The Battle of the Cables: Fiber vs. Copper

Today, most telecommunication networks depend on one of two types of cables for delivering Internet: fiber or copper. For anyone unfamiliar with one term or the other (or someone who is simply interested in learning more about what each brings to the table), it could be helpful to flesh out the differences between each. After all, each boasts quite an interesting history and can be used for different purposes.

Perhaps you’re currently utilizing copper cables and are interested in the benefits that fiber can afford. If you are you’re not alone, as many businesses have been actively pursuing this initiative. To help, read on for the ultimate need-to-know guide about these two core cables.

How Does Each Work?

Copper cables transmit information as an electrical signal. Meanwhile, fiber optic cables transmit data digitally via light from a laser or light-emitting diode (LED). The data travels along the cable via Total Internal Reflection, meaning it bounces from one side of the glass’ inner surface to enable it to move along the path to reach its final destination. 

What Industries Use Each?

Copper cable is mainly used to manufacture electrical wire and cable conductors. This includes power generation, transmission and distribution. An example of this can be seen in the electrical wiring within a commercial building.

On the other hand, fiber is heavily relied on for network connectivity. In fact, companies can lease or sell unused fiber to providers who are searching for service in a specific area.

How Much Bandwidth Can Each Hold?

Fiber optic cables are known to carry far more data with much greater bandwidth than copper. Although more advanced techniques may enable copper to carry more data than it could in the past, it still doesn’t match the power of fiber optic cables. For example, the very first generation of fiber optic cables was able to carry 280 megabits of data per second – even going so far as being able to transmit terabits (millions of megabits) of data per second. Meanwhile, copper cables were only able to carry 2.5 megabits per second – or only a fraction of what fiber could do.

Main Differences between Copper and Fiber

Beside the fact that copper cables are antiquated when compared to fiber technology (dating all the way back to the 1820’s with the invention of the telegraph), they are also more vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. Because fiber transmits data by light and not metal, it is not affected or threatened in this way. For this reason, copper cables also offer less efficiency and pose a greater risk of signal disruption. Additionally, as mentioned above, fiber transmits data at over 100x faster than standard copper cables. Fiber is almost inherently very strong and certainly more so than copper.

If you’re looking to make the move to fiber cables to ensure high speed Internet, you should first ensure that your provider is a long-term reliable professional. Click here to schedule a consultation with Wolfe today.

Wolfe End of the Year Recap

It’s unbelievable to think that yet another year is coming to a close. Throughout 2013, we kept our eyes on some important happenings throughout the Ethernet space and have been speculating on where they may be headed in the future.

To dig a bit deeper, we sat down with our very own General Manager Michael Scott, who divulged what he thinks were the highlights of 2013, what these new trends could mean moving forward, and what we can expect from Wolfe in the coming year.

Q: What do you think are the largest trends to emerge in the Ethernet and network connectivity spaces over the course of 2013?

We’ve seen significant growth in terms of the amount of connectivity that’s out there. That has really impacted our business in the number of opportunities that have been sent our way and the partnerships we’re delivering on. [This growth] far outpaced the expectations that we originally had at the beginning of the year. We had some ideas about where it was going, but the tremendous growth seen over the course of 2013 blew those out of the water.

Q: Where do you see these trends heading in 2014?

This tremendous growth is far likely to stop now. We see it only continuing further into 2014 and beyond.

Q: What’s the single most exciting thing you see happening in the above spaces in the near future – be it 2014 or beyond?

Small carriers will win over 2014. Companies like us have been gaining significant traction over the larger, more well-known carriers. This will be even more of a win for the smaller guys because smaller carriers are more nimble and they have more time to adapt to newer standards and trends than the larger carriers do.

Given the amount of small carriers jumping into the game and gaining traction over the competition, I think 2013 was just the start and in 2014, we’re going to see it explode even more so. For example, we were able to be more nimble, adopt different standards faster and get them to market faster.

After spending a few minutes with Scott to pick his brain on the industry as a whole, we briefly discussed what Wolfe has been up to this year. It seems that 2013 may have been one of our company’s busiest and most successful yet.

Not only is Wolfe in the midst of a 100 Gigabit backbone deployment – nationwide from Washington to Chicago to Atlanta to New York – but Scott explained that the company is also implementing a super point of presence (POP) in Las Vegas.

“We also have plans in early 2014 to branch into Dallas and Miami as well as Phoenix,” he says. The company will also be rolling out a white label IT service with a data center company that boasts over 15 data centers worldwide. Scott says that customers can expect to learn more about this come January and February.

“It’s an exciting time,” he says. “There are quite a few things on our plate that we continue to make progress in. It’s only going to make it that much more successful for the end-user.”

The 12 Days of High-Speed Ethernet

We’re currently neck deep in all things holiday season; cups of hot cocoa are by the fireplace, stockings are being hung, and we’re listening to good old holiday jingles. With the holiday season in full swing, the Wolfe team thought it would be fun to play off one such traditional song and take a look at the 12 ways that businesses can benefit from high speed Ethernet service.

On the first day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: a solution that was customizable to my business’ needs.

On the second day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: heightened employee productivity (i.e. faster communication, outreach, collaboration and audio and video communications).

On the third day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: the ability for employees to work from home during the busy holiday week.  

On the fourth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: amazing network security.

On the fifth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: five hours of uninterrupted video streaming.

On the sixth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: unwavering reliability.

On the seventh day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: the gift of truly fast speed.

On the eighth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: guaranteed business continuity.

On the ninth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: a better competitive edge.

On the tenth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: higher customer satisfaction and retention.

On the eleventh day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: huge cost savings

On the twelfth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: Bandwidth levels up to 100 Gb/s.

But business owners shouldn’t be reflecting on the benefits of high speed Ethernet for just 12 days – they should be doing so every day. Click here to request a consultation with Wolfe to realize even more benefits and ways to amplify your existing service with a fiber optic Ethernet connection.