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The Cable War: Copper vs Fiber

30 comments on “The Cable War: Copper vs. Fiber

  • Brenda Tenney says:

    I really appreciate the insight of the article. I’d love to please know who wrote it. I’m constructing a research paper for college, and need an author. Thanks so much

    Reply
    • Versa Technology says:

      Thanks so much for reading the blog! Our blogs are written by Allison Teague, an employee of Versa Technology.

      Reply
      • Rita Mailheau says:

        Brenda. Allison was covering for Rita Mailheau, who is actually the blogger. Thank you again for reading the blog.

        Reply
  • Really interesting article, and very well written.
    I was wondering if is possible to connect to computers in different cities via Optic Fiber. I mean, it will be expensive obviously, but is it possible?

    Thank you for the article!

    Reply
    • Versa Technology says:

      You can if funds were not an issue. There are connections such as VPN that can be used to connect to a remote site which would be more realistic.

      Reply
  • Reducing the distance between the wire twists and contacts also improves performance. I agree that, Fiber is great for faster speeds and data delivery over super-long distances. Thanks for sharing..!!

    Reply
  • Basic terminology problem. This article is actually contrasting twisted pair copper cabling vs fiber optic cabling for use in an Ethernet network. When this article says Ethernet, it should say twisted pair.

    Ethernet is a communication protocol that defines a transmission layer as well as higher layers in the OSI model. Coax, twisted pair copper, fiber optic, and wireless are all transmission mediums for Ethernet.

    On a separate note:
    Cat 5E, cat 6, and cat 6A come in both UTP (unshielded twisted pair) and STP (shielded twisted pair) varieties. Higher cat numbers mean more twists per centimeter, which supports higher speeds and longer cable lengths. STP is used to prevent crosstalk (which can slow speeds dramatically) and prevent radiated emissions problems.

    Reply
  • It’s good to know more about the different cabling options there are. I like how you said that it really depends on your needs and setup. Like you said, if I had the need for data cabling, I think ethernet would be best because it’s cheaper!

    Reply
  • Good article. 1/ What are the operational cost (opex: ooerational expenditure running + maintenance cost)and the capex (one off capital expenditure) of operating eg 100m fiber vs 100m of cable? Cable companies also have street cabinets to run and more electricity cost. Telephony copper wite seems to be more expensive from an opex point of view.
    2/ What are the operational cost and cape of running a 4G or 5G network? Over the top internet is a threath to
    3/ What applications will drive huge internet bandwidth in the future? Most households seem to have sufficient bandwidth with 100 Mbps.

    The answer on these questions will point out the winning long term connectivity technology in this market.

    Reply
  • Very good and brief introduction about ethernet cables but people should also know the new techniques to install and information about new types of ethernet cables available in the market. So that they have a variety of options to select from. For the variety of ethernet cables

    Reply
  • Perfect comparison between fiber and copper wires. There is more about ethernet cables to know.
    As a networking professional I would like to users information and guidance for better decision making for your selection.

    Reply
  • I never knew that fiber optics relied on the speed of a photon, while copper wires rely on the slower speed of electrons. I have been looking for a new apartment to live in, and a lot of different places have advertised fiber optic internet. After reading your article, I will be sure to try and find an apartment with the much faster fiber optic internet!

    Reply
  • Whenever it becomes to choose between copper and fiber most of us will prefer for the fiber due to its abundant advantages. But apart from advantages, this wire has disadvantages too as in case of molding this wire normally gets fractured when bent.

    Reply
  • Joy Butler says:

    Hi Rita, seeing your post is such a blessing to me. I am trying to help my son with his assignment about network cabling and there it goes, you’ve explained it in a very detailed manner. He can now discuss it in his class with flying colors! Cheers!

    Reply
  • In the battle of the bandwidth, fibre optic cable wins with multi-mode optical fibre cable capable of producing 1000 MHz over 100m. When it comes to copper, Cat 6A cable is capable of carrying up to 600 MHz over 100m.

