In just the last two years, Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) has purchased a significant amount of copper cabling for use in the NBN footprint. Many experts, including RMIT professors, have publicly gone against this decision due to the fact that fibre cabling is believed by many to be a superior product.
However, for those who aren’t as tech savvy as RMIT professors, the difference between copper and fibre cabling may not be obvious. In this blog, we’re going to discuss how fibre cabling works and the benefits of installing it. Hopefully, this will show you how advantageous fibre is and how it can help you with your daily life.
Fibre vs. copper
The main difference between these two products is that fibre uses pulses of light to carry data while copper wiring relies on electrical currents. By using light pulses, fibre cabling is able to transmit data at a much faster rate. Additionally, since light is less vulnerable to electromagnetic hindrances, it’s able to travel long distances without loss of quality. Copper signals on the other hand start to degrade after reaching a distance of over 200km.
Once the pulse reaches the end, the light is then converted into electronic information that then shows up as data on a receiving device.
Fibre is able to carry the light through the cables via glass or plastic pipes. To keep the light in, a glass or plastic cladding (of a higher density) is wrapped around the pipes. Lastly, an insulating material is added on the outside to protect the pipes and the cladding. The use of glass and plastic makes fibre cables much lighter and easier to handle in comparison to copper wiring.
Benefits of fibre cabling
- Faster internet and more bandwidth
Perhaps the two biggest benefits of fibre cabling are the faster internet speed and larger bandwidth. As mentioned above, the use of light pulses allows fibre able to transmit data at around 60-70% of the speed of light. Additionally, with each strand of glass or plastic, fibre cables can carry a significant amount of data. A single strand (which is around the diameter of a hair strand) is able to carry tens of thousands of phone calls. This means that if you have a cable with hundreds of strands, it will be able to carry millions of phone calls at a given time.
This speed and large bandwidth make fibre cabling perfect for those who are working from home. With fibre internet, you won’t have to worry about an influx of messages overworking your network and you won’t have to suffer through buffering video conferences.
- Better reliability
Since fibre optics are more flexible, it’s able to endure pull pressure better than copper wiring. Additionally, since the pipes are made from glass and plastic, they are not vulnerable to corrosion or freezing temperatures. As mentioned before, fibre optics are also unaffected by electromagnetic interference.
All these qualities make fibre cabling an extremely reliable alternative to copper wires. If you’re running a business, any sort of downtime can hurt your bottom line significantly. As such, sustained connectivity absolutely is essential for companies who rely on the internet to communicate with partners and clients. Indeed, fibre optics is the ideal internet solution for almost all businesses, big or small.
- Safer for properties
With copper wiring, an electrical current is constantly traveling through the cables. This means if the cable ever gets damaged, it could quickly become a fire hazard and cause significant property damage. Fibre, on the other hand, does not use an electrical current and so does not pose a fire hazard. It is a much safer alternative for both residential homes and businesses.
Unfortunately, there are older properties in Australia that still have copper wiring. If you’re looking to move into an older property, it’s important that you inspect the quality of the existing cabling. Old, worn-down copper wires can easily be damaged and therefore could easily start a fire.
- Data interception is less likely
Since fibre cable uses light pulses, it is a little more difficult for hackers to intercept data. Unlike metal wiring, fibre cables do not radiate signals. Because of this, one of the only ways to intercept information is to cut into the glass or plastic pipe. If a hacker were to do this, however, they will likely bring the whole network down and alert the users of a possible breach.
That being said, technology is improving at a rapid rate and data interception methods are becoming more and more advanced. Because of this, we recommended that you hire cyber security specialists to ensure the security of confidential information. This is especially important if you’re running a business at the office or at home. You wouldn’t want your intellectual property or financial information to be leaked.
Hopefully, this gave you a better understanding of how fibre cabling works. Since fibre is a much superior product than copper, it can be argued that metal wiring is now obsolete. So, if you’re looking to install a new network in your property, we would highly recommend hiring local fibre cabling specialists. Your internet experience will be much smoother, which in turn, will make your workflow more efficient.