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The journey to Gigabit Internet in the Philippines

The last time I wrote about Internet connectivity at home was in 2006. It was a much simpler world, albeit with more complex nuances when it came to rigging up your house with WiFi. It was a world where the origins of coffee shops as co-working spaces began, as free WiFi was the dangling carrot for people to spend hours being productive while sipping a grande latte. 

Never been so giddy to look at … a WiFi router. This is the new WiFi 7 tech from ACER and it’s quite something to see a boring mesh router carrying the name of a top gaming brand.

A decade and a half later, we’re at a new turning point. 100 or even 200Mbps home connections on Fiber are not new: they’re the norm. But we’re actually looking forward to the era of Gigabit Internet, with speeds 100 times faster than a typical home plan today.

A Gigabit Internet home connection paired with strategically placed mesh WiFi systems is the canvas of the new smart home. And they’re coming.

All I need is some time to totally reconfigure my home from Google to TP-Link. These WiFi 6 units are beasts!

Mesh systems as the foundations of smart homes

Mesh systems are the talk of the town. They act like WiFi extenders but have barely any signal loss. These are primarily used to cover wide areas. As an example, in my home I cover about 200 square meters of space (two floors of 100 square meters each). The main modem + Google WiFi puck is located in my man cave (aka “home office”) by the front of the house. I have two other pucks strategically located in the living room and in the master’s bedroom on the second floor. Things changed in 2021 when I had to take care of my mom’s Internet needs (she lives right beside us in a compound-like setting). She kept complaining about her Internet provider always being down (she was on wonky cable Internet) so I had the line canceled. I took it as a challenge to try to spread my mesh system across a total of 600-900 square meters, which included her garden. Surprisingly all it took were two additional Google WiFi pucks. This is the current system I have, and I manage two household mesh systems on Google Home for my mom’s peace of mind. This is, by far, the best configuration that I’ve built: a 900 square meter mesh system using 5 access points with a 200Mbps connection. But times have changed. Let me tell you why.

It’s come to the point when I can feel that my 200Mbps home connection is screaming its limits. That’s because, among other things, I have been slowly building up my collection of smart home devices through the years.

The time has come for Gigabit Internet

I have a lot going on at home. On the security front I have two sets of wireless + wired security cameras. I have motion detectors on my windows. I manage a total of 4 robot vacuums. I have a bunch of WiZ smart bulbs and a JBL speaker that turn on at 6PM to jazz music. My espresso machine turns on at 6AM to heat up, so when I get home from taking the kids to school, I can pull shots.  Now that my kids are bigger, they have their own laptops and desktops for school work, Zoom calls, and gaming with friends.

As I am also involved in game development in Web3, I join a lot of Discord AMA’s, X Spaces, and other online guestings in the evenings. Being “doxxed” (a term used in Web3 to reveal your real-world identity), I usually have the camera turned on in HD so there are times when I notice some degredation in quality in the replays if there are too many things going on simultaneously with the home Internet.

When my co-founders release new game builds (sometimes within hours), I have to download every single version of the game on Epic, Mac, iOS, and Android to test as I’m often the one communicating the changelog to the community. If you compound this, it really takes up a lot of time. It has come to the point where my seemingly limitless Fiber connection is reaching its breaking point because my needs as a digital citizen has changed. I have come to admit that 95% of my core business and livelihood is online and my needs have truly changed. I am managing the smart home setup for four people and that is quite an escalation.

The people who read my work fall into two categories: early adopters who want first-hand information about new tech and hyphenates — those that juggle between multiple roles. They’re mostly those that have been reading my work for the past twenty years. So when I talk about the new Gigabit Fiber plans of PLDT Home, we can expect Fiber to the Home optical routers with WiFi mesh devices to support up to 10 Gbps speeds. I think these new Gigabit-speed plans are great for those who have growing households — in terms of number of digital natives consuming more streaming media and also in terms of the number of IoT appliances regularly connecting to to your home WiFi. Speaking of media consumption, the new Gigabit Fiber plans of PLDT Home also come with subscriptions to IPTV and global streaming apps, and security services for personal devices at home.