Why fibre optic cables are more reliable than copper
Fibre internet is beginning to see widespread adoption all over the world while copper-based connectivity is slowly bowing out. While these two types of internet solutions are siblings, so to speak, in that they both transmit data via cabling, the primary difference between them is in the equipment they use.
Copper cables consist of metal strands that carry data as electrical pulses. Fibre cables, on the other hand, are made with glass threads that shoot pulses of light. This factor has an important part to play in broadband speed and overall internet experience. So, in the battle of fibre vs. copper based internet, fibre takes the crown as it is:
As the recent internet outage that affected South Africa has shown, copper cables are more prone to damage, either by accident or during installation. Don’t let their thickness and heavy weight fool you – these cables are not very good at withstanding pull pressure. In comparison, fibre optic cables are thinner and lightweight, and more resistant to wear and tear. You pretty much have to dig these cables up and deliberately sabotage them before they fail.
The signal you receive from an optic cable comes at a speed measured in photons, which travel faster than the electrons that run along copper cabling. In fact, these signals travel at a speed that is only 31% slower than how fast light travels, outshining even Category 5 and 6 copper cables, which are considered fast. What’s more, the signal of copper cables weakens over long distances. The signal of fibre optic cables can go much further, making the connection more stronger.
The switch to fibre not only means better signal strength but also more bandwidth. Copper cables were meant to send voice signals from one point to another, so the telephone lines were capable of a limited amount of data. In the past, ADSL users could only get 10Mbps because the demand for bandwidth wasn’t as high as it is today. So, when we say optic fibre cables are wider, we mean that it can carry more bandwidth than copper cables – hundreds more, to 1000 Mbps, making your upload and download speeds superfast.
If it wasn’t obvious already, copper cables are designed to conduct electricity, which makes them vulnerable to electromagnetic interference from nearby electrical power supplies and appliances. Extreme weather conditions can also wreak havoc on traditional electrical signals, resulting in shoddy connections. Fibre optic cables do not depend on electrical signals and are therefore immune to environmental risks. Not even industrial equipment and activities can affect the network performance and condition of the cable itself.
ADSL has worked pretty well for a long time, but it won’t be long before it becomes redundant, as more and more businesses are relying on superfast internet for their day-to-day operations. If you’re looking to prepare your business for the big switch, first make sure that fibre internet is available in your area. If it is, keep in mind that your experience of and ability to enjoy the benefits of fibre we discussed above, depend on which service provider you choose. For reliable internet solutions for your business, see what Nashua’s fibre packages can offer you.