    Reply
    • I’ve read alot on posted specifications for different ethernet cable types and have always seen the following:
      CAT6a Class E 500 MHZ 10GBase-T 100 meters
      CAT7(a) Class F 600 MHz – 1000MHz 10GBase-T 100 meters
      CAT8(a) Class II Cat 8.2 1600 MHz – 2000MHz 25/40GBase-T 30 meters

      Speeds vary over each of these wire types and can exceed rated capacities depending on distance and hardware being used. But due to CAT 6a being rated @ 500MHZ to 100 meters, stepping up to CAT7, rated @ 600MHz doesn’t really make much sense.
      1. Any speed difference would be negligible
      2. Home networks like mine have the longest run being only about 25 meters with the rest being less than 10 so choosing CAT6a seems to make more sense.

      Personally, I like the information shared here. I also feel the best wire available should be the first consideration for those who want to take full advantage of a smart home. Most people say installing wiring that offers the highest available bandwidth is just wasting money because it’s not even the norm that internet providers give home internet connections with bandwidth that would support something like CAT7 or better. There are some who have opted for GB internet but even then, some articles claim CAT7 or better makes no sense.

      10GBast-T speeds are not always needed because of an internet connection. Your internet is only a part of what some smart homes are using over their networks. And it was not very long ago when 100Base-T was what businesses were running their networks on and suddenly GB ethernet became everyone’s dream come true. 10x the speed of what we were seeing over most Class D local networks was suddenly available because they opted for CAT5e and were able to just upgrade devices. Their infrastructure supported up to 1000Base-T up to 100m. I bet some of those who paid for the installations wish CAT6a was available back then because today they are paying a heft price to do it all again just to get a medium-large installation up to date with 10GBase-T or better. We really shouldn’t have an isolated mindset to limit the bandwidth when the availability is here now. Many people I know, home users, have Plex media servers. They access their media across the entire house. A home can have a 5 people avidly using alot of local media streaming which has nothing to do with internet at all. And when the internet becomes used, it’s putting even MORE strain on the local network. Between 4K media, High Definition security cameras, video chat, online gaming, there is nothing that should stop some people from giving themselves alot more bandwidth than even CAT6a has to offer.

      In the end, I think some people with a small need obviously do not need to invest in the best available infrastructure. And what you can afford always comes first. But if you have it, I’d go for it, just to make sure you never have to fish wires again.

      Reply
  • I have read your article, it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable Information about Fiber Optics in your articles. Thanks for posting it..

    Reply
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  • David A Simmons says:

    As of start of 2019: I’m not sure why the conclusion is that fiber is more brittle or more costly. A home with one+ servers, and some mix of up to 2 other devices on the 10G backbone in your home costs about $1000 to build out. The most expensive component being USB-C to SFP+ 10G (cheaper than to 10G copper). It offers shared NAS drive performance that is equal to or faster than an NVME SSD on your laptop.

    [last three years – original cost $3000, today would be $1000] I have a 10G network fully built out with both. SFP+ 10G Fiber is far cheaper, less power, more reliable. Today, at Amazon prices, you can buy and build a 10G hybrid network offering BOTH 10G copper and 10G fiber for $1000 including cost of all 10G 8-port [2 or 4 SFP+] switch ($550), USB-C to SFP+ Fiber ($350), the actual fiber cables (cost practically nothing), the SFP+ transceivers ($25/ea), the PCIe to SPF+ ($85/ea). And many variations come from there if you want 2.5G PoE ports, or more SFP+. 10G copper is much harder to run, more costly by far for cable, and has many run-length issues as well as more complex transceivers. I’ve been running my network for 3 years with multiple NAS devices, SMB (samba) file shares, all devices networked and remote desktop, mesh WiFi network, and Powerline Ethernet for external yard based devices.

    Reply
  • Excellent and good brief introduction for ethernet cables but maybe people should also well know about the new techniques that install information and about these types of new ethernet cables which are available in a market.

    Reply

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