Advantages of Fiber Optic Cables
Fiber cables offer several advantages over long-distance copper cabling.
- Fiber optics support a higher capacity. The amount of network bandwidth a fiber cable can carry easily exceeds that of a copper cable with similar thickness. Fiber cables rated at 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps, and 100 Gbps are standard.
- Because light can travel for much longer distances over a fiber cable without losing its strength, the need for signal boosters is lessened.
- A fiber optic cable is less susceptible to interference. A copper network cable requires shielding to protect it from electromagnetic interference. While this shielding helps, it is not sufficient to prevent interference when many cables are strung together in proximity to one another. The physical properties of fiber optic cables avoid most of these problems.
Fiber to the Home, Other Deployments, and Fiber Networks
Whereas most fiber optics are installed to support long-distance connections between cities and countries, some residential internet providers have invested in extending their fiber installations to suburban neighborhoods for direct access by households. Providers and industry professionals call these last mile installations.
These services can provide gigabit internet speeds to households. However, they typically also offer lower capacity packages to their customers. Different home-consumer packages are often abbreviated with obscure acronyms:
- FTTP (Fiber to the Premises): Fiber that's laid all the way to the building.
- FTTB (Fiber to the Building/Business/Block): The same as FTTP.
- FTTC/N (Fiber to the Curb of Node): Fiber that is laid to the node but then copper wires complete the connection inside the building.
- Direct fiber: Fiber that leaves the central office and is attached directly to one customer. This provides the greatest bandwidth, but direct fiber is expensive.
- Shared fiber: Similar to direct fiber except that as the fiber approaches the premises of nearby customers, it splits into others optical fibers for those users.