Fiber vs. Cable: Differences Between The Two Connectivity Technologies Of The Future

Network technologies that bring connectivity to our homes have evolved rapidly in recent years. In a little over a decade, we have gone from outdated analog modems to later different versions of xDSL (ADSL and VDSL) with maximum speeds of several tens of Mbps.

However, the rapid deployments in fiber optic and coaxial cable networks in multiple regions in recent months are reaching many of our homes (but not all) connections that exceed 100 Mbps, opening the door to new types of services beyond simple Internet access. What differences are there between these two technologies? Is fiber or cable better? Which one offers more possibilities?

Fiber Optics: A Bright Future

It is basically a thread made of a transparent material, usually glass or plastic, through which pulses of light are sent, representing the binary data to be transmitted. The theoretical principle on which the propagation of light along the fiber is based is known as Snell’s Law, which explains the refractive phenomena produced by light when passing through different media with different physical properties in

Coaxial Cable: Still A Lot To Say

Unlike fiber optics, in coaxial cables, data is transported by electrical signals, making them not at all immune to electromagnetic interference and much more susceptible to signal attenuation due to cable losses due to their length. Hence the need to place regenerators or amplifiers in each section of a few tens or hundreds of meters.

In most cases, coaxial cable is just the tip of the iceberg of the entire network installation. That is, it is the means used in the last section that reaches the customer’s home, in the last hundreds of meters, and that we connect to a cable-modem that usually acts as a router. This is what is known as HFC (Hybrid Coaxial Fiber) networks, which some operators try to sell as pure optical fiber, although they clearly are not.

However, today and taking into account the current real needs of domestic consumers, both technologies are very valid, being able to provide us with a good 1bet2u connection with speeds of more than 100, 200, or 300 Mbps without problems. However, the extensive capabilities of fiber optics will ensure that in a few years, we have at symmetrical home connections of more than 1 Gbps, although it is something else that we can take advantage of them.

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