Speeding Up Reno's Internet
Faster internet is on the horizon. We take a look at what's available in Reno-Sparks, and when we'll finally get the super fast speeds found in other cities.
Retired teacher Jim Rishel just made a change at his home in west Reno, getting on to one of the internet's fast lanes. You should see how fast his pages load now. He left DSL and went to broadband. We did a speed test on his service, and he now clocks in at 50 megabits (mbps) per second. As he told us, "Well it’s like going from a tricycle to a sports car. I mean there's hardly any way to describe it, it’s so fast."
Reno is finally catching up with some of the super high speeds we've heard about in places like San Francisco and Salt Lake City…cities with fiber internet and gigabit speeds. Reno's fastest residential speed is around 100 megabits per second. Barry Sherwood of Great Basin Internet Services told us, "Gigabit leapfrogs that above and beyond." Do we have it here yet? "You can certainly get it if you're a business."
But homes in the Truckee Meadows aren't ready yet. Sherwood told us, "The technology going to homes is still copper-based, whether it's coaxial cable or copper phone lines. There are limitations on how much data can be pushed over those types of media." Eventually investments will be made, and homes upgraded with fiber. Sherwood says, "I would think gigabit speeds will be here within 5 to 10 years."
And when it gets here, will it be worth the higher cost? That depends on what you do online. If it's just Facebooking and emailing and some YouTube videos, the superfast juice may not worth the extra squeeze. Netflix recommends a speed of 5 megabits per second for streaming HD video, or 25mbps to stream sharper 4k shows. Play video games online? You need at least 3mbps for downloads, though faster speeds look better. And if you don't have many devices on all at once where you live, you should be happy with a good 25mbps connection.
In Reno, that's a pretty standard speed now. Sherwood says, "If you're watching a high-definition movie on a Roku device, say Netflix, you really only need 3 megabits per second, you don't need 25."
Jim could get by with that, but as his wife told us…he likes his toys. Like the hard wired Ethernet, his beast of a router and his streaming video security system. Even at his age, he loves staying up to date. As he puts it, "It's something that keeps my mind very active because it's constantly changing." Changing…for the better.
To check your internet service and speed options, here’s a link where you can see what's available where you live. You just enter your zip code.