Ethernet Versus Fiber Cable: Which Makes Sense for Your Businesses

Commercial internet subscribers are becoming more and more dependent upon high speed internet connections. The days of 1 – 2 Mbps download speeds have become as outmoded as the first computers that were used to access the world wide web. Today, businesses demand faster speeds and greater reliability. Standard cable and DSL service, even with increasing speeds of upwards of 5 – 15 Mbps,  will soon be too slow to keep up with the needs of hi-power users. These speed limitations remain closely tied to the Ethernet technology which is common to all offices and businesses today. But ethernet is facing new competition in the increased application of fiber optic cable. Fiber to desk technology offers speeds and reliability far beyond what Ethernet can offer.

What Can Ethernet Offer now and in the Future

Ethernet has long been the industry standard for all telecommunication applications. Utilizing the copper pair that is installed in buildings during construction, Ethernet is responsible for bringing both phone service and T1 broadband  to businesses throughout the country. The Ethernet infrastructure can handle current level bandwidth needs fairly reliably, and is able to process download speeds in excess of 15 Mbps. For the average small business this is more than enough computing power to handle daily networking and internet needs.

With the recent advances in gigabyte ethernet (GbE) technology, available bandwidth allowances for commercial customers will only increase. In many cases the ethernet standard will continue perform well for companies that depend upon internet traffic for sales, service, communication and international trading. However, the inherent disadvantages of ethernet will remain. The copper cabling that is the basis of Ethernet service is difficult to install correctly. Moreover, the copper cable is easily damaged, resulting in signal loss and connection failures. Still, even with these disadvantages, ethernet is likely to remain the standard for most businesses for the foreseeable future. If only by virtue of it being the technology with the longest history and track record.

Fiber Optic Moves Forward

While fiber cable has long been the basis of hub structures, its use is now being expanded to bring service directly to to the customer. Fiber to desk technology offers power users the speed and reliability they crave. Large scale commercial enterprises are finding fiber technology an improvement over traditional ethernet, and are choosing it as the way forward for much of their networking and internet needs. For example, companies involved in engineering, airplane and automobile design, as well as professional grade animation will find that choosing fiber to desk  technology provides greater networking speeds with the rock solid reliability that is crucial to their success.

Fiber cable has many advantages over traditional ethernet. First, fiber optic cable is easier to pull and install, and is physically stronger than copper pair. Fiber optic cable is also fundamentally better suited to handling large bundles of traffic. Those companies who choose to install  fiber to desk technology will be preparing their businesses to take full advantage of future bandwidth potential. However, there are some stumbling blocks on the fiber to desk highway. Ethernet remains all pervasive in the business community,  and installing fiber to desk technology requires substantial changes to a business’ data center and computer network.  These sweeping changes in a company’s approach to computing requires a sizable investment of time and money, and it will take a detailed cost benefit analysis to decide if the technology is right for your business.

Ethernet or Not

Ultimately the choice to make the investment in fiber cable service will depend largely on the nature of the business. With 10GbE technology working its way toward becoming the ethernet standard, most businesses will have access to all of the bandwidth they can use. But for power users, dependent on super high performance, the benefit of laying the foundations for fiber to desk technology far outweigh the initial set up costs. When upgrades in speed technology and internet service come , and they will be coming sooner than many businesses are prepared for, the office that is ready to take advantage of those advances with fiber to desk internet and networking service will be miles ahead of their competition.


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