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Fiber-Optics Vs. WiMAX, the Best Internet in Japan for You?

internet in japan

For getting the internet in Japan which is right for you, the first thing you need is to know the types and the differences of them.

Fiber-optics and WiMAX are the two main types of the internet in Japan. They have different characteristics, so depending on the person, one could work better than the other.

By dealing with the pros and cons of fiber-optics and WiMAX in Japan, this article will explain the differences between them. After you read this article you will know which one is best for you.

Fiber-Optics: Pros and Cons


Fiber-Optics(光ファイバー) is one type of cable internet services in Japan which uses a fiber optic cable for connecting to the internet.

It is not only the fastest but also the most popular type of internet in Japan. The three most famous fiber-optics internet services in Japan are au HIKARI(auひかり), FLET'S HIKARI(フレッツ光), and NURO HIKARI(NURO光)

Monthly charges of Mansion Course(マンションタイプ: courses for whom lives in an apartment) are around 4,000円 and those of Home Course(戸建てタイプ: courses for whom lives in a house) are about 5,000円, however, the charges differ from company to company.

⇒ Price and Speed Comparison of Main Fiber-Optics Companies in Japan

Pros of Fiber-Optics

The best strength of fiber-optics is its high-speed.

Mentioned said above, fiber-optics is the fastest internet in Japan with a max speed of 1Gbps or 2Gbps.

Though it is the max speed the companies advertise for the ideal networking environment. The users normally get the internet with lower speeds depending on the circumstance of housing like location, but fiber-optics is still much faster than any other types of the internet in Japan.

Also, the internet connection of fiber-optics is fairly stable. In other words, the internet is rarely disconnected.

So, fiber-optics is highly recommended for people who use the internet often indoors.

Cons of Fiber-Optics

The installation of a fiber optic cable in the building(called 回線工事 in Japanese) by internet companies is necessary for fiber optic internet whether you get a contract for Mansion Course or Home Course.

Though most of the apartments in Japan already have had fiber optic cables installed in the buildings, so for Mansion Course, just simple works are needed for the installation and in about 1 week after the subscription, you can use the internet.

On the other hands, for Home Course, as most of the houses in Japan don't have a fiber optic cable in the building, the new installation of the cable is needed.

cable installer Japan
a Japanese cable installer

But, even if you need to install the new fiber optic cable in the building, the installation is still simple. For most of the installation, a cable installer comes to a house and simply connects a fiber optic cable from a utility pole around the house to the building through a pipe of telephone line.

However, for Home Course, you need to wait 2 weeks to a month from the contract to get the installation done by a cable installer, and if you live in a monthly rented house, you need the permission of a house owner for the installation.

WiMAX in Japan: Pros and Cons

WiMAX's mobile Wi-Fi Router

WiMAX is one type of mobile internet services in Japan that you can connect to the internet with a mobile device anywhere it gets signals.

The mobile device is called mobile Wi-Fi router, and the network operator company which provides the line of WiMAX in Japan is UQWiMAX .

And many internet service providers(ISP) such as GMOWiMAX and BIGLOBE lend the line from it and provide WiMAX services to the users. So, you can get a contract for WiMAX directly with UQWiMAX or through other ISPs.

Monthly charges of WiMAX are from about 3,000円 to 4,000円 which are cheaper than those of fiber-optics. WiMAX's monthly charges also differ from company to company in Japan.

The article below will show you the comparison of the monthly charges and promotions according to the companies.

⇒ How to Get a Contract for WiMAX with Reasonable Prices

Pros of WiMAX

The strongest point of WiMAX is its mobility.

Unlike fiber-optics which you can only use the internet indoors as it needs a fiber optic cable installed in the building for using the internet, you can use WiMAX internet indoors and outdoors as long as you carry a small mobile Wi-Fi router with you.

Because of this point, WiMAX is recommended for whom often use the internet outdoors when they work, study or travel.

Another strength of WiMAX is that you don't need any internet installation in the building.

Thanks to that, you can connect to the internet in a few days after the contract begins. So, if you need the internet in a hurry, you had better get a contract for WiMAX.

In addition, if you get a contract for WiMAX instead of a smartphone's data plan, you can save smartphone's battery and use much faster internet than LTE of your smartphone.

Cons of WiMAX

With a max speed of 440Mbps or 558Mbps(despite WiMAX providers say WiMAX's max speed is 1.2Gbps when they advertise the services, the practical max speed is still 558Mbps), WiMAX is slower than fiber-optics, and its network connection is relatively unstable.

Below is the table you can compare the pros and cons of fiber-optics and WiMAX at a glance.

Table: Fiber-Optics Vs. WiMAX

  Fiber-Optics WiMAX
Installation in the building • House Course: Cable Installation
• Mansion Course: Simple Works
Max Speed & Stability of Network Connection 1 or 2Gbps
440 or 558Mbps
(relatively unstable)
Approx. Monthly Charge • Mansion Course:4,000円
• Home Course: 5,000円
3,000円 to
Mobility No Yes
Wait Time • Mansion Course: within 1 week
• House Course: 2 weeks to 1 month
in a few days
User Recommended Indoor Internet Users Outdoor Internet Users


If you often use the internet indoors than outdoors and want high-speed internet with a stable connection, go for fiber-optics. If you are not a heavy internet user and spend most of the time outdoors so don't need that high quality's internet, go for WiMAX.

What's Next?

So, now you know either fiber-optics or WiMAX is right for you. What you need to do next is looking up a perfect internet service provider(ISP) for it.

If you want to know the speeds, prices, and etc. of Japanese fiber optic services like au HIKARI(auひかり), FLET'S HIKARI(フレッツ光), and NURO HIKARI(NURO光), go to read the article below.

⇒ Speed & Price Comparison of Fiber Optic Services

And, if you want more details about WiMAX such as prices and promotions depending on companies, click the link below.

⇒ Prices & Promotions of WiMAX Companies