The Seattle-metro area has many different common types of internet service, here’s a rundown of the common services and their advantages and disadvantages:
Fiber is the holy grail of internet services because of the incredible reliability and scalability. What’s difficult is unlike copper services, not all buildings have fiber availability. A “build” can be assessed to deliver fiber but often comes at a higher cost than fiber in a lit building. Bottom line, if you can get it and need the speed, this is the way to go.
Ethernet Over Copper (EoC)
EoC is the new T1 – symmetric bandwidth over normal copper lines currently 3-100Mb. EoC is a great alternative to fiber but also isn’t available everywhere due to being distance sensitive.
Microwave is a point to point wireless service, generally in the same speed class as EoC and fiber. Availability relies on line of sight to their towers and ability to place equipment on your roof.
Coax is better known as cable internet, cable delivers huge bang for the buck, but also unlike the previous services doesn’t carry a strong SLA (service level agreement). We’ve run into reliability and performance issues in dense areas (downtown) otherwise we’ve had good success with coax. Availability depends on coax being at your building or nearby, many commercial buildings aren’t covered.
FTTN/VDSL2 is Fiber to the Node, so fiber usually run somewhere on your block then VDSL2 (a high speed short range DSL) to your building. Currently speeds run up to 40Mb at highly affordable prices. The availability issue comes down to your local node being upgraded, which is still a minority at this point – but growing.
Satellite internet has surprisingly good speeds (15 down, 4 up) and availability anywhere with the proper exposure to reach the satellite – making it a great choice for hard to service locations. Satellite makes a great failover connection since it has a diverse path – issues like floods, backhoes and the like won’t affect your satellite.