Pros and Cons of Fiber optics as local area network

Pros and Cons of Fiber optics as LAN

Fiber optics, or optical fiber, refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light pulses along a glass or plastic strand or fiber.

An optical fiber or optical fiber is a flexible, transparent fiber that can contain a varying number of these glass fibers -- from a few up to a couple hundred. Surrounding the glass fiber core is another glass layer called cladding. A layer known as a buffer tube protects the cladding, and a jacket layer acts as the final protective layer for the individual strand.

Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss; in addition, fibers are immune to electromagnetic interference, a problem from which metal wires suffer excessively. Fibers are also used for illumination and imaging and are often wrapped in bundles so they may be used to carry light into, or images out of confined spaces, as in the case of a fiberscope.

Specially designed fibers are also used for a variety of other applications, some of them being fiber optic sensors and fiber lasers.

The copper Ethernet cabling that has been a mainstay for signal communication for over one hundred years is slowly being replaced with fiber optic cabling. The process is slow, but as fiber optic cables and the equipment used on them becomes more affordable, the benefits over copper are becoming more and more apparent.

Let's see pros and cons of this Fiber optics to understand it better.


  • Fiber optic cabling is much lighter than copper, making it easier to transport and install, especially over distance.

  • The most obvious advantage to fiber optic cabling is bandwidth. No other cable-based data transmission medium offers the bandwidth that fiber does. The volume of data that fiber optic cables transmit per unit time is far greater than copper cables.

  • Copper cable is enormously expensive, far more than a one-time installation of fiber cabling.

  • Fiber optic cabling with today's technology can already provide many times more bandwidth per cable than today's copper cables.

  • The tight port density that fiber allows (the number of ports that can be lined up over the same amount of space) with connectors like the LC is far better than copper RJ45, especially when you consider MPO cables, which can have six, twelve, or more lines in one small connector.

  • Fiber optic cabling also offers a much larger transmission distance than copper cabling.

  • A single, unrepeated fiber optic signal can bridge vast distances between nodes, usually, far more than a single building or even campus would need, for example, a single mode cable can go up to 100 km with the right equipment.

  • Fiber is immune to external radio frequency or electromagnetic interference, unlike copper which can pick up interference from a number of sources along its run that may degrade the speed considerably.

  • The growth of the fiber optic communication market is mainly driven by increasing awareness about data security concerns and use of the alternative raw material. Data or signals are transmitted via light in fiber optic transmission. Therefore there is no way to detect the data being transmitted by "listening in" to the electromagnetic energy "leaking" through the cable, which ensures the absolute security of information.

  • Fiber optic cable has a very small diameter. For instance, the cable diameter of a single OM3 multi-mode fiber is about 2mm, which is smaller than that of coaxial copper cable. Small size saves more space in fiber optic transmission.

  • With the use of fiber optic cable, new equipment can be added to existing cable infrastructure. Because optical cable can provide vastly expanded capacity over the originally laid cable. And WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) technology, including CWDM and DWDM, enables fiber cables the ability to accommodate more bandwidth.

  • There are cost benefits to fiber optic internet. Fiber internet service usually costs about the same as cable, sometimes a little more, depending on where you are and what you need. In the long run, though, it tends to be less costly as the overhead is lower than for copper networks, and the service costs for consumers and businesses is likely to decrease as fiber optic networks grow.


  • The optical fibers are difficult to splice, and there is a loss of the light in the fiber due to scattering.

  • They have a limited physical arc of cables. If you bend them too much, they will break.

  • The optical fibers are more expensive to install, and they have to be installed by the specialists.

  • They are not as robust as the wires. Special test equipment is often required to the optical fiber.

  • The fiber optic cable is a small and compact cable, and it is highly susceptible to becoming cut or damaged during installation or construction activities.

  • The fiber optic cables can provide tremendous data transmission capabilities. So, when the fiber optic cabling is chosen as the transmission medium, it's necessary to address restoration, backup, and survivability.

  • The transmission on the optical fiber requires repeating at distance intervals.

  • The fibers can be broken or have transmission losses when wrapped around curves of only a few centimeters radius.

  • Optical switching technology is advancing fast but it still can not match the flexibility and cost-efficiency of electrical switching solutions.

Stock photo from bluebay

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