2017 is coming in less than a month, looking back, in the communication field, the old remaining dilemma between fiber and copper is still left behind. People are struggling about whether they should hold on to the tried-and-tested copper cables that are sufficient so far or make the leap into the future, and go fiber optic. From a technical perspective, the case for switching to fiber is growing ever stronger. Using a fiber system will lead to more bandwidth, reliability, less downtime and end up saving you money. Today’s article will make you understand the trend for switching to fiber.
More Bandwidth, Faster and Longer
People are aware that fiber optics is winning out over copper because of its higher performance, namely more bandwidth, faster speed, and longer link distance.
Bandwidth decides how much data you can receive and send. The copper cable that can be used for 10 Gigabit cabling, and 100 Gigabit cables is at the point of topping out, but these data rates can be sent only for very short distances between servers in data centers. While with fiber you can transmit more data over greater distances, and if you’re preparing for fiber now, you’ll also start to see remarkable differences in the not too distant future.
Have you ever thought of the reason why fiber can transmit at a higher speed for longer distances than copper cables? In short, copper cable uses the electric waves to carry the signal data, the phrase of the wave is modulated in sophisticated patterns to try and send as much data as possible through the continuous signal. This works well for a low amount of data, but the copper cable will start to break down if you get to higher bandwidths and greater distances. As for fiber cable, it uses light to carry signals with transmitters and receivers at both ends. Light loses much less power than an electrical signal, so fiber can send data over much greater distances.
Fiber is More Reliable Than Copper
Besides the above reasons, another big reason that makes enterprises choose to use fiber other than copper is the reliability of the fiber optic system. If you put too many copper wires in close proximity, or just put them near any significant power sources, the signals can be easily interfered and read by others. Brazilian E-Voting machines were compromised using Van Eck Phreaking, with hackers able to read secret votes through these side-band electronic-magnetic emissions from the machines.
But fiber doesn’t suffer from the same problems as copper, so maintenance issues are rare. You can put multiple fiber optics next to each other and there won’t be any interference, and you can route them wherever in your building and they’ll still work perfectly. In fact, fiber can be routed through a building near power line conduits without any degradation of the signal. Therefore, it is not the good choice to still stay at copper wire because of its crosstalk where data from one wire gets mixed up with data on another.
Fiber is Safer
There are also safety issues, for people and equipment, with copper cabling which are no doubt at the forefront of your tech’s mind when they are telling you to go for fiber installation. Any misconfiguration of your system, or out of the blue power surge, and having everything wired together with copper suddenly becomes a serious problem. For example, a lightning strike jumped through copper cabling between buildings, can destroy all the electrical equipment in both buildings.
Light doesn’t leak, and if it does you’ll know about it. Someone splicing into the fiber will leave a tell-tale signal as the attenuation will drop, just as when the fiber is damaged. Using a testing technique called optical time domain reflectometry, you can easily find where someone has spliced into the system and hunt the spies down!
In general, it’s also easier to test if something does go wrong. The way light travels through glass is better understood than how electricity flows through copper, so any diagnostics are straightforward.
Fiber is More Flexible Than Copper
Fiber optic cable is composed of a thin, flimsy strand of glass, which is very delicate, needing installation by specialists in white gloves. And it can be destroyed by any clumsy-fingered techie thereafter. However, it is stronger than copper cables (made of a thick cord of metal).
Even though the fiber optic cable is lightweight and thin, it can be pulled through buildings with more force than copper, and can take a dunking in water, and is more flexible so can negotiate tricky building geography. All the while being lighter and thinner than copper, so it can be installed with more ease anywhere in your building.
Because it’s so lightweight and thin, it takes up less space and is easier to handle. If you want to scale a copper-wired system then you need more and bigger and bigger cabling. With an optical system, there is almost no difference in size between the diameter and weight of different size fibers, and because a smaller fiber can carry so much more data than copper cables, you need less overall.
Fiber Will Cost You Less
When people suggest you switching to fiber, you might not think that they take budget into account, but in the long run, fiber optic system will cost your company less.
Because fiber is more resilient, there is less downtime on the network. Because of all the maintenance and legacy issues with copper wires, you’ll always have downtime while an ISP technician is down a manhole somewhere splicing together copper cables that have been damaged.
There’s also less hardware to go with the fiber optic system. Because data can be transmitted over fiber for longer distances, you don’t need the extra power boosters, junctions, and terminals that are needed for copper cabling. Your fiber can be brought directly to your office with no need for multiple connections.
Fiber is a new technology that is constantly evolving and a hot area of research. We believe that in 2017, a fiber optic based system will be more popular among users.