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The Difference Between Fiber Optic and Copper Cables

February 27th, 2020 by admin

An orange Ethernet cable with a cluster of multi-colored fiber optic cable cores in the background

When it comes to cabling for your business, there only seem to be two choices, copper-based cables like Cat 6 and Cat 5e or fiber optics. While both undoubtedly have their unique advantages, it's hard not to see the writing on the wall when presented with the facts. One is obviously the superior choice overall when you break down the differences between the two. From overall costs to transmission speed, we're going to go over what makes fiber optics the better choice over copper cables.

While there is a multitude of differences between fiber optic and copper cables, there are three key factors that highlight the biggest contrasts between them:

  1. Cost - While in the past, copper cabling costs were cheaper than fiber optics, that price difference has diminished in recent years. Now it's far more costly for you to have to lay pipelines, install distribution cabinets, and all the other ins and outs of what is required for a copper cable-based system. Leading to a fiber-based LAN solution being the more budget conscientious choice.
  2. Bandwith - Cat 6 copper cables provide a maximum bandwidth of 1 Gbs, with Cat 5e go as high as 100 Mbs. This pales in direct comparison to just the base rate of 10 Gbps the alternative offers; fiber optics cables are capable of reaching 60 Tbps and higher.
  3. Transmission - For copper vs. fiber optic cabling transmission speed comes down to a simple factor, the travel speed of electrons vs. photons. Electrons in electrical currents travel at about less than 1% the speed of light. Versus photons that don't reach the instantaneous speed of light, but being only about 31% slower is still extraordinarily fast.

With just the three points we stated above, fiber optics beats out copper cabling in every category. We don't need to go over possible things like fiber optics immunity to electrical interference and tapping. You can see why fiber optic cable has undoubtedly become one of the most popular mediums for both innovative cabling installations and upgrades. If the benefits you read above are something you want for your business, contact Republic Voice and Data and ask about our extensive cabling solution options.

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