Copper Cabling vs. Fiber Optic cabling
The most commonly used copper cables are Cat5e and Cat6. Cat5e cabling is able to support applications requiring bandwidth up to 100MHz and is also offered in a shielded version to prevent interference. Cat6 cabling supports applications requiring bandwidth up to 250MHz and is also available in a shielded version. Also Cat6 cabling is designed to support 1000Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet) (Oliviero, 2010). However, as cost efficient as copper cabling is compared to fiber optics, the maximum horizontal distance is only 90meters (Oliviero, 2010). So if you have a large building or organization you will need to account for the cost of additional hardware like patch panels etc.
Fiber optic cables have become very popular over the last ten ...view middle of the document...
Copper cabling is susceptible to eavesdropping through taps. Fiber optics are immune to this because they are not electromagnetic. There are three main types of fiber optic cabling, outdoors, indoors, and universal. In addition, there are three different types of cabling based on the number of fibers within the cabling, simplex, duplex and multi-fiber cables.
Still, there are some disadvantages to fiber optics as well. It is more expensive for one. To buy an Ethernet NIC for a pc would cost about $25. With fiber optics NIC for pc you can expect to pay around $100 or four times as much as the Ethernet NIC (Oliviero, 2010). In addition to the cost it is also more difficult to install fiber optic cabling. This is because the end must be polished to a flat perfection. Copper cabling ends simply need a mechanical connect and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Another downside to fiber optics is that they can be hazardous. When stripped of their coating layer, the strands are so small that shards or broken pieces of strand can easily penetrate the skin and even be carried by blood to other parts of the body (Oliviero, 2010).
In conclusion, when choosing between copper cabling and fiber optics you would want to assess the scope and bandwidth needs of your organization. If the organization is large with higher bandwidth needs then fiber optics would be the way to go as they have higher bandwidth and can be run over much longer spans. On the other hand, if the organization is smaller and has lower bandwidth needs then fiber optics may be a very costly overkill. In that situation I would recommend copper cabling Cat6. This would be very cost efficient choice for a smaller organization and would accommodate most bandwidth needs.
Oliviero, A. (2010). WCLS Oliviero/Cabling, 4e. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. P212, p220, p247, p250, p252, p254.