Fiber Optics vs. Coaxial Cables


Traditional cable companies use coaxial cables (also referred to as copper cables) to provide service for homes and businesses. But some service providers are using newer technology: fiber-optic networks.

Both coaxial cables and fiber optics can provide homes and businesses with Internet, TV and phone service – so what’s the difference between the two?

Here is a comparison of cable vs. fiber-optic Internet technology:

Fiber optics are significantly faster than coaxial cables

Although optical fibers are hair-thin, they have the capacity for greater bandwidth than traditional cables. Fiber technology has transformed the way we transmit data, video and voice.

Fiber optics are more eco-friendly than coaxial cables

The copper cables stored in data centers produce a significant amount of excess heat. This requires cooling systems to work harder to keep the center at an appropriate temperature.

Fiber-optic technology, on the other hand, does not generate excess heat. Therefore, not as much energy is required to cool down the data centers.

Additionally, fiber-optic cables require less insulation and jacketing than copper cables. Heavy metals are often used in wire insulation and jacketing, and it’s better for the environment to avoid using these materials when possible.

Fiber optics are the technology of the future

Fiber-optic Internet simply provides more bandwidth than cable. With more bandwidth, fiber optics more easily allow for data-heavy Internet tasks that you regularly perform – such as online gaming, streaming TV shows and movies, video chatting and more.

As more and more devices in the home require an Internet connection, it is possible that coaxial cables will not be able to support households’ Internet demands. Fiber-optic Internet will be able to support more bandwidth-intensive activities.

Finally, fiber optics are typically upgraded through advancements to the electronic light pulse technology, not by replacing the cable equipment. For this reason, fiber is considered “futureproof” – the technology can easily evolve.

Fiber optics offer more secure communication than coaxial cables

One benefit of fiber-optic technology is increased security. It is more difficult to tap fiber-optic cables than traditional copper cables. It would be hard to to tap fiber-optic cables without also disrupting the system.

Additionally, the signals of fiber-optic cables are considered dielectric and do not transmit electricity. This makes data interception very difficult compared to the electromagnetic signals of coaxial cables.


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This post was written by the Beacon team.

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