The fiber-optic cable is one of the fastest-growing transmission media for both new wiring installations and upgrades, including the spine, horizontal, and even desktop applications. Fiber has some benefits over copper. Until now, our best home-internet option was a love-and-hate cable connection that most of us know about.
It’s fast, sometimes. But like a highway at rush hour, it’s jammed during peak traffic hours. It just can’t keep pace with our mushrooming needs on the internet. Let’s take a look at the 8 Advantages of Fiber-Optic Internet vs. Copper Cable.
What is fiber optic internet?
The fiber optic internet is a data connection with a cable filled with thin glass or plastic fibers. Data travels through them as light beams pulsed in a pattern. The fiber optic speed of the internet is about 20 times faster than the regular cable at 1 Gbps.
Why is the fiber optic cable internet so much better than the simple old’ cable internet? Because the works don’t have copper wire to gum up. Cable internet sends its signals through metal wires. The metal heats up, the signal is weakened and the interference is picked up. That’s why cable and DSL internet are much slower and clumsier than fiber optics.
How fiber optic internet works
Fiber optic internet operates by splitting files such as movies and games into zero and some data packets. This Morse code style signal is illuminated by a laser into one end of a plastic or glass filament. The “line” is approximately as thick as one human hair thread.
A special sheath called a cladding retains a light beam within the filament. As much as 60 miles it bounces off the walls and pops out the other end where a modem decodes the light into a shape that your computer can use.
Advantages of Fiber Optic Internet vs. Cable
Fiber-optic Internet vs Cable in a nutshell: Fiber is faster than copper, can go longer than copper, is better than copper, is more robust and stable than copper, is easier to scale than copper, and is cheaper in the long run than copper.
Although most business decision-makers are aware of the fiber’s speed advantages, other advantages are less widely known. Newer technology investment can be risky, especially for organizations that rely heavily on their Internet connectivity for consumer interactions, efficiency, and collaboration.
Investing in the fiber optic Internet will greatly improve your bandwidth capacity. Copper wire infrastructure and TDM (Time-division multiplexing ) technology are of limited nature. Because it was originally designed to transmit voice calls only, the demand for bandwidth was not high. For example, only 1.5 Mbps of throughput can be carried by T-1. And because of how electrical signaling works, many types of cable connections are limited by distance.
Usually, Ethernet over Copper Service (EoC) is not usable if the circuit is longer than 15,000 feet. For organizations considering moving their voice communications to Voice-over – IP (VoIP), getting the bandwidth transmitted over fiber can be an invaluable asset.
Fiber has much greater bandwidth than copper and has a consistent capacity of up to 10 Gbps. While not currently a standard, these speeds could become a reality in future proposals and ratifications. Bear in mind that the speed of the fiber depends on the type of cable used. Single-mode cable provides a far wider span than either 62.5-or 50-micron multimode cable. For a fact, fiber optic cable can hold more details more faithfully than copper wire. That’s why the telephone and CATV companies are trying to switch to fiber
2. Low attenuation and greater distance
Since the fiber optic signal is light, there is very little loss of signal during transmission, and data can travel at higher speeds and distances. Fiber does not have a maximum limit of 100 meters (9328 ft.) of unshielded copper twisted pair (without a booster). Fiber lengths can vary from 300 meters (984.2 ft.) to 40 kilometers (24.8 mi.) depending on cable type, wavelength, and network. Since fiber signals need to be boosted less than copper ones do, the cable is performing better.
Your data is secure with a fiber cable. It doesn’t radiate signals, so it’s incredibly difficult to hit. If the cable is tapped, it’s very easy to track because the cable is leaking light, causing the whole device to malfunction. If you’re trying to crack the physical integrity of your fiber network, you’ll know it.
Fiber networks also allow you to put all your electronics and hardware in one central location, instead of having wiring closets with equipment across the house.
In an age of heightened attention to cyber security, fiber optics is being advertised as a cost-effective way to quickly improve Internet security.
Intercepting the copper cable can be achieved by connecting the taps to the line to pick up the electronic signals. However, placing a tap on a fiber-optic Internet cable to intercept data transmissions is extremely difficult.
It is also easy to easily recognize infected cables that emit light from transmissions. With distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS ) attacks is on the rise, it is more important than ever to have added protection to your network.
4. Immunity and reliability
Fiber provides highly reliable data transfer. It’s immune to other environmental factors that influence the copper wire. The heart is made of glass, which is an insulator so that no electrical current will pass through it. It is resistant to electrometric interference and radiofrequency interference (EM / RFI), crosstalk, impedance issues, and more. You can run the fiber cable next to the industrial equipment without any fear. Fiber is therefore less susceptible to temperature variations than copper and can be dissolved in water.
