A Guide to Fiber Optic Cable Speed

fiber optic engineer

Fiber optic cabling is one of the most important pieces of technology in the world, changing the way we live and work immeasurably. As fiber-optic connections transmit data at high speeds, they’re increasingly popular for everyone who has access to them. This guide will discuss fiber optic cable speed and the benefits of fast fiber optics for telecommunications and data transmission. 

What is fiber internet? 

fiber optic cable repair

Fiber internet is a type of high-speed internet connection that uses fiber optic cables to transmit data. These cables are made of thin strands of glass or plastic, each with a similar thickness to human hair and each carrying data in the form of light. Fiber internet is popular due to its high speed compared to other types of internet.

Fiber-optic or copper cables – which is faster?

fiber optic cable vs copper cable

Fiber-optic cables are much faster than copper cables. Why? Because fiber-optic cables transmit data as light rather than the electrical data transmission used in DSL internet networks which are traditionally based on copper wire technology. As the speed of light is faster than the speed of electrons, fiber-optic cables are capable of a much greater transmission speed, and also have a higher bandwidth than copper cables. 

Fiber-optic cables are also less likely to experience interference and are more durable than their copper counterparts.

What is the maximum speed of fiber-optic cable? 

The maximum speed of fiber optic cable can be up to 100Gbps (gigabits per second). This compares to the maximum speed of copper cables, which reaches as high as 300Mbps (megabits per second) and, therefore, not as fast as fiber-optic technology. 

How fast is