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What’s the difference in Ethernet and Fiber Optic Cables?
What’s the difference in Ethernet and Fiber Optic Cables?

The internet is essential for communication and conducting business in today's modern world. High-speed Internet access can make a huge difference in the economic growth of a nation or a community.

Apart from wireless, two major ways data bandwidth is transmitted to homes or businesses are available: through Ethernet cables made of copper wires transmitting electrical impulses; and through fiber optic cable that transmits light using light.

What are the main differences between Ethernet cable or fiber optic cable? Fiber optics is faster than Ethernet cable. This guide is designed to answer all your questions.

What's the difference in Ethernet and Fiber Optic Cables?

Internet communication is essential to modern business. High-speed Internet access can make a huge difference in the economic growth of a nation or a community.

Apart from wireless, two major ways data bandwidth is transmitted to our homes or businesses are available: through Ethernet cables containing copper wires which transmit data with electrical impulses; and through fiber optic cable that transmits data using light.

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What are the main differences between Ethernet cable or fiber optic cable? Fiber optics is faster than Ethernet cable. We have created this guide to help answer these questions and many more.

Ethernet Cables

Ethernet is a standard that has been in use for some time. It was initially developed by Xerox around 1970s. It was commercially released in 1980. Ethernet uses copper cables to send data using an electrical impulse. Ethernet is known for being slower and more expensive than fiber optic cables. It is still true that Ethernet is slower than fiber optic cables, but it has made significant progress in improving its speed to deliver Internet access.

Ethernet speeds used to be limited at 10Mbps (Megabits/second). Today, however, Ethernet speeds can reach up to 100Mbps and Gigabit Ethernet can reach speeds as high as 1000Mbps. Cat 6 Ethernet cables have a maximum speed of 10Gbps. Although this speed is amazing, fiber optics are still faster.

Ethernet cables send data by electrical impulses. Most Ethernet cables belong to Cat 5. Cat 5 uses eight individual 24-gauge Copper group wires that are divided into four pairs. Copper wires transmit data directly. The combination of 1s & 0s in copper wires means that all data is transmitted.

Ethernet does have some drawbacks. It uses electrical signals so it is vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. Furthermore, hackers can intercept data sent by Ethernet at the hardware level. This can pose a privacy or security risk.

It is also possible to transmit data faster over copper wires than data using light (i.e. fibre optics).

Fiber Optics

While fiber optic cables might be a new method to deliver Internet to homes and businesses it is not new. The principles behind fiber optic cable delivery date back more than 100 years.

Fiber optic technology was used to create television cameras for the 1969 NASA Apollo 11 spacecraft mission to the Moon. Fiber optic cables are now used for data transfer over long distances, as well as high-speed data transfers for businesses that require the bandwidth.

How do fiber optic cables work then? Fiber optic cables consist of tiny strands formed from pure glass. The light that is transmitted through them transmits data via light, rather than through electrical impulses. They come in two types, single-mode as well as multi-mode.

Single-mode cable use laser light to transmit signals, while multimode cables use light-emitting devices (LEDs). Data can be represented as a mixture of 1s, 0s, as mentioned previously. Fiber optic cable means the light is either on, or off. It blinks very fast and indicates 0 when the lights are off and 1.

Standard fiber optic cables can transfer data at speeds between 10Mbps and 20Gbps. However, one strand of fiber optic cabling has been shown to be capable of transmitting data at speeds as high as 100 Tbps (Terabits every second). Fiber optic cables are usually made up of many strands. Each individual strand increases the data transfer rate.

Fiber optic cables are safer than Ethernet cables. They can be intercepted at the hardware level by hackers, which protects your data in transit.

Fiber optics can transmit data faster and more reliably that copper wires. This allows for more secure, reliable and reliable Internet access for home and business.

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