Comparison of Fiber Optics and Copper Wire

Fiber optic cables are finding increasing usage due to a number of advantages over the traditional copper wires. However, there are a few flipsides in its usage too.

Advantages of Fiber Optics Cables over Copper Wires

  • Fiber optic cables transmit data at much higher speed than copper wires. This is because the speed of light is greater than the speed of electrons.
  • Fiber optic cables have a much larger bandwidth of over 60 Tbps in comparison to 10 Gbps bandwidth of copper wires.
  • Fiber optic cables have very low attenuation. Repeaters need to be added only after every 50 km as compared to 5 km in copper wires.
  • Fiber optic cables are not affected by electromagnetic interferences and power fluctuations. They are minimally affected by power failures.
  • Fiber optic cables are much more secured since they cannot be tapped easily.
  • As fiber cables are made up of glass, they very less affected by the corrosive chemicals. Hence they are much suited to harsh factory conditions in comparison to copper wires.
  • Fiber cables are thin and lightweight. A fiber cable weighs around 4 lbs/1000 ft as compared to 39 lbs/1000 ft weight of copper cable.
  • The life cycle of fiber cables is 30-50 years, which is much higher than copper cables.

Disadvantages of Fiber Optics Cables over Copper Wires

  • Fiber optic cabling is a newer technology with not much expertise. So, installation and maintenance is not as easy as copper wires.

  • Copper cables and connectors are much cheaper than fiber optic cables and connectors. Also, copper has excellent resale value. Since any technology is constrained to cost, need for deployment of fiber optic cables has to be justified before installation.

  • Propagation of signals in fiber optic cables is unidirectional. For two way communication two cables are needed.

karthikeya Boyini
karthikeya Boyini

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