I recently had the new Cox Gigablast (Gigabit) Internet installed. In this post I will explain the Gigablast install and review the performance of the service.
Gigablast is Cox cable’s name for its fiber optic Gigabit Internet service. Google started installing Gigabit fiber Internet a few years ago and other ISP’s such as Cox are following suite with their own fiber offerings to stay competitive in the residential Gigabit Internet market.
Cox recently dug up my neighborhood and pulled new multi-fiber cables and installed the necessary equipment to support their FTTH (Fiber to the home) expansion. Below are pictures of the new Fiber Optic termination enclosure which Cox buried flush with the ground. Inside the enclosure is the pictured fiber connection equipment which splits the multi strand fiber to the individual houses. These upgrades enable Cox to provide synchronous Gigabit Internet to residential homes and businesses in the area. Synchronous means that the upload and download speeds are the same, in this case 1 Gbps upload and 1 Gbps download speed. Most Internet service plans are asynchronous, with higher download speed and lower upload speed. My old Cox Internet plan was around 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. Many newer services such as online backups and cloud storage involve the uploading of multiple Gigabytes of data. The super fast upload speed of the fiber optic Gigablast Internet make these services much faster and more convenient to use than slower cable or DSL broadband Internet.
A few weeks ago I got an email from a Cox representative informing me that Gigablast Internet was available in my area. The email went on to offer me a terrific deal, if I would commit to a two year contract. The price was $50 cheaper per month and I would get the much faster Gigablast Internet service with free professional installation ($300 Value), a free fiber modem (ONT) and a free Netgear R6300 wireless ac Gigabit router. My previous Cox bundle also included premium two number phone service (I have a separate Fax #) and the 6 tuner, 2 Terabyte Contour DVR service plus three additional DVR client boxes. Cox threw in free HBO and a three year price lock guarantee to sweeten the deal. Since I had no intention of switching Internet providers in the next two years, it was a no brainer decision to upgrade to the Gigablast service. I also opted to upgrade my Contour service to the newer X1 Contour with voice remotes. Cox recently licensed the X1 technology from Comcast. Although this option cost me $10 more in monthly fees, it was well worth the money. The X1 interface and menu options with voice control is light years ahead of the old clunky Contour interface. It would take another review to fully describe the new Contour system, maybe later I’ll get around to it.
UPDATE: I got around to the New Cox Contour Review.
Here is a copy of the email I received from Cox:
Installation Date: June 14th between 8am – 12pm
Cox Communications would like to welcome you to the world of Gigablast Internet service!
Cox is unleashing Internet so powerful it will change how you connect with everything. It’s the technology of tomorrow at 100x the speed of today. Run all your devices at the same time & Download 100 tunes in 3 seconds, an HD movie in under a minute and more
Your current monthly service is $271.97
Your total estimated monthly service is $218
Includes Free Gigablast Installation & Modem/Router, Advanced TV HBO with New Contour 6 & Premier Phone Line
This comes with 24 month commitment & 3 Year Price Lock Guarantee.
Please click on the link below for Price Lock Guarantee and installation process.
(Cox Representative’s Name Removed)
My house is very close to the Cox distribution box, the fiber optic cable only needed to be pulled around 15 feet to reach my house. It was so easy, that the installer moved my installation date up by 2 weeks. Before the Cox installer came out, someone from Cox pre-installed the heavy sheathed fiber cable to the house. (See Pictures). When the installer arrived he mounted a box on the exterior of the house that serves as a fiber optic coupling to transition from the heavy underground cable to a more flexible fiber cable that is run to the location where your fiber modem, technically called a Optical Network Terminal or ONT, will be located. Special equipment is used to install the connectors on the fiber strands. Due to the technical skills and tools requires to properly install fiber, Gigablast must be professionally installed, there are no self install kits.
On my install the Cox technician had to redo one of the fiber connections because the optical signal wasn’t right. I had assumed the TV and phone would share the Gigablast fiber connection, however this is not the case. The TV and phone service is provided via your existing RG-6 coax. You still need your coaxial cable modem / VoIP interface for your Cox phone service if you have it. My network equipment is in the laundry room, so the technician routed the fiber through the attic and into my laundry. Then he wall mounted a Alcatel Lucent G-010G-A Optical Network Terminal (ONT) where the fiber terminates. He then disconnected the WAN connection to my router from the old DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and connected it to the new ONT. This needs to be a Gigabit rated Ethernet cable that connects the ONT to your router’s WAN or Internet port. CAT6 or possibly CAT5e Ethernet cables will support Gigabit network transfer rates. Your router also needs to have Gigabit Ethernet ports and support the newer wireless ac standard to fully utilize the available Internet bandwidth provided by Gigablast. Cox provided a free Netgear R6300 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Router with the deal. Since I already had a suitable Synology RT1900ac Router, I configured the Netgear R6300 as a Wireless Access Point (WAP) to extend my wireless range. After everything was connected, the technician called in so Cox could De-authorize my old cable modem and authorize the new fiber ONT.
The Gigablast speeds are incredible. On a Ethernet connected desktop, I got 943.31 Mb/s download and 951.56 Mb/s upload speeds. Ping time or latency was almost nonexistent at 2 ms. As with any network connections, your speed will vary depending on your equipment and conditions. Typically Ethernet connections are fairly stable, whereas wireless (WiFi) connections vary considerably depending on conditions and equipment. My Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone showed respectable 329.69 Mbps download and 377.36 Mbps upload speeds with a 4 ms ping on a 5 GHz WiFi connection to my Synology router. Even my 2.4 GHz ASUS Ultrabook gets over 100 Mbps Internet speeds for both uploads and downloads.
With the special Cox promotion, installing Gigablast was a easy decision for me. Even if there were no promotions, the Gigablast service has great value if you utilize a lot of monthly bandwidth, such as multiple streaming from sources such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. The data caps on Gigablast is currently 2 Terabytes per month, which is much higher than other Cox broadband Internet plans or competing ISP providers. I think the price for just the standalone Gigablast Internet without any additional Cox bundled services is around $100 per month. With additional bundled cox services it drops to around $70 a month.