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What are fiber optic cables and how they differ from metal wiring?

Fiber optic connectivity has ushered in a new world of high speed voice, video and data communications. Since the invention of the electromagnet and the telegraph in the 1820s, electrical wiring has utilized copperhigh conductivityhigh tensile strength and high ductility. Copper is great for electrical applications, but when it comes to network and telecom situations optical fiber wins.

Fiber optic is a technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data. A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.

Fiber optic cabling


  • Much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data.
  • Less susceptible than metal cables to interference.
  • Much thinner and lighter than metal wires.
  • Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically.
  • Fiber optic cabling


    Fiber optic is a particularly popular technology for local-area networks. In addition, telephone companies are steadily replacing traditional telephone lines with optical fiber cables.

    These cables can transmit far more information, with a greater degree of fidelity, over greater distances. And since it’s harder to “tap” than copper, it has the added benefit of extra security for the data being transmitted.

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