Fiber Vs. Cable Internet: Choose the One Best for You

Today, every business setup needs a solid internet connection to ensure better output and efficiency. Usually, you can access the internet in various ways: DSL, Satellite, Fiber optic, and cable connections. Most of these options are readily available, and however, the speed and quality among these are pretty varied. Let’s look at the two most popular connections, fiber vs. cable internet, in detail. 

What is cable internet?

Cable internet uses coaxial cables for internet connections. These cables consist of three layers. Firstly, there is an outer plastic layer, and the innermost one is the copper core, and the middle layer is an insulating sheath. The body carries data waves. 

Coaxial cables from all homes reach a fixed convergence point and share bandwidth. This fixed point is called the utility pole. Finally, these cables connect to the leading fiber network of the Internet Service Provider. Due to this shared connection, speed gets affected. When you use several links at the same time, there is network congestion. 

Despite all this, cable connections are faster and more reliable than DSL and satellite. Further, it is readily available. 

What is a Fiber Internet?

fiber network server

Image: fiber network server

Fiber internet uses fiber-optic cables for internet connections, and this technology uses tiny, elastic strands of plastic or glass. The inner cladding of fiber optic cables is reflective like glass, and it helps in carrying the light signals. 

This arrangement helps it to transmit signals even if there are bends or curves in the cable. A single line can hold several optical fibers, and these fibers transmit data in the form of ones and zeroes. At the receiving end, these signals convert into the data. With this morse-code-like method, it helps in easy and long-distance data transmission.

Fiber cables have more bandwidth than copper cables of the same size. Further, you can transmit data smoothly in optical fibers, and there is no power line disturbance in it. The optical fiber network is the latest technology in internet connections, and however, laying optical fiber internet is a slow and expensive process.  

Cable Vs. Fiber Internet: Speed

Undoubtedly, fiber internet is faster than cable internet. However, that doesn’t mean that the cable is of no use. It can reach up to a maximum speed of 1,000Mbps which is good enough. However, optical fibers can handle more bandwidth than cable connections. 

One major drawback with the cable is its unequal speed. It means it has different upload and download capacities. Usually, upload bandwidth is much less than the download bandwidth. Asymmetric speed does not matter when you are using the internet alone. However, when more than one person uses the internet at home, symmetric speeds become essential.

Fiber Optic Vs. Cable Internet: Distance

In copper cables, signals degrade with the distance. On the contrary, optical fibers maintain the quality of data for long distances. Thus, most long-haul networks use fiber optics. For example, cell phone towers use fiber optic cable for connecting, and some fiber connections can transmit data up to 25 miles. 

Fiber Optical vs. Coaxial Cable: Bandwidth

Bandwidth measures the amount of data that a cable can transfer at once, and the bandwidth is also an essential factor in internet connections.

Copper cables can transmit limited electric signals at once, and however, a same-size optical fiber can carry many more light signals at once. With this high bandwidth, you can enjoy activities with high data demands. Some of them are HD video streaming, sharing large files, or video conferences. 

college students using internet connection

Image: college students using internet connection

Fiber Optic vs. Cable Internet: Latency

Latency refers to the minor delays during data transmission. While passing through each system across the network, data takes some time, and thus, as it reaches the final destination, there is some delay. For web-based applications, latency is a significant issue. 

With the increase in latency, there is a decline in the performance of

  • Groupware 
  • Web-based applications
  • Telecom applications
  • Downloading and uploading of large files

Fiber optic cables have lower latency than coaxial cables. With fiber internet, file transfers become easy and faster.

Fiber vs. cable: Availability 

You will notice both Fiber optic and cable internet mainly in metro cities. However, cable connections are more prevalent, and fiber optic internet is new and expensive, thus less available.

Facts reveal that only around 36 % of Americans have access to optic fiber. On the other hand, about 80% of Americans can access cable broadband. 

Fiber optic vs. cable: Reliability

A reliable internet connection is the need of every business, and the delivery of products and services for many companies depends on the internet. Further, it would help if you had a reliable connection for customer support, and a lost or interrupted connection can lead to dissatisfied customers and losses. 

Cable networks can result in internet slowdowns due to several reasons such as:

  • Bad weather
  • Loss of power
  • Power line disturbances in the electric signals of the cable

On the other hand, fiber optic internet is quite reliable. As the signals pass in the form of light, there is no electric disturbance. Further, the network also stays active even when there are lots of users at one time.

Fiber Vs. Coaxial cable: Data Security

Every business needs to ensure the safety and security of customer data. The protection of data provides minimal exposure. Data security breaches can lead to several problems. Thus, a secure internet connection is what you need. The coaxial cable connection uses electric signals, and hackers are pretty clever in tapping these signals. As a result, your data can get leaked. 

On the contrary, fiber optic networks use light beams to transmit data. Thus, hackers cannot hack a fiber optic cable, and a fiber-optic network gives improved protection due to its hardware.

Fiber Vs. Cable Internet: Price

A fiber cable network is a bit more expensive than a cable network because of high-speed internet. However, if you do not need top speed, cable networks are enough. In cable connections, you get different speed tiers. As a result, you can choose one depending on your requirement. So, you can get a less expensive plan with cable connections.

Copper Cable vs. Fiber Optic Cable: High-Definition Video Options

During the COVID pandemic, people worked from home. Meetings, training, and sales calls were all on the internet. Many companies saw this work from home concept working in their favor. This drastically reduced training and travel expenses. As a result, they are seriously considering working from home in the future. For this, they are opting for a fiber optic internet connection. It makes high-definition video options easy and feasible. 

A girl waving hand during a video call

Image: A girl waving hand during a video call

Fiber Optic vs. Cable Internet: Signal Strength

In any business setup, the internet signal enters from a single point. However, as it moves throughout the building, the signal strength decreases. Some remote areas do not receive weak alerts. This weakening of signals is more prominent in the cable network, and a fiber optic cable faces less signal strength loss.

Fiber Optic vs. Cable: Symmetrical Internet Connections

With symmetrical internet connections, you get the same upload and download speeds. When using in-home, you need downloading speed. So, unequal speed connections can work, and however, businesses need equal upload and download speed.

There are several activities in businesses such as:

  • Sending large files to cloud store
  • Uploading high-definition videos
  • Interacting with customers through a video call
  • Sending data to cloud-based apps.
  • Uploading and downloading large amounts of data together

All these activities need high download and upload speeds. Fiber optic internet provides symmetrical connections.

Fiber Optic vs. Cable Internet: Connection to Cloud Storage

Business institutions collect a large amount of official data over time. You can store it in several hard drives or opt for another option, or store all your data information in the cloud. You can access cloud-stored data anytime, anywhere. However, it needs a smooth internet connection, and a fiber-optic network gives you nonstop data. Thus, you can access your critical data without any issue.

Further, buying several storage devices is any day more expensive than paying specific fees for cloud storage.

Cable Vs. Fiber: Setup and Equipment Comparison

Installing a cable connection is easy if your home has wiring of coaxial cables. However, it would help if you had a professional for an optical fiber connection. He will install new lines and an optical network terminal, which translates fiber signals into usable data.

In a cable network, a cable modem does this translation. You can either purchase or take this device on rent from your ISP. The device acts as a modem as well as a router. The modem translates the electric signals in this, and the router creates a wi-fi network to distribute the signals.

Conclusion

As you can see from the above comparison, there are pros and cons with fiber and cable internet. The cable network is cheaper and more available, but the thread is faster and reliable.  You need to choose the one that gives you the best results in terms of money and requirements. If you need any help, Cloom is here to help you. We deal in high-quality wiring harnesses and cable assemblies to support your network.

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