Fiber optics is a hot trend in today’s world of communication network, which is a technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit large amount of data. In recent years it has become apparent that fiber-optics are now replacing copper wires as the best means of communication signal transmission. They span the long distances more easily and provide backbones for many communication networks. Why fiber optic is gradually replacing copper networks, we first should konw the pros and cons of copper.
Pros and cons of copper
Telephone companies have long used copper lines, while the cable television companies have relied on coaxial cable for TV, Internet, and VoIP(Voice over Internet Phone) telephone service. Both industries now are making increased use of fiber, hybrid fiber-copper, or hybrid fiber-coaxial cable lines.
The benefit of the old copper service is that, unlike fiber and hybrid-fiber lines, it carries not only the voice and data signals but also the power to operate a standard, non-cordless telephone. The phone company itself provides that power, which often keeps the phones working even when a problem at the power company knocks out electric service.
But traditional copper telephone lines can’t handle the large amount of data required for television and high-speed Internet services, especially over long distances. Although advanced techniques can enhance copper’s capabilities and most other companies are installing fiber or hybrid fiber lines, in some cases alongside the copper ones. We’ve found that telephone and cable company terms and conditions typically warn customers that these systems can’t maintain phone service indefinitely during a power failure, if at all.
The problem is greatest with cable company VoIP services and with systems that use fiber lines all the way to the home. It can be less of a concern with hybrid copper-fiber systems, in which copper lines carry the signal the last mile or so to the home. In those systems, carriers can maintain phone power by installing batteries and generators at the point where the fiber meets the copper.
Why Use Fiber Optic? Is Copper Really Cheaper Than Fiber?
Telcos use fiber to connect all their central offices and long distance switches because it has thousands of times the bandwidth of copper wire and can carry signals hundreds of times further before needing a repeater. The CATV companies use fiber because it give them greater reliability and the opportunity to offer new services, like phone service and Internet connections. Both telcos and CATV operators use fiber for economic reasons, but their cost justification requires adopting new network architectures to take advantage of fiber’s strengths.
When it comes to the cost, fiber optic is always considered to be more expensive than copper cabling. Whatever you look at – cable, fiber termination kit or networking electronics – fiber costs more. So isn’t it obvious that Fiber Optic Network is more expensive than copper? Maybe not! Looking at the cabling component costs may be not a good way to analyze total network costs. A properly designed premises cabling network can also be less expensive.