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Optical Fiber Vs. Copper Cable: Which Is The Better Value?

Optical fiber

Copper cables have been the traditional choice for setting up efficient network connectivity for many reasons. However, optical fibers are also becoming a preferred choice for new cable installation and upgrading old systems. Choosing the cable that offers the best value for money can be tricky.

One way to overcome the dilemma is by learning about the advantages and applications of copper and fiber optic cables. This can help installers better understand, compare the two options and pick the type of cable that suits their needs the best.

Know More About Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables are made of single or multiple plastic or glass fiber strands. They transmit data by propagating light pulses along the length of the cable. These cables are primarily used in the telecommunication industry, across computer networks, for Internet applications, and in various security systems. Installers can opt for an underground or aerial optical fiber cable system based on network specifications.

Advantages Offered By Fiber Optic Cables

Using fiber optic cables provides a wide range of benefits, the most important of which include the following:

  • Virtually Unlimited Bandwidth: Fiber optics cables offer almost unlimited bandwidth to transfer large volumes of data with a standard transfer speed of more than 10 Gbps.
  • Suitable For Long Distance Transmissions: Fiber Optic cables, specifically single-mode fiber optic cables, offer great efficiency and reliability while transmitting data over long distances.
  • High-Speed Data Transmission: Fiber optic cables can transfer data at an extremely high speed as they use light pulses to transmit the data with minimal signal disintegration. The core of fiber optic cables is designed to transfer light pulses in the form of a laser beam transmitted at just 31% lesser speed than the speed of light.
  • A Highly Secure Way To Transfer Data: Fiber optic cables are not impacted by any electromagnetic interference, eliminating any data integrity risk. Also, the cables do not catch fire easily and can withstand environmental forces such as excessive heat and moisture, reducing the data loss risk.
  • A Cost-Effective Medium For Data Transfer: Even though the initial investment for installing fiber optic cables is relatively high, it is highly cost-effective in the long run. The reduction in optical fiber price over the years has significantly enhanced this medium’s cost-effectiveness.

An Overview Of Copper Cables

As the name suggests, copper cables contain wires made from copper metal and have been used for transmitting data for a long time. These cables use electrical pulses that flow through the copper wire to transfer data from the originating end to the receiving end. Copper cables are generally used in the telecommunications industry, automotive sector, and in electrical supply systems.

Benefits of Copper Cables

  • Great Conductors Of Electricity: Copper is one of the best conductors of electricity, making it perfect for transmitting data using electrical pulses.
  • Easy To Setup and Install: Copper cables can be used with minimum insulation for transmitting data, making them highly flexible and extremely easy to set up and install.
  • Readily Available And Affordable: Since copper metal is commonly found in various regions, copper cables are readily available and quite affordable.
  • High Level Of Flexibility: Copper metal is highly flexible and can be bent and twisted with ease. Thus the cables made from this metal also exhibit similar properties, which make installing them, without compromising their integrity, quite easier and effortless.
  • Compatible With Various Devices: Copper cables are compatible with a wide range of devices, making them a popular choice for use across diverse industries and sectors.
  • Low Installation And Maintenance Costs: The installation costs of copper cables are quite low as they do not require special equipment and technology. Their maintenance costs are also significantly lesser and generally involve replacing the cable.


Both cables offer some fantastic benefits that make them an outstanding choice. However, copper cables are prone to electromagnetic interference and damage due to fire, extreme heat, and moisture. Also, they have limited bandwidth. This not only increases the risk of disruption in the continuity of data transfer but is also likely to damage the integrity of the data being transferred. On the other hand, fiber optic cables are fragile and have high installation and maintenance costs. Keeping these things in mind, one should pick the option that is most suited to them.

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