Fiber optic technology is getting more and more popular nowadays in the professional networking world. Copper cable or fiber optics? This is one of the most common questions asked by business owners as these are the most popular choices in the IT industry. A good internet connection is essential for businesses in this digital age, where everything from accounts to sales is online. The internet connection you choose for your business doesn’t only impact your satisfaction but also of your customers and partners.
Fiber-Optic Network vs. Cable Network
A few years ago, the overall price of fiber cable was nearly twice that of copper, but now the price between fiber and copper has narrowed and fiber components and hardware have steadily decreased. However, after you factor in hidden costs, maintenance, interference, risk of tampering and replacement cost, fiber optic cable is a better financial option in the long run.
The download speed of cable network ranges from 10 to 500 megabits per second (Mbps). Its upload speed range is 5 to 50 Mbps. This broadband speed is sufficient for most small-scale businesses and homes.
The cable network speed can accommodate some heavy downloading, video streaming and gaming. However, since it is a shared network, whenever the traffic is high, the network speed is slower. You can expect up to a 25% reduction in speed during peak-use periods.
Fiber optic internet services are faster compared to the cable network with a speed of not less than 250-1,000 Mbps in both directions. Many people can access the fiber network at the same time without affecting the overall performance. This makes it ideal for high demand use that needs to stay constant, even during peak periods.
Copper cable and TDM technology are limited when it comes to bandwidth because it was initially designed for only voice calls. Connection over cable is also limited by distance. On the other hand, fiber-optic increases your bandwidth potential. Fiber-optic offers internet speed up to 10Gbps with equal upload and download bandwidth.
Copper cable can easily be broken during an installation or by accident. Despite its large size, copper has a low tolerance for tension. Fiber is smaller, lighter, and more durable than copper cabling and can generally only be damaged through deliberate vandalism, though you do have to be careful with fiber as it is made out of glass. Typically, it’s sheathed in a protective coat to make it more durable.
It’s estimated that as many half of all outages in copper cabling is attributed to electromagnetic interference (EMI), crosstalk and impedance mismatches, none of which affects fiber cabling providing a reliable medium for transporting your data.
Your data is much more secure with fiber optic cables, which don’t carry electrical signals and are almost impossible to tap into. Even if a cable is compromised or damaged, it can easily be detected by monitoring the power transmission. Copper cables, on the other hand, can still be tapped, which could affect your internet speed or even destroy your network.
The cable is accessible just about everywhere. If you can access a television network, you can access cable internet. Your television service provider can install the connection for you. The fiber-optic network is not easily accessible like cable but is becoming very common, especially in metropolitan areas and cities.
The fiber-optic network requires the installation of new cables; thus, it will take time before it becomes available in rural areas.
For businesses that need the fastest internet connections, have larger bandwidth demands, and need reliability for essential functions, fiber may be the best choices. With fiber, you can use it for both video and voice applications, server hosting, and application hosting. You can also get the fastest speeds over longer distances with fiber. So the most demanding users should choose for fiber.