Fiber Optic Cables vs Copper Cables: Which to Choose

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Ethernet or copper cables lying next to fiber optic strands

When it comes to fiber-optic cables vs. copper cables, both have various advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what requirements you have for your cabling media, one may satisfy your needs better than the other. Continue reading to find out which to choose.

Pros and Cons of Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables are network cables that contain strands of glass fibers designed for long-distance and high-performance data. Fiber optic cables are used globally for internet, television, telephone systems, and even automotive vehicles for their dependability. There are many pros and just a few cons to installing fiber optic cables.

Pros

  • Faster data transmission compared to traditional electrical cables
  • Supports high bandwidth levels
  • Secure and safe
  • Immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI)
  • Allows greater capacity for data transmission
  • Smaller and lighter
  • Less susceptible to environmental factors like oxygen exposure
  • Seamless connectivity

Cons

  • Can be expensive to install
  • More fragile than other electrical wires
  • Susceptible to damage at high power use (fiber fuse)

While fiber optic cables are generally reliable, it’s still important to routinely inspect the lines to ensure the wires are not compromised or unfit for successful use.

Pros and Cons of Copper Cables

Copper cables are a group of two or more copper wires bundled within a jacket that use electricity to transmit information. While copper wires used to be more common before fiber optic cables grew in popularity, many professionals now question the overall integrity of copper cables and their efficiency. Despite this, there are still many pros to consider regarding copper cables and their use.

Pros

  • Can handle a more comprehensive electrical power load
  • One of the most conductive metals, making it reliable
  • High resistance to heat, so smaller chance of overload
  • Easily manipulated material
  • Can withstand high tensile stress

Cons

  • Produces EMI
  • Can pose a fire and shock hazard
  • Danger of corrosion
  • More expensive to install
  • Low transmission ranges

Which Is Better?

Before deciding whether you should choose fiber optic cables or copper cables, consider the pros and cons. If you prioritize higher bandwidth and data transmission capabilities, fiber optic cables might be your best option. From a safety standpoint, because fiber optic cables are made of glass fibers, they pose no risk of fire or electrical hazards that may put your life at risk. Fiber optic cables are lighter and more efficient.

Copper cables, while able to handle a greater load of electrical power and are highly conductive, making them ideal for electrical projects, have many cons that are difficult to overlook. Copper cables pose fire and shock risks and inevitable corrosion, making them expensive to replace. Copper cables limit transmission range, making them inconvenient for larger spaces. Overall, fiber optic cables are a more efficient and lasting option for your cable media solutions.

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