In my latest video I provide an update on the Comcast Gigabit Pro / x6 service I had installed here at the house back in 2020. Comcast quietly updated the service tier to a whopping 10 gigabits of symmetrical bandwidth!
This service, which I’ve been using for about two and a half years, is a “metro ethernet” fiber optic connection that has been steadily increasing in speed. Initially, it offered a 2 gigabits symmetrical, but it has since been increased to 3, 6, and now 10 gigabits per second.
The speed increases have been a response to competition in the area, with other providers offering similar performance tiers. Recently Frontier began selling a 5 gigabit symmetrical product, prompting Comcast to respond with their speed upgrade here.
But the full potential of this connection is difficult to realize due to hardware and peering limitations. The bandwidth provided is the amount available into Comcast’s network, but peering arrangements with other networks can limit the speed that can be achieved when connecting to different servers on the internet. For example my YouTube video uploads run at about the same speed they did when my service offered only two gigabits of service.
Local hardware limitations are another factor. A household that is mostly Wifi for example will never be able to take advantage of the 10 gigabit allocation. In my house the best I can muster is about a gigabit wirelessly when I’m in close to the access point. I also noticed that my Macbook Pro when docked through a single thunderbolt connection can only get about 4 gigabits upstream due to the bandwidth consumed by my two 4k 60hz monitors.
My Windows PCs also had a weird quirk where I could only max out at 6.6 gigabits per second. It turns out both had their third PCI Express slot running at only X2 speeds as the default BIOS setting was to share bandwidth with two SATA ports. Switching the slot to X4 and disabling those SATA ports opened the floodgates back up. You can see more in this Short.
Despite these limitations, the service has been incredibly reliable, a significant improvement over the previous coax service. The upload speed has been a game-changer, reducing video upload times from over an hour to about 45 seconds to a minute. This speed has allowed me to switch to 4K uploads and buys me a little more time to work on my videos ahead of my self-imposed deadlines.
Comcast’s Gigabit Pro / x6 service offers impressive speed and reliability at a very pricey $320 a month. While it may not fully reach the 10 gigabits per second due to hardware and peering limitations, it’s a significant improvement over their coax services and a testament to the benefits of competition in my area.