High-speed internet service has secured its status as a necessary residential utility. That doesn't mean every question has been answered. While fiber internet has become a popular delivery choice for apartment owners, less is known about the technology that's surging through those connections.

This has implications both for today and well into the future, notes Chris Hunt, senior manager of product management at Quantum Fiber and an expert in fiber internet technologies. He offers a crash course in the essential technologies delivering internet service.


GPON and XGS-PON are the two most common terms owners need to learn when vetting internet service providers "ISPs". Variations of a Passive Optical Network (PON), are the primary vehicles to deliver fiber internet to an apartment unit or home. According to Hunt, GPON has been a fast and reliable service for the last decade—offering service of up to 940 Mbps—while XGS-PON is the next generation of internet speed. Operating on a different wavelength than GPON, XGS-PON can provide speeds of up to 3 Gbps and up to 8 Gbps, accelerating the speed to a mere 1 minute to 40 seconds for an estimated download time of a 100-gigabyte video game (with 8 Gbps service).

"To put it into perspective, the speed of up to 3 Gbps XGS-PON is 15 times faster and up to 8 Gbps XGS-PON is 40 times faster than the average advertised download speeds in the United States*," says Hunt. Quantum Fiber has been working on the technology for the last two years, and views it as essential to meet customers' speed and bandwidth demands today and well into the future.

Though XGS-PON is still emerging, it is quickly becoming the new speed standard for fiber internet, and it is the minimum speed that apartment owners should target when selecting their ISP.

Owners should also consider upgrading WiFi modems and routers alongside speed, Hunt adds. WiFi 7 pairs with XGS-PON to deliver better coverage than WiFi 6 with less than three seconds of latency. For apartment owners, this is essential for interior units as well as WiFi-activated common spaces.

"Though our WiFi 7 modem is backwards compatible, residents will have the best experience if their smart-devices can operate at these high speeds," explains Hunt. "With XGS-PON and WiFi 7, we've simply brought more parity between wired and wireless speed so that when you plug in, you can get multi-gig speeds over WiFi."

Investing in Speed and Flexibility

Internet speed can have a significant impact on leasing velocity and renter attrition. Today, residents not only prefer but need higher internet speeds to accommodate normal internet functions, which can include streaming 4K movies, gaming, or even remote work.

Apartment units need to provide the infrastructure that meets the needs of the average resident—and Hunt notes that demand is only expanding. By 2030, the number of connected devices in the average household will likely grow from 15 to 40. Other innovations like 8K streaming are right around the corner.

"Bandwidth demands won't stabilize, but will continue to soar," says Hunt. Multifamily owners should be securing access to XGS-PON-level speeds to meet the emerging bandwidth requirements of renters. With XGS-PON and WiFi 7 coverage, owners can futureproof the property to help them remain ahead of the competition in attracting and retaining residents.

For more insights and thought leadership from Quantum Fiber, click here.

*Based on the weighted average advertised U.S. data connection download speed of participating Internet Service Providers of 193.9 Mbps. FCC Measuring Fixed Broadband Eleventh Report, December 2021.

Quantum Fiber service is not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber may change or cancel products and services or substitute similar products and services at its sole discretion without notice.


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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.