The Internet is the lifeline of any business but there are only a few people who know the difference between the existing broadband technologies. Fiber Optic and Cable are the fastest and most popular mediums or lines to deliver internet to your place. To facilitate the latest multimedia apps, downloading and uploading of large-size files, VOIP, playing high-end games, or handling any latest technologies, you need high speed and a reliable internet connection. Picking the right internet connection depends on many factors apart from just speed requirements. Find these vital factors and the difference between Fiber Optic and Cable Internet technologies as you read along.
What is Cable Internet
It is a high-speed internet connection that is perfect for video streaming and the latest data-hungry applications. The internet data travels through a coaxial cable made of copper. Cable Internet service providers include Cable TV operators who transmit both the TV signal and Internet data via the same co-axial line. The coaxial cable originates from a CMTS (cable modem terminus system) at the TV operator’s place and connects to a cable modem at the user’s home or office.
What is Fiber Optic
Fiber optic broadband is an emerging technology that offers many advantages over a cable internet connection. This is a much faster and more secure way to transfer data over longer distances without any attenuation (data loss). For installation, you need a fresh laying of cables to the office and need to be done by a professional. The cable used for communication consists of an inner core and exterior cladding. The core consists of hair-like thin glass wires hence these are also called optical cables. The data travels in the form of light in an optical fiber cable which is converted to electrical signals at the user end.
Fiber Optic Vs Cable Comparison
In the case of Cable Broadband Internet connection, the Internet service provider uses the already laid out infrastructure that is used for TV transmission. The Cable TV service provider transmits the data over the same co-axial cable that is used for cable TV. The best part is that the two signals do not interfere with each other. So, the installation in the case of Cable Internet is quick and cost-effective.
For receiving the internet over fiber optic cable you need a network of Optical cables reaching your location. The service provider will need to lay down new cables from scratch and the cost of installation and subscription is higher than Cable Internet.
Cable Internet has a widespread network due to the cable TV network which is already established in most parts of the globe. The fiber optic network, on the other hand, is comparatively a new broadband technology and may not be available in remote areas. You need to check the availability at your location before choosing a particular Internet service.
Cable Internet which transmits data over copper wires is highly prone to electrical interference from power wires or high-voltage equipment. During power outages, the cable internet is bound to disrupt and the same is not true about Fiber cable broadband since the fiber is made of glass and does not conduct electricity. So, fiber cable Internet is more reliable and experiences minimal data loss.
Cable Internet is considered a fast broadband Internet compared to DSL. The speed varies from 20 Mbps to 100 Mbps. One limitation of cable Internet is that it is being shared by the people located around you and speed often drops during peak usage hours. The fiber optic-based Internet which has the capacity of travelling long distances without any data-loss offer much higher speeds. The download and upload speeds of fiber optic Internet vary from 150 Mbps to 500 Mbps. The fiber optic Internet maintains the same speed even on simultaneous streaming and downloading of data by multiple users.
If we compare fiber optic and cable Internet, Cable Internet is the cheaper option among both. The primary reason is the availability of ready-made infrastructure and moreover, the Cable TV operators offer bundle deals that include TV, phone, and Internet services. Riding on high speed, reliability, and high infrastructure costs, the overall subscription rate of fiber optic Internet is on the higher side.
The coaxial cable network is expensive to maintain and as discussed earlier they are prone to disturbances from nearby high voltage wires or equipment. Most Cable TV operators have already switched to hybrid networks consisting of both coaxial and fiber cable networks. Apart from low availability, fiber optic Internet has been a winner on all other parameters and is going to meet most of the wired internet demands of business and home.