Ethernet Over Copper vs. Fiber – The Battle Between Innovations

EoC vs FiberComputer technology has become an indispensable part of modern commerce, and businesses of all sizes demand the fastest and most reliable connectivity for their information networks. These networks must be able to carry data and voice quickly and securely, with as few interruptions or incidents of down time as possible. This need for speed in the form of dedicated bandwidth has driven a number of innovations in fiber optics and copper based delivery methods. For most businesses, however, ethernet over copper (EoC) continues to offer the best solution to their networking needs.

Ethernet Over Copper 101

With the introduction of the telephone, copper wires began to criss-cross the nation. Over time, a copper based communications infrastructure developed that would lay the ground work for the information super highway we travel today. EoC takes advantage of this existing infrastructure, passing voice and data along an established national network at increasingly higher speeds. People who remember the advent of the internet in the 1970’s, will recall just how slow data transmission could be, but constant innovation has led to a marked increase in available bandwidth, and today ethernet over copper can offer broadband services delivering speeds in excess of 1000Mbps. Moreover, EoC is available in the vast majority of regions where fiber optics simply do not reach.

Fiber 101

Fiber optics were developed to answer the growing telecommunication needs of the 1980’s and 1990’s, including both voice and data transmission. Fiber optic technology, at its most basic, is a system of coated glass fibers that allow data to be transmitted at great speeds between two points. The introduction of fiber optics has made transcontinental communication much quicker and easier than ever before, and offers some distinct advantages over copper based services. By its very nature, fiber makes it possible to transmit data over greater distances with minimal loss of signal. Copper based services are subject to distance limitations, and signals tend to degrade without the use of terminals to boost the signal in order to ensure its final delivery. That being said, fiber’s major disadvantage is that it is not as far reaching or ubiquitous as copper, making it difficult and unaffordable for many small to medium sized businesses.

Copper vs Fiber

While fiber optic technology can deliver higher speeds, it has some distinct disadvantages when compared to copper based delivery methods. First, and foremost, it lacks the built in redundancy that EoC provides. Because the copper wires are comprised of paired, and bundled, strands of wires there is less likelihood of a total failure. When one strand is broken or compromised, data transmission continues, albeit at a reduced speed. When a fiber optic cable fails, all transmission ceases, and can only be restored when the cables are replaced. Fiber’s second disadvantage harkens back to the ground work laid out by the telecommunication industry in the last 100 years or more. Copper is everywhere, and remains the heart of the country’s communications infrastructure. While fiber optics is making great strides, it will be many years before it even approaches the saturation point that copper enjoys today. Ethernet over copper remains the most dependable and affordable option for most companies.

Ethernet Over Copper for Businesses

Ethernet over copper is the key to making high speed broadband services available to businesses across the country. The majority of companies remain outside of the fiber optic network, and it will be some time before fiber matches the saturation point of copper. While fiber has the potential to provide greater speeds to customers in the future, businesses require increased bandwidths now. EoC can provide the speed and reliability that matches the needs of most small to medium sized businesses. New innovations in ethernet over copper technologies have made it possible to deliver the higher bandwidths and latest features businesses need, all while utilizing the existing copper based telecommunications infrastructure to which they are already connected.


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