Fiber is lightweight, flexible, and more durable than copper wire. Plus, the fiber optic cable has pulling features that are up to 10 times higher than the copper cable. The small size makes it easier to manage, so it takes up even less room in the cable ducts. While fiber is still more difficult to terminate than copper, advancements in connectors make it easier to terminate. Fiber is often easier to test than copper cables.
The proliferation and lower costs of media converters allow conversion of copper to fiber much simpler. Converters provide seamless links and allow the use of existing hardware. In the expected upgrades, fiber can be built into the network.
TIA / EIA-785, ratified in 2001, offers a cost-effective migration path from 10 Mbps Ethernet to 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet over fiber (100BASE-SX). The addendum to the specification addresses weaknesses in the construction of the transceiver. Besides, a 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) specification was authorized by the IEEE in June 2002.
The cost of fiber cable, modules, and equipment is slowly decreasing. Installation costs for fiber are higher than for copper due to the ability needed for termination. Generally, fiber is more costly than copper in the short term, but it may potentially be cheaper in the long run. Usually, fiber costs less to maintain, has less downtime, and requires less equipment for networking. So fiber reduces the need for higher network output to be rewired.
Pros Of Fiber Optic Internet
In the internet fiber vs. cable dispute, fiber has many advantages. With this next-generation technology, fiber can easily transmit a lot of data with very little latency (delays in data processing), making it the fastest internet available. The data travels over long distances without deteriorating as it does with the cable, so the information gets easily and unchanged from one location to another. Much better, the fiber optic internet does not have a bandwidth limit, so you can potentially use as much as you like.
Therefore, fiber optic internet has the scalability, reliability, and security that a company requires. Fiber optical wavelengths can be turned on and off on demand, and additional fiber infrastructure can be placed in place to accommodate expansion, which means that an expanding company can easily adapt and scale its services if needed.
Fiber is therefore more durable in that it is more resistant to thermal, corrosive, and lightning-related damage and is less likely to break during a power outage; thus, it appears to be a more stable choice.
In addition, this type of internet access is often more difficult to hack, as it does not radiate signals from the way the internet is wired. Breaches are easier to detect as soon as they occur, which ensures that the data is more secure with fiber internet vs. cable. In fact, the fire hazard associated with conventional copper wiring is also removed from fiber since it does not use electricity.
At the end of the day, there are cost advantages to the fiber optic internet. Fiber internet access typically costs about the same as cable, often a little more depending on where you are and what you need. Throughout the long run, however, it appears to be less expensive because the overhead is lower than for copper networks, and the cost of service to customers and businesses is likely to decrease because fiber-optic networks expand.
Though there are major advantages to fiber, the substitution of conventional technology is far from ideal. Although the fiber is thinner and stronger than the copper wire, it is also more fragile, making it more vulnerable to physical harm due to malfunctions in building, animals, radiation, or chemicals.
It is also prone to bending, so maneuvering and positioning the fiber cable is a task. The fiber optic thread is also actually affected by what is known as the “fiber fuse.” It happens when there is an imperfection in the fiber and when too much light reaches the defect, it causes irreversible damage to the fiber.
Fibre also has the downside of what is known as unidirectional light propagation. In layman’s terms, this means that information can only be conveyed in one direction. You need two concurrent fibers if you need to send and receive information.
The high short-term costs are another big downside of fiber internet vs. cable. Fiber optic internet needs a whole new network to be used, which is very expensive. This needs the installation of qualified experts and special equipment. Repairs are often very expensive if the fiber is harmed.
A further problem with fiber is its limited availability. As a relatively new technology, fiber optic internet is not as widely available as cable or DSL.
Pros and cons of copper cable internet
It is important to weigh your choices carefully when considering cable vs. fiber internet. Fiber may be very interesting, but at this time it may not be the best choice for your company. Consider these pros and cons of cable internet when considering your choices.
Unlike fiber, the cable is well known for its durability. For certain cases, barring electrical storms and power outages, you should have a cable link readily accessible at almost any time. Unless you’re in a place that doesn’t often face power outages and the fiber is still relatively fresh, the cable may be a better choice. The cable is very convenient, as it is actually available in many more places than fiber.
Depending on your business needs and location, cables can also be cheaper. And, if you don’t need higher fiber speeds, you may not find it very cost-effective at the moment. Plus, with better industry-wide standards set relatively recently for cable, the technology is ripe for performance development.
With cable, the speeds depend on the levels of usage of others in your area, so if you are in a heavily populated area, you may see a slowdown during peak business hours. Latency can also be more common with cable, in addition to being typically slower than with fiber. In fact, cable service providers typically have bandwidth caps and, if you surpass these quotas, you will face extra charges. Finally, the cable is not as environmentally friendly as the fiber on the basis of the amount of data it transmits in comparison to the amount of electricity used.
Choosing between cable and fiber optic internet
When considering the pros and cons of fiber optic internet vs. cable internet, it is important to note that what is best for your company depends on a variety of factors, including availability, size, budget, speed and security requirements, and more.