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Advantages and Disadvantages of Fibre Optic Cabling

What is Fibre Optic Cable and how does it work?

Fibre optic cable is a type of networking cable made up of a host of thin strands of coated glass fibres each thinner than human hair. Digital information is coded onto light pulses that are then transmitted to the desired destination at the speed of light, or 186,000 miles per second. In using light, fibre optic cabling differs from traditional copper cabling that relies on voltage transmission.

The fibres in fibre optic cabling are surrounded by reflective cladding and then all together are protected by an extra jacket. When the light signals sent by fibre optic cabling arrive at their destination, an optical receiver decodes the data and sends it to the communicated computer or device.

Advantages of Fibre Optic Cabling

Fibre Optic Cabling

Fibre optic cabling offers a whole host of advantages to businesses and individuals in a digital world that is expanding and speeding up all the time. When we talk about the advantages of fibre optic, the alternative in mind is copper-based cabling.

Performance

Fibre optic means faster speeds of data transfers and increased bandwidth. Better Video On Demand and mobile connectivity are also enjoyed. All of this is great for commercial and residential customers alike.

Security and power

According to Paul Taylor, MD of Integral Networks “Fibre optic cabling allows for data to be transmitted across vast distances with the bare minimum of power loss and, as the data is sent via light it is incredibly secure compared to copper cabling.”

Size and weight

Fibre optic cable benefits from a reduced diameter when compared with its coaxial counterpart, allowing for more space in the transmission. The thinner nature of the fibre optic cables make them lighter and allow for easier installation.

Future proof

As fibre optic cabling is lightweight, flexible (it’s bend insensitive) and easy to adjust it makes for a far smoother process if you need to add extra equipment to the cabling to boost bandwidth.

Durability

Fibre optic cabling, once installed has a lifetime of between 50 and 75 years depending on individual circumstances.

Disadvantages of Fibre Optic Cabling

Fibre Optic Cabling

The advantages of fibre optic certainly outweigh any disadvantages but it would be disingenuous not to mention the potential issues.

Cost

There has been a significant reduction in the cost of fibre optic cable installation in recent years, but it still involves a much higher tariff than copper cabling.

Installation and fragility

Fibre optic cabling requires specialist training to install as it is far more fragile when compared to other cable and as such, without careful handling and a specialist team it can be prone to damage. Splicing is also a bit trickier. It pays to go with an experienced expert team.

In summary

It is clear that the advantages of fibre optic cabling are incredibly persuasive and there are few circumstances where the alternative is preferable. The world is becoming increasingly dominated by fibre optic and it makes little sense not to follow suit.

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