It’s critical for any small business to have a fast, secure and reliable Internet connection, as well as a stable local network. If you don’t have a team of IT experts, there are many intricacies to consider when deciding which networking option best suits your business model. The challenge started with choosing between wireless (Wi-Fi) and wired local area network (Ethernet). Your decision regarding this matter should be based exclusively on what your particular needs are, the infrastructure in your area and the budget you’re ready to invest. Your next step is to determine whether your local network will be built on copper or fiber infrastructure.
Copper-based cabling is based on copper wires that transmit electrical current and is often affected by the weather conditions. It has a long-standing reputation of providing less speed. However, more recent higher quality copper cables, i.e. cable Category 5 and up, can provide good speeds within your wired network. However, you should keep in mind that copper cabling is susceptible to electromagnetic interferences, which means that lightning or radio signals can significantly affect networking efficiency. Bandwidth that copper provides (even higher quality copper cables) is more limited than fiber alternatives, and it decreases with the distance. Thinking of costs, copper can be more affordable solution, since it has been around much longer than fiber optics and is readily available. In some cases, it might be the only option if fiber cables are not already incorporated near your location. To learn more about the solutions available to you, it’s best to contact a local data cabling company which is familiar with the Internet access possibilities in your area.
Fiber Optic Cabling
Fiber cables consist of thin strands of optically pure glass which transmit information using light. Owing to this intrinsic characteristic, there are some advantages that make fiber more appealing than copper cables. Fiber optics have more bandwidth than copper. Secondly, they’re not susceptible to electromagnetic sources and are therefore more reliable. Optic cables are capable of carrying data over longer distances and there is practically no loss in signal strength. It might come as a surprise, but fiber cables can be more affordable than copper alternatives. However, accompanying electronics built in the rest of the network tend to be more expensive. If you are setting up your local computer network for the first time, fiber infrastructure could be a better option in the long run, despite the costs. It provides greater reliability and speed, and maintenance costs are significantly lower, considering that it is resistant to corrosion and environmental conditions.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are advantages and drawbacks to either option of cabling infrastructure. A rule of thumb is that if you need more bandwidth over longer distances, fiber optics are your best bet. We should also mention new modern hybrid technologies, which combine optical and electrical components. They are already being used in cellular systems, and are gaining more popularity and traction.