicious activity.
- Uninstall the extras: Many people install seemingly helpful and convenient plug-ins on their web browsers. However, Larson cautions that most of these add-ons just slow down the browsing experience and are an easy way for spyware to sneak into a computer.
- Optimize the wireless setup: With InfoWest’s managed router solutions, a technician will identify the location within a building where the router will be able to provide the strongest signal, Larson said, as well as the best Wi-Fi channels to broadcast on.
Career opportunities at InfoWest
National Techies Day on Oct. 3 celebrated students considering a career in the technology industry, and Larson said Southern Utahns seeking tech opportunities need look no further than InfoWest.
Technicians receive a variety of hands-on training at InfoWest to provide the solutions needed to keep customers connected 24/7. They may troubleshoot a fiber connection over the phone, answer questions about email face-to-face or address a billing concern via email. Larson said many past employees have been recruited to build and service networks by larger telecommunications companies, corporations and the military.
InfoWest is currently hiring support technicians and field technicians to serve the Cedar City and St. George areas. A list of all career opportunities can be found on the InfoWest website.
“We’re always looking for good talent,” Larson said. “We have a great team of technology-based individuals who have been in the industry almost 30 years. A student looking to jump-start their career or supplement their knowledge can’t get anywhere better in Southern Utah.”
InfoWest’s entire team of more than 80 employees is locally based, which Larson said is a source of pride for the company’s founders, who are also natives of St. George.
“We know a lot of our customers by name and face, and they know us because we live in the communities we serve,” he said. “We’re not some corporation from back east trying to send you a bill – it’s somebody down the road.”
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- InfoWest | Telephone: 866-463-6937 | Website.
- St. George: 435 E. Tabernacle St.
- Cedar City: 360 W. 200 North.
- Cedar City: 755 S. Main St., Suite 5.
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