The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which monitors economic trends in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and other developed regions, found that subscriptions to fiber optic broadband internet increased by about 13.9% from June 2012 to June 2013. This significant growth shouldn’t be too hard to understand as fiber optic cables are one of the best means to transmit data over long distances and at higher data rates than other cables.
In comparison to traditional copper wiring (which is more commonly found in homes) fiber optic cables offer much higher data rates and have the ability to reach longer distances. Copper wiring is typically installed in phone lines and cable TV services, which can make it more convenient, but fiber optic cable can transmit data at rates of 100 megabits per second to one gigabit per second.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for traditional copper cabling to meet growing bandwidth needs. As data traffic on wireless networks continues to explode — from 90,000 terabytes of traffic per month in 2012 to 3.6 million terabytes per month by 2014 — optical fiber’s scalability makes it the best choice going forward, hands down.
Not too long ago, such speeds would have been considered “overkill” for most internet connection needs. However, the advent of modern computing uses has made the need for 1Gbps or even 100Mbps broadband beneficial in homes today. The requirements for even a “basic” internet connection have steadily increased in recent years as online features such as streaming audio, streaming video, online backup, software updates, video chat, multiplayer games, animated GIFs, and more have become popular.
It may not look it, but pound-for-pound, fiber optic cable is one of the strongest and most durable of materials. Inch for inch it is even stronger than steel and more durable than copper. Every centimeter of optical fiber is strength tested at a minimum of 100,000 pounds per square inch to ensure its mechanical integrity. Corning’s Center for Fiber Optic Testing sets the industry standard for performance testing.
In fact, fiber optic cable is so strong and durable, experts in the industry aren’t even sure what the “theoretical lifespan” is for them. Fiber optic cable that was made and installed over 40 years ago is still in use today, and newer cables now being made are of even better quality. In other words, if you don’t already use optical fiber to connect to the internet, you may not be very far off from adding this feature to your home.