Fiber Optic Solutions Versus Copper Wire

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Fiber optic solutions have for some time been touted as a gold standard for internet connectivity. The technology has many benefits such as high bandwidth, speed, and reliability.  It also has many less understood benefits that will be considered in this article. However, copper has a number of important pros too. It is important to look at the merits and demerits of the copper and fiber optic cables before making a decision.

Reliability

Copper wire is prone to the effects of temperature fluctuations, moisture, and interference from radio and electrical signals. This will inevitably cause the network to be unstable. Businesses will have to contend with constant downtimes and spend more time on maintenance and repair.

Fiber optic cables are robust and are not prone to magnetic interference. While copper cables transmit electrical signals, fiber optics transmits light signals through glass. The cables can be passed through an area where a lot of electromagnetic interference is expected to occur.

Copper wires can transmit signals to a maximum of 100 meters without using signal boosting switches. Fiber optic cables transmit light signals through the cable and are therefore immune to the limitations of distance and electromagnetic interference. Fiber optic technology is used to transmit signals across great distances and can transmit more than 45 miles without having to amplify the signal.

Speed

Copper wires are very immune to interference and this limits how the signal can be modulated. The transmission of light signals through fiber optics allows for modulation at a much higher frequency. Signals can be transmitted across great distances almost instantaneously.

To keep up with the growing client demands for increased coverage and capacity many businesses are going for fiber optic solutions. Fiber optic signal transmission is instantaneous and its speed is only limited by the transmitters and receivers throughout the network. Currently single fiber mode solutions can attain speeds of between 1 to 10 gigabytes per second. There is research currently looking into 100 gigabytes per second fiber optics.

Power and Location

Copper has some advantages that are often overlooked. For example, the fact that electrical signals can be transmitted through the cables means that it can be used for both data and power. It can power devices while at the same time carry electrical signals. One advantage of this is that there is greater flexibility on where the devices can be placed because there is no need for an external power source.

Another disadvantage of fiber is that it is expensive and more complicated to install. Even though fiber is becoming more ubiquitous and the costs are going down, it is still considered to be significantly more expensive than copper cabling. Fiber optics are more delicate than copper wires and require the necessary expertise to ensure proper installation.

As organizations continue to build more robust communication systems that can meet the current market demands, it is worth considering combining the two technologies. Combining the benefits of copper and fiber can cut costs while delivering higher bandwidth and reliability. A network infrastructure that utilizes the best of both technologies can be cost effective, flexible, and fast.

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