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What’s the difference between Ethernet and fiber optic cables? How do they work?
What’s the difference between Ethernet and fiber optic cables? How do they work?

Internet has been essential for modern communication and business. Access to high-speed Internet can have a profound impact on economic growth in a country or community.

There are two main ways data bandwidth can reach our homes and businesses, apart from wireless: via Ethernet cables with copper wires that transmit data with electrical impulses or through fiber optic cables that transmit data using light.

What are the differences in Ethernet cable and Fiber optic cables for transmitting data over Internet? How much faster does Fiber optics transmit data over the Internet? This guide answers all of these questions.

What's the difference between Ethernet and fiber optic cables? How do they work?

Internet has been essential for modern communication and business. Access to high-speed Internet can have a profound impact on economic growth in a country or community.

There are two main ways data bandwidth can reach our homes and businesses, apart from wireless: via Ethernet cables with copper wires that transmit data using electrical impulses or through fiber optic cables that transmit data using light.

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What are the differences in Ethernet cable and Fiber optic cables for transmitting data over Internet? How much faster does Fiber optics transmit data over the Internet? This guide answers all of these questions.

Ethernet Cables

Ethernet has been around since the 1970s. It was developed first by Xerox in 1970 and commercially introduced in 1980. Ethernet uses copper cables to transmit data via electrical impulse. It has been criticized for being slower than fiber optic cables. Although this is true, Ethernet has made great strides in becoming an easier way to deliver Internet access.

Ethernet speeds were limited to 10Mbps (Megabits per Second) at one time. Today, though, speeds up to 100Mbps are possible with "fast Ethernet", while Gigabit Ethernet is capable of delivering speeds of over 1000Mbps. Cat 6 Ethernet cables are capable of carrying up to 10Gbps. Fiber optics are much faster, though this is not lightning fast.

Ethernet cables transmit data via electrical impulses. Most Ethernet cables fall under Cat 5. This uses eight individual 24-gauge copper groupwires in four pairs within the cable. Copper wires transmit data quite directly, as a combination 1s and 2s represent all data. In copper wires, this means a variation in voltage.

Ethernet has its limitations. It transmits electrical signals and is therefore susceptible to electromagnetic interference. Data sent this way can also be intercepted at the hardware level by hackers. This can pose a privacy and security risk.

There are also inherent limitations to the speed at which data can be transmitted over copper wires. These limits are lower than those for data transmission using light (i.e. fiber optics).

Fiber Optics

Fiber optic cables are relatively new way to deliver Internet to homes or businesses. However, the principles behind fiber optical cables go back over 100 years.

Fiber optic technology was used in television cameras that were used during the 1969 NASA Apollo 11 mission. Fiber optic cables are used to transfer data over long distances and provide high-speed data transfer for businesses.

How does fiber optic cable work? Fiber optic cables are composed of tiny strands made of pure glass. They transmit data by light rather than electrical impulses. There are two types: single-mode and multiple-mode.

Multi-mode cables use light emitting diodes (LEDs), while single-mode cables use laser light for signals. Data is represented as a combination 1s and 0. This means that the fiber optic cable light can be either on or off. The light blinks extremely fast and represents 0 when it is off and 1 when it is on.

Fiber optic cables typically transfer data between 10Mbps to 10Gbps. However, a single strand can transmit data at speeds up to 100 Tbps (Terabits per Second). Fiber optic cables often contain many strands. Each strand multiplies the data the cable can transmit.

Fiber optic cables are more secure than Ethernet cables because hackers can't intercept data at the hardware level. This protects your data while it is transiting.

Fiber optics transmit data more quickly and reliably than copper wires. This makes fiber optics a safer, faster, more reliable Internet option for both homes and businesses.

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