Copper Vs Glass

Elements of Network Performance: Copper vs. Glass in the Structured Cabling Mix

OK, glass isn’t really an “element”; so, we should really be talking copper (Cu) vs. silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2). And, when we’re talking about the glass option for network structured cabling, we’re really talking about Fiber Optic cable. Beyond the technical terminology, some elemental calculations actually makes a compelling case for consideration of fiber optic vs copper cabling (e.g. Cat5/Cat6 ), with distance and speed at the heart of the matter.

Here’s a quick rundown on the numbers behind copper and fiber:

Fiber Optic vs Copper CablingFiber is becoming an increasingly viable option for enterprise networks and LANs, especially with the growing case for Passive Optical Networks (PONs). The exponential distance and bandwidth performance of fiber opens up a range of  options for next-generation network infrastructure design.

Beyond distance and bandwidth advantages, fiber optic cable can have a broader business impact and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), factoring reduced network hardware components and footprint (i.e. wiring closets and switches); efficiencies in energy consumption, space, and weight; as well as installation and security benefits. While it’s not right for every scenario and environment, fiber optic cabling should be considered in the mix, and may make sense to implement incrementally in a  predominantly copper cable environment.

Datatrend Network Services consultants can help you assess options and fit for copper and fiber optic structured cabling, factoring your existing network infrastructure environment, as well as budget, requirements and goals. Contact us for a consultation.

For a deeper dive comparison of copper and fiber, check out our latest Trendsetter newsletter article, “Traditional Copper Ethernet or Emerging Glass Fiber?” And, subscribe to receive future Trendsetter issues in your inbox.