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What are the differences between fiber optic and copper cables?

November 28, 2022

Regarding the difference between optical fiber cable and copper cable, both types of wires have their own characteristics and advantages. However, in order to create a perfect network connection, you must understand two concepts of cabling in order to choose the perfect solution. We can carefully compare the differences between optical fiber cables and copper cables and their respective characteristics through the following aspects.

 

 

Bandwidth capability, from the beginning of data transmission, copper cables are carrying out precise transmission of voice signals. However, using copper cables to transmit digital data is not as efficient as fiber optic cables. Copper cables have limited transmission capacity, while fiber optic cables are capable of delivering up to 10Gbps and beyond.

For example, if your ISP offers a 100Mbps connection now and promises to upgrade it to 1Gbps in the future. When you're using your current transmission speed, it doesn't matter if you're using optical fiber or copper. However, if they upgrade the connection to 1Gbps, the copper cable will not be enough to provide the maximum speed offered by the ISP.

Transmission distance, fiber optic cable has low attenuation and better signal integrity than copper cable. Therefore, for long distance network connections, optical fiber allows longer transmission capacity compared to copper without changing the actual frequency slightly. Copper cables can be accessed from a limited distance of 100 meters, with optical fiber supporting data transmission over 100 kilometers and beyond.

 

Reliability, since copper cables use the speed of electrons to transmit data and optical fiber cables use the speed of photons, you may now understand the results of optical fiber versus copper. Photons travel at the speed of light, while electrons travel less than one percent of the speed of light. Therefore, fiber optic cables are much more reliable than copper cables in all possible ways of data transmission. If you're creating custom network connections between systems under the same roof, copper cables probably won't lack any speed. But when you're about to transmit data over distances of more than two kilometers, it degrades considerably compared to optical fiber.

 

Security,To accomplish data transmission, copper cables use electricity, which can be used to modify signals. It also radiates signals that are easy to eavesdrop. Fiber optic cables, on the other hand, neither use electricity nor radiate any signal, so they cannot be tapped and are difficult to cover. Security is a major concern when network connections are running on government property, banks or institutions, and the unique properties of fiber optic cables can minimize security breaches.

 

Cost , copper cables transmit data through heat and electricity, and optical fiber cables use the refraction of light to transmit power or data. This technology is faster than copper cable and tends to be less expensive.