Fiber Optic Cables Vs Ethernet Cables: What Is the Difference?

Wi-Fi is like love. Always in the air and ready to connect you with the fascinating digital world. But ever wondered what keeps it in the air? Well, just like any relationship has a foundation of understanding, a wireless network has a fiber cabling underneath that helps people to connect with the internet anytime they want to. The other most popularly used cable type is Ethernet cables. They are used everywhere right from IP camera technologies to LED lighting. These cables are quite cheaper as compared to fiber cables; but when one wants to have a huge and powerful network cable, fiber cables become necessary.


Both the cables have their advantages and disadvantages, specialties, and limitations. Through this blog, we will differentiate between the two and try to understand both in details:

History of Fiber & Ethernet Cables

The fiber optic technology was first used in 1969 when NASA sent it to the moon for use in television cameras. And a company named Xerox developed Ethernet in 1970. By the year 1980, it became popular and developed of a commercial value amongst its users. As people have embraced both the cable solutions for decades, they hold an equal importance.

Ethernet Cables – The Evolution

When introduced, Ethernet was extremely slow. It had the speed of around 10Mbps over 100 meters. Thereafter, when it formed an alliance with 802 IEE and became an industry standard, the speeds reached up to 10MBPS. Currently, as you all know it has the speed of 10 Gigabit. Some experts criticize the speed ratings of Ethernet for falling short of the real-world utility. Also, there isn’t a specific formula that you can apply for calculating the performance of Ethernet cables. It depends on various factors like collisions and line interferences which need applications for resending messages.

People widely use Ethernet cables, Long ethernet cable and the regular ethernet cables due to their cost-effective rates. So, the market for ethernet cables is always on the boom and the electrical engineers keep conducting R&D and come up with new cables at regular intervals. CAT5E, CAT6, CAT6A and CAT7 are the most commonly used ethernet cables.

Fiber Optic Cables – The Evolution

There are two major categories of Fiber Optic Technology. One, single and two, multi. Single mode cables make use of laser light for sending signals to remote places. They can reach the distance 50 times more than multimode. However, they are more expensive as compared to the latter. Diodes, on the other hand, transmit signals over multimode cables. These cables usually cover short distance with up to 10 Gigabits/s over the distance of 600 m or 2000 feet.

The best and the most effective single fiber links have the potential to reach the capacity of 100gbs. So, when it comes to transmitting data over long distances, Fiber cables are an ultimate choice. The only concern here is its costs. And hence, manufacturers must offer an economical way to use them.

Now that we have learnt about both the cables and their evolution, let us understand some basic differences between them.

Understanding the Basic Difference

When it comes to generating electricity over long distances, there is nothing like fiber cables. But, there are also certain drawbacks to it. Fiber cables do have brittle tendencies and tend to break. Also, they are more expensive as compared to Ethernet cables. Ethernet cables, on the other hand are quite swift with their working but they cannot go long distance. In case they are unshielded, they can attract a lot of interference.

So, which one do you choose out of the two? Well, it totally depends on your requirements. If you want to connect an ISP to a street cabinet, you would need fiber cables. This is because they consist of glass and it is possible to transmit a huge amount of data with fiber cabling. However, if you are installing a connection proximate to your residence, you can consider choosing ethernet cord.

Electromagnetic Interferences

Ever heard “Buzzzzzz” “Hummmmm” and “Crackle” sounds when you connect with your devices? Those are nothing but electromagnetic interferences. Now let us see how these interferences bother both the cables. CAT5 Ethernet cables, when unshielded, create interference in several devices including, microwaves, Bluetooth, RF and transformers. The best way to get over such interference issues is to choose shielded ethernet cables of higher grades including CAT5E, 6 and 7. To obtain better results, you can also pair shielded cables and connectors.

Fortunately, electrical interference has not been much of a problem with fiber optic cables. However, there are times when light pulses interfere with each other and are not monochromatic. This is when interference seeps in. To help the cables get over such issues, manufacturers keep improving the quality of cables with every new release.

The Speed Difference

You would say, nothing works as fast as my Wi-Fi connection does. So, it must be fiber. Well, you are kind of right. But, terabytes per second aren’t a major issue when you want to send a signal from living room to the kitchen anyway.

Conclusion

You can educate your customers about the specifications and features of both the cables. It is ultimately their decision as to what to buy. As the online retailers of these cables, we understand what clients want and make suggestions accordingly. If you have any questions about these products, feel free to ask us on sales@sfcable.com

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