Internet speeds of a service provider aren’t easy to measure. The speed you experience depends on the local network architecture, the number of homes being served in your service group, the number of people online at any given time, and a myriad of other factors.
The speeds advertised for different plans are only the maximum speeds that the ISP will allow. For instance, a 500 Mbps max speed means the ISP will cap your speed at 500 Mbps. Actual speeds can be anything lower than the advertised speed.
To determine how fast Cox Internet is, we looked at data from Ookla Speedtest. Here we share our findings to give you an idea of the speeds you can expect. We also look at some of the recent updates to Cox’s network that have increased average speeds for subscribers. How fast is Cox Internet? Keep reading to find out!
Cox Internet Ookla Speedtest Comparison
Ookla is the company behind Speedtest.net, the most popular internet speed test service in the world. Ookla uses Speedtest data to provide insight into the performance of various internet service providers.
According to Ookla’s market analysis of 2023 Q2, Cox is the second fastest internet provider countrywide with a median download speed of 241.78 Mbps, which is only 1.24 Mbps slower than Spectrum’s median download speed. Cox’s median upload speed is 20.63 which is much higher than Spectrum’s 13.79 Mbps median upload speed.
It is tricky to measure the latency of an ISP as it depends on many factors such as the location of the user, the location of the server they’re trying to connect to, time of the day, etc. Ookla measures ping between the user and different servers to calculate Multi Servier Latency, the latency a user should expect when the network isn’t under heavy load.
Cox Internet has an average Multi-Server Latency of 25 ms, which is as low as gamers can wish for. Xfinity also has a Multi-Server Latency of 25 ms, but Spectrum lags at 31 ms.
Ookla measures reliability in terms of Consistency, which is the percentage of results that showed at least 25 Mbps upload speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity are the most reliable Internet Providers in the US according to Ookla with Consistency scores of 91.3%, 91.8%, and 91.5% respectively.
Cox is more reliable where it’s provided via an FTTP connection. But its FTTN internet is also reliable enough even for heavy internet users. Cox Customer Service and Cox en Español Customer Service can tell you more.
Technologies behind Cox Internet
Fiber is the fastest and most reliable means of data transfer today. It uses light traveling through transparent fibers of glass or plastic as the medium for data transfer.
How It Works
Fiber-optic internet works through a fascinating process involving light, reflection, and refraction:
Light Transmission: Data is converted into digital signals, typically in the form of binary code (0s and 1s). These signals are then sent as beams of laser or LED-generated light into the optical fibers.
Total Internal Reflection: Inside the fiber-optic cable, the light undergoes multiple reflections due to the principle of total internal reflection. This keeps the light confined within the core of the fiber, preventing signal loss.
Data Transmission: As the light pulses travel through the fiber, carrying encoded data packets.
Reception: At the receiving end, an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) converts the incoming light pulses back into digital data.
Cox’s Fiber-Powered Internet
Cox is one of the largest ISPs using fiber for internet service. It has fiber deployed in its backbone network everywhere, allowing it to offer fiber-to-the-node internet to millions of customers. It’s also replacing local cable networks with fiber in many areas to offer symmetrical speeds with 100% fiber connections. Some of the benefits of Cox’s fiber technology include:
- Cox has high download and upload speeds, making it ideal for activities like streaming, gaming, and video conferencing.
- Cox Internet features low latency for minimal delay in data transmission, perfect for real-time applications.
- Fiber is immune to electromagnetic interference and less prone to signal degradation over long distances.
- Fiber networks can easily accommodate increasing data demands.
DOCSIS 3.1 is a set of specifications from CableLabs for modern hybrid fiber-coaxial networks. It requires improvements throughout the network infrastructure to enable faster speeds and more reliable connectivity. Some of its features include:
Higher Data Throughput: DOCSIS 3.1 introduces a dramatic leap in data throughput. It uses new techniques such as Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), to squeeze more data into the same frequency spectrum, allowing ISPs to provide faster speeds over existing networks.
Expanded Frequency Spectrum: One of the standout features of DOCSIS 3.1 is its ability to harness a wider frequency spectrum. DOCSIS 3.1 can operate on channel widths of up to 192 MHz, allowing for the transmission of significantly more data than DOCSIS 3.0.
Improved Error Correction: DOCSIS 3.1 employs more advanced error correction techniques, such as Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) coding, which reduces the chances of data errors during transmission.
Lower Latency: DOCSIS 3.1 features a new technology called Active Queue Management that lowers delay for applications such as gaming. It prioritizes data transmission for latency-sensitive tasks, allowing you gamers to play online competitively even at peak times.
Cox’s Implementation of DOCSIS 3.1
Cox’s network meets DOCSIS 3.1 specifications across 100% of its network, meaning it has all the technologies required by CableLabs for DOCSIS 3.1 everywhere. This allows Cox to provide consistent service and offer gig speeds in all service areas.
Remote PHY Devices
In a conventional centralized cable architecture, signals from all the subscribers in a service group are sent to headend where they’re processed. This is inefficient because any errors caused during the data transmission to the headend are only detected at the headend. A high frequency of errors can increase latency. To keep latency low, ISPs only use low-order modulations for data transmission, which limits the bandwidth.
ISPs are now moving towards a distributed access architecture (DAA). One key technology for DAA is Remote Phy, which moves the modulation/demodulation component of the headend to the nodes. This means the fiber data traveling through the fiber cables from the headend and the node is digital. Digital fiber equipment is less noisy and more reliable, which ultimately increases speeds and lowers latency.
Cox’s Deployment of Remote PHY Devices
According to a Fierce Telecom report from May 2023, Cox has deployed Remote PHY devices to tens of thousands of nodes, making up more than 50% of its network. As Cox deploys more RDPs, subscribers can experience the following improvements.
Faster, More Reliable Speeds: RDPs allow ISPs to enable higher-order modulations, which increases the total bandwidth of the network. Cox is now offering speeds up to 2 Gbps in some areas. But even if you don’t need that speed tier, increased bandwidth means less congestion and more reliable speeds for you even at peak times.
Improved Performance: By moving the PHY layer closer to the subscriber’s location, Remote PHY reduces signal degradation, resulting in higher-quality video and faster internet speeds.
Reduced Latency: The separation of the PHY layer allows Cox to switch to digital fiber equipment which reduces the error rate. This lowers the network latency, providing a better user experience for applications such as online gaming and video conferencing.
Cox is among the fastest internet providers in the US according to speed test data from Ookla. Ongoing improvements such as fiber and DAA implementations are only making it faster and more reliable. Cox is offering speeds up to 2 Gbps in many areas already, but subscribers on more affordable tiers can also expect faster and more reliable service.