Why Fiber Optic Technology Is Faster than Copper

Why is one faster than the other?
Loukia Papadopoulos

Did you know there is a long-standing competition between copper wire and fiber optics when it comes to speed? Copper wire has been around for hundreds of years whereas fiber optics only came along in the 1950s. Still, despite this, fiber optics have left copper wire in the dust in terms of speed.

Initially used for electric wiring, copper wire became the go-to material for long-distance telecommunications when the phone was invented around the 1800s. When fiber optic came along it took a few decades but eventually, it overtook copper wire.

What is the difference between the two? Fiber optic cables use pulses of light generated by LED to transmit data whereas copper wire uses electrical pulses. Copper wire requires the use of a detector to receive and decode the data.

This is rather problematic as the longer the data has to travel the more its signal deteriorates. So, especially in longer distances, fiber optics can transmit more data and faster.

But what does faster refer to exactly when talking about copper wire and fiber optics? After all, both these mediums have not yet reached the speed of light. Speed here refers to throughput or capacity. What exactly does that mean and how do fiber optics outperform copper wire? Watch our video to find out more.

If the video does not play here, you can watch it on our YouTube channel here.

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