West Penn Wire Blog

When to Use Fiber Optic Cable?

Posted by Samantha Flannery on May 19, 2020 9:00:00 AM

As industry shifts begin to change, bandwidths continue to increase, and fiber prices have fallen, many organizations are asking the question, "When should I use fiber optic cables?"

Below is a list to consider when looking to use fiber optic cable:

1. Type of Project:

If a building is already primarily copper, it may make the most sense to stick with copper cables rather than making the switch to fiber optic. However, a cost-benefit analysis could be used to determine which choice to make. Depending on the amount of cable installed, there comes a point where it may be more cost-effective to install fiber. Also, if it is a new project, it may make more sense to install fiber instead of copper. 

Evaluating the building's occupants will also give insight into which type of cables should be installed. If they will be looking to stay long term in a new space, then fiber optic cable may be the way to go. Depending on the demand for technology and what the building will be used for in the future- a new copper system may need to be implemented. 

For example, many cellular companies like Verizon have opted to use fiber optic cable due to the increase in bandwidth and demand to support reliable internet and performance.

2. Application Usage:

The venue is a very important factor when it comes to evaluating if fiber optic cables should be installed. Some things to consider would be:

  • What the cable will be used for
  • If wireless access will be needed often
  • If the venue will be used for large crowds
  • When/if the cabling will need to be between buildings or outdoors
  • The number of connections because of fiber optic cable and withhold more connections than a copper system.

3. Types of Users:

Big companies like Google, Facebook were heavy fiber users because of the amount of data being transferred and the number of employees/devices being used. However, many large venues like university campuses, corporate campuses, and high-rise hotels are experiencing the need for fiber. 

Many users on these campuses will have at least two devices with them at a given time. They will have a laptop/tablet and a smartphone (some cases a smartwatch or multiple phones) and they all have a high expectation for a reliable connection. 

In many cases, essentially during the recent pandemic, college campus lectures are being streamed online and assignments are being submitted online. On many corporate campuses, employees work remotely and rely on chat platforms, videoconferencing, and constant access to a reliable server. 

4. Future-Proofing

When analyzing future bandwidth needs, nothing will perform better than fiber. Most fiber bandwidth installations are not constrained by cables, but more so fiber optic electronics. No matter what will be installed, fiber will be able to support the demand. 

If you still have questions about when/if to install fiber, please contact us! We are happy to help evaluate your options and what is best suited for an upcoming application. 


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Topics: Fiber Optic Cable, Fiber Optics, Fiber Optic

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