The Benefits of Fiber Networks vs. Legacy Networks

For those considering whether to update their older networks and adopt fiber network technology, I thought it would be helpful to explain the differences between the two and what makes fiber the more sensible option in today’s business operating environment.

Here are the three major benefits fiber-optic networks have over legacy copper-based networks:

  1. Capacity: Whereas copper networks are bound by the physics of the wire itself, the physics of the glass in fiber network services allows for an exponentially higher capacity. This is because data transmission isn’t bound by the glass itself, but rather by the optical equipment that manages the lightwaves through the fiber cable.
  2. Reliability: Fiber networks aren’t susceptible to the same kind of interference that moisture can cause legacy networks. Since electric signals are still passing through copper wires, rain and water have the ability to cause damage and disruption to those networks. With fiber, signals are sent through glass as light, so you don’t have those issues. Fiber-base services are more reliable.
  3. Flexibility: the virtually unlimited capacity of fiber networks enables users to carry any type of traffic – data, voice and video in any protocol.  As new protocols or ways of carrying voice or video signals evolve, fiber optic cables lend themselves easily to adaptation especially for latency-sensitive traffic.

I think one of the easiest ways to understand the benefits of fiber networking is to understand that without it, the Internet as we know it wouldn’t exist. Most of us might remember dialing up through a phone line to connect to the Internet and websites loading in slow, almost painful increments. Today, the backbone and the core of the Internet is built on fiber networks because it allows for scalability and high bandwidth. Without fiber, we would never have so much content readily available on demand like we do today.

Francisco Maella, COO, Alpheus Communications