Why We Choose Fiber Cable Over Copper Cable?

When selecting networking cable for your project, fiber cable or copper cable as shown below, which one do you prefer? Actually, both of them have advantages and specific features. Copper cable has already existed in many places and it is economical in network devices connection. However, with the dramatic reduction of optical deployment cost, optical fiber cable has become one of the most popular mediums for both new cabling installation and upgrades, including backbone, horizontal, and even desktop applications. There are several advantages which make fiber cable a more enticing infrastructure solution than its copper counterpart. This passage will present five reasons for the choice in optical fiber cable instead of copper cable.



Copper cable has very limited bandwidth that is perfect for voice signals transmission, since it is made of copper which will cause high loss at high frequencies. However, optical fiber cable, consisting of glass, provides more bandwidth than copper cable and has standardized performance more than 10Gbps (some special-designed fiber optic cable can support data rate of 40Gbps, or even 100Gbps). More bandwidth means optical cable can carry more information with greater fidelity than copper cable. For example, a cat6a cable can only support the maximum link length of up to 100 m at data rate of 10Gbps, while a multimode fiber optic cable can support the maximum link length of up to 10 km at the same data rate of 10Gbps.

Speed and Distance

Fiber optic cable transmission versus copper cable transmission can be boiled down to the speed of photons versus the speed of electrons. Copper cable uses electric waves to send signals, which makes it only suitable for short distance transmission, since the electric signals will start to break down when applied to higher speed and greater distance applications. However, the fiber optic signal is made of light, which will cause little signal loss during transmission, allowing data to move at higher speeds and greater distances. Therefore, Fiber optic cable does not have the 100-meter distance limitation like copper cable, and its distances can range from 550 meters to 40 km, depending on different cable types (single-mode fiber or multimode fiber), different data rates and different wavelengths. The following image shows different bandwidth and distance of fiber cable and copper cable.

distance-and-bandwidth of fiber cable and copper cable


The data transmitted over the fiber are always safe. Eavesdropping on a LAN using copper cables only requires a sensitive antenna to pick up the energy radiated from the cable. Since fiber optic cable doesn’t transmit electricity, it won’t radiate energy and cannot be tapped by an antenna, while the copper cable using electricity is easy to be tapped which will cause the entire system to fail. The optical fiber does not produce EMI, so it cannot catch on fire. Besides, you will not have to worry about replacing fiber cables as frequently as copper cables. Because the fiber core is made of glass, the optical fiber won’t break as easily as copper based cable.

Immunity and Reliability

There are a number of factors that can cause outages when an organization is reliant on copper cable-based network, such as temperature fluctuations, severe weather conditions, and moisture. However, fiber cable is completely immune to these environmental factors that makes it extremely reliable in data transmission. You can use armored fiber cable in some harsh environment, and there is also bend water-proof fiber patch designed for weather exposure conditions. What’s more, fiber cable is also impervious to electrometric interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI), crosstalk, impedance problems and so on. You can apply fiber cable next to industrial equipment without worry.


A few years ago, the overall price of fiber cables was 100% to 200% higher than copper cables. With the maturity of production technology, the cost for fiber cables, components, and hardware has steadily decreased. Fiber cable is certainly more expensive compared to copper cable when you are looking at it on a short term basis, but cheaper in the long term, since fiber cable costs less to maintain and needs less networking hardware compared to its copper counterpart.


With its wide bandwidth, high speed, long distance, great security and reliability, as well as low cost, fiber cable has already replaced the copper cable in many aspects of networking. As fiber optic connectivity improves, fiber construction will become more convenient. FS.COM provides a wide range of fiber optic cables for different applications. If you have related needs, please kindly visit FS.COM or contact sales@fs.com.


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