copper cable

Advantages of Fiber-Optic Internet vs. Copper Cable

copper cable

We are in an age of vast internet options. Long gone are the days when we would shut down our phone service each night to log onto our incredibly slow internet connections. If you remember these days, you will never forget that sound of logging in to your computer to go on the internet. That dial up tone will never be forgotten.

These days, we have options ranging from DSL to satellite, to cable, to fiber optic. Each comes with specific advantages and disadvantages, depending on where you live. But, when all options are available to you, which one stands above the rest? 

Fiber optic cables transmit data much faster than copper cables. If it is available in your area, fiber delivers a whole host of advantages over cable. It’s called the speed of light for a reason.

Let’s take a closer look at what fiber and cable broadband service has to offer and some of the benefits associated with each.

Advantages of fiber over copper cable

Fiber optic connections have been the gold standard over the past couple of decades and it’s definitely a game changer. Much of the world’s internet infrastructure has transitioned to fiber optic cables in recent years, meaning big things for the way we work and play online. So that might have you asking yourself, what is the advantage of fiber optic internet over copper cable?

Let’s dive in to find the answers.

Bandwidth

Fiber optic cables deliver much more bandwidth than their copper counterparts. In the fiber optic cable vs copper cable debate, this may be the most significant advantage for fiber. That’s because increased bandwidth delivers a number of important benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of fiber’s increased bandwidth over copper cable in everyday situations.

Faster speeds

More bandwidth translates into faster internet speeds and greater reliability, so it’s seen by most users as a big advantage. Copper cables max out at about 40 Gbps download speed, while fiber connections are so fast that their max speeds are currently hypothetical and are measured in the thousands of Tbps. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll achieve those speeds, but as internet speeds continue to increase, upgrading now will ensure you’re ready for them.

Also, the upload and download speeds on fiber are nearly identical. With a copper connection, your uploads have to fight against the current, meaning you get much slower upload speeds than download speeds. If your internet usage relies upon fast upload speeds, fiber is a much better option. You’ll be able to play your online games seamlessly and upload videos in a fraction of the time it takes with a traditional copper cable.

Better for multiple connected devices 

We all have numerous connected devices these days, and each device uses a portion of the bandwidth available to us. If you’ve got four people streaming video in a house with lots of connected appliances and smart speakers, your bandwidth can get eaten up quickly. Fiber optic cables provide enough bandwidth so everyone in the neighborhood can binge their favorite shows without waiting on buffering.

Increased reliability

All these benefits add up to increased reliability of your internet connection. When you aren’t waiting for sites to load or videos to buffer, you can get a whole lot more accomplished in the same amount of time.

Increased signal strength

Aside from increased bandwidth, another great advantage of fiber cables is increased signal strength. The electronic signals pulsing through copper cables weaken considerably over long distances, giving fiber another edge over copper cables. 

A fiber cable can transmit signals lighting fast over 60 miles and utilizes boosters to keep the signals strong for the next 60. The fiber infrastructure is built so there is essentially zero loss in signal strength over the entire span of the cable, something that cannot be said about copper cables.

Preparing for the future

Fiber optic cable is considered to be future proof. You may be able to save money in the short term by going with copper cable but if you plan to remain in your home for any length of time, you will eventually want to make the switch, and doing so now will ensure your home is ready for the future of broadband technology. Just remember, sometimes the cheaper option isn’t the best option and can cost you more in the future. We recommend doing it right the first time.

Even if you plan on moving in the next few years, a fiber internet connection is a big draw for many buyers and can help you get a little more for your home when the time comes to sell.

Advantages of copper cable

copper cable

With all the advantages that go along with fiber optic cable, one would wonder why anyone would choose copper cable for internet. There are some short term advantages associated with copper, so if you aren’t ready to dip your toes in the fiber world, you can still get decent internet service using your older equipment.

The infrastructure is already laid

One advantage of going with copper is that the wires are likely already run through your home. But, those savings will be offset by choosing a transmission medium (fiber optics) that’s set up for the future.

Dealing with damaged cables

Did you make a mistake while digging in your yard and find yourself calling your local provider saying, “ I accidentally cut my internet cable, what should I do?” You aren’t alone as this happens every now and then. It’s a scary scenario encountered by more than a few gardeners and DIY enthusiasts. Since the construction of fiber optic and copper cables are fundamentally different, repairing a cut or broken cable looks different depending on the type of cable. 

Repairing a cut fiber optic cable or copper cable

A cut fiber optic cable is much more difficult to repair than a copper cable, but we still recommend calling 24-7 & West Wisconsin Telcom to help you fix them to ensure it is repaired correctly and prevent future issues. 

Repairing cut cables involves many specialized tools, solid technical knowledge, and a good deal of time and patience. We also recommend that you should not watch tutorials on how to fix a cut cable line on the web as they don’t explain it fully and overall you could cause even more harm. Not to mention too that it can also be very unsafe.

If you find that you’ve accidentally severed your fiber connection, you’re much better off hiring a skilled technician like us to repair it. 

Hybrid models

If you don’t have a fiber connection all the way to your home the copper cable will create a bottleneck that restricts your speeds and bandwidth. You won’t get the full impact of the fiber optic cable’s advantages, and what is a big advantage to using fiber-optic cable if you aren’t going to make the most of it? If you want to increase your bandwidth and achieve the fastest speeds now and in the future, you’ll have to have fiber optic cables run all the way to your home and eliminate the bottleneck.

Taking your pick

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with all the things fiber and copper cable internet connections have to offer, you’ll be ready to decide which type of broadband is right for you. If you’re serious about your internet speeds and ensuring your connection is ready for the future of internet technology, choosing fiber now is going to give you the most longevity.

Make sure to contact your local provider to see if fiber is currently available in your area and if it isn’t, ask when they expect it to be available. The optical fiber cable vs copper cable debate is here and fiber is the clear winner.