Optical Fibre Cables vs. Copper Wire Cables

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Optical Fibre Cables vs. Copper Wire Cables

Copper wires have been used for decades to transmit communication signals over small and large distances. They have evolved over time to bear the increasing brunt of signal transmission. Single strands of copper wires coupled together have very low bandwidth. This was suitable when the sole purpose was telephone transmission. With the advent of the Internet, bulkier copper wires have been introduced to handle large transmissions. Fibre optic technology offering high-speed signal transmission and higher bandwidth are now being used more commonly. Fibre optic systems are similar to copper wire systems, however fibre optic wires utilise light pulses to transfer information instead of electronic pulses.


Types of Fibre Optic Cables

Two main kinds of fibre optic cables are used for transmitting information: single-mode and multi-mode fibre optic cables.

Single-Mode Fibre Optic Cables

Single-mode fibre optic cables have a narrower width, which contains the light pulse in a taut space. This facilitates long distance communication more easily. It is more suitable for long-range communication, as it is too expensive for shorter ranges.

Multi-Mode Fibre Optic Cables

Multi-mode fibre optic cables are wider and allow more space for collecting light. This enables a cheaper cost for multi-mode cables, making them suitable applications for homes and small businesses.


Choosing Between Fibre Optic Cables and Copper Wire Cables

Choosing copper wire cables versus fibre optic cables is dependent on several factors. While fibre optics give faster long distance transmission, they may require bulky or expensive initial installation equipment at the consumer end to transmit the light pulses. A user must weigh the factors involved in both types before arriving at a decision.

Copper Wire Cables

Copper wire cables require less equipment at the user end. Copper transmission does not require an external power source for transmission purposes and can transfer power through Ethernet cables. If there is an electrical failure, the Internet transmitted through copper from the source will still run. Installation costs for copper wires are cheaper because fibre optic installation requires skilled personnel. However, copper cables are usually less secure and the radiations emitting from them can be read using an antenna. They can also be affected by extreme changes in temperature. Copper wires can carry up to 15,000 signals at the same time, but are limited by distance, so transmission signals diminish over large distances.

Fibre Optic Cables

Because fibre optic signals are made of light pulses, there's very little loss of signal during transmission. The data also moves at higher speeds and larger distances, transmitting signals over long distances without any loss in transmission. Fibre optic cables have a high bandwidth in comparison to copper wire cables, so fibre optic cables can carry over 30,000 signals at the same time. Fiddling with fibre optic lines is difficult, since the pulses are light signals travelling through dielectric material. Fibre optic cables are immune to electromagnetic radiations and thus the problem of noise and other interference is ruled out. Fibre optic cables are also a fraction of the cost of copper cables over the long-term because of cheaper maintenance, less downtime and less networking hardware. They are also temperature and water-resistant, since they are made from glass. Fibre is thin, lightweight and longer lasting than copper wire cables, making it easier to handle.

Fibre optic equipment offers a number of advantages in terms of speed and quality, making it an exciting technology to adopt. Keeping in mind how Internet infrastructure has been evolving, fibre optic wires present the best opportunity for quality data transmission that is accessible on televisions, computers, wireless routers and home telephones. Find everything you need online.

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