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Office Communication – CAT5 Copper Wiring & Fiber Optics

Most of us couldn’t imagine life without having access to Wi-Fi, but these wireless networks would be pointless if they didn’t have some pretty decent cabling beneath it. With technology continually moving forwards at an increasingly fast pace, it’s important that the cabling infrastructure for your office communication can keep up with the needs of your business.

Highly experienced and certified cabling technicians at Buchmann Electric are available to design and install your office communications network specifically to suit both your budget and any other requirements. We always work together with you to ensure the performance and sustainability of the network cabling.

When your office communications network requires cabling, should you be using Cat5 Copper Wiring or Fiber Optics?

Fiber Optics Vs Cat5 Copper Wiring

Both cabling technologies have been around for almost half a century. Originally developed in the 1970’s by Xerox, copper Ethernet cables first entered the commercial market in 1980. Whereas fiber optic cables were used in television cameras that NASA sent to the moon in 1969. So, they’re both pretty much equal from a historical perspective.

Even though both options have a few of their own limitations, there are also some unique benefits for each technology. They both have their uses, and most networking installations will most likely use both cable types somewhere.

Fiber Optics

Fiber optic cable is most often the best choice whenever office networks need faster speeds with higher security for data delivered over long distances on connections with heavy bandwidth. On the downside though, fiber optic can be brittle, a little cumbersome, and significantly more expensive.

Fiber optic is usually recommended for outdoor applications such as connecting to your ISP in a street cabinet or the node, because you can transmit a large quantity of data over very large distances.

Cat5 Copper Wiring

Historically the slower option, copper wiring like Cat5 has seen some increased speeds as technology has advanced over the years. Other issues with copper include some noticeable limitations over long distances, as well as being prone to suffering from interference when used in its unshielded form.

Cat5 copper cable really gives fiber optics a run for its money as soon as you get close to the building’s roofline or inside the cabinet.

Issues With Interference

Data is sent along copper cables using electrical signals, which means they are vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. That’s when shielded cables like Cat5 can be used to help minimize this problem by protecting the internal wires of the cable from most kinds of electromagnetic interference and leakage. While shielded cable isn’t always required, it should always be used anywhere there is strong electrical interference, like is there is a generator nearby.

Electronic interference from devices isn’t a concern with optical fiber cables as they send data using the transmission of light. Because fiber optic cables don’t conduct any electricity, they are perfectly suited in locations with explosive fumes, high voltage, or anywhere prone to lightning strikes.

Security Of Data

While data transmitted across copper cabling like Cat5 is vulnerable to interception, installation of Ethernet switches is the most effective method to help improve security.

Because the data transmitted via light is read differently than data that’s sent electronically, it is much more difficult to intercept information that’s been sent using fiber optic cables.

Speed Comparison

While Fiber optic cable speeds have generally always been much faster than Cat5 copper wiring, recent advancements with the technology behind Ethernet cables has shown that they can provide comparable speeds at times.

Bandwidth & Capacity

Ethernet has less bandwidth, and because strands of copper cabling are thicker than the strands used in optical fiber cables, 22-gauge copper cabling can’t have as many wires bundled as 22-gauge optical fiber cabling.

It’s differences like these which often equate to fiber optics worth the heavier up-front investment. Fiber optics is most often thought to be the best solution for most office communications networks, especially if it is either brand new or being upgraded.

There aren’t many businesses these days that would be able to survive without access to a reliable communications network. To ensure you get the most suitable office communication for your requirements, contact the experts at Buchmann Electric today to discuss your network cabling today.

Ultimately the decision on which cabling system they require is generally up to property owners, which will likely be defined as whichever installation can deliver a reliable system at the lowest possible cost.