The Buyer’s Guide to Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic technology is one of the most exciting and most quickly-evolving technological fields today. While fiber optic cables have long been used for network infrastructure, they’re only just now becoming more available for home and business use. Here’s what you need to know about these cables as fiber to the home (FTTH) and fiber to the premises cables (FTTP) become more widespread.

What Does Fiber Optics Mean, Anyway?
Optical fibers transfer data using light as a medium, meaning your data literally travels at the speed of light! This is a major departure from other devices like Cat5e network cables or coaxial cables, which rely on electricity. In many ways, this makes fiber optics a safer technology as well as a faster one, since electrical fires, failures, and malfunctions resulted in about 53,600 home fires in 2008 alone. These caused 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.4 billion in damage. Frayed or damaged electrical cables are often a fire hazard.

Who Needs Fiber Optics?
Cat5e cables or Cat6 cables are generally sufficient for most home consumers when it comes to data transfer speeds. But people or businesses that require an especially large amount of bandwidth have common troubles with interference. They may also need to run cables over very long distances, which is why they may look to zipcord fiber optic cables instead.

What Kind of Cables Do I Need?
There are actually many different cable types for fiber optics. For the typical consumer, the most useful is zipcord fiber optic cable, which consists of two simplex cables webbed together. They can be used in tandem to keep the cables running together or can be pulled apart by hand for more bulk fiber optic cable to use wherever you need.

What Speeds Can I Get With Fiber Optics?
Compared to Cat 5e cables, which generally get a maximum 1Gbps speed, fiber optic cables can get up to 40Gbps, with less noise, interference, or signal loss. In other words, data is traveling at about 200,000 kilometers per second and getting better all the time with improved cabling technologies.

If you want to feel like you’re already living in the future, invest in some bulk fiber optic cables for all of your business network connections. The connections from fiber optic cables will have you feeling like you’re traveling at the speed of light.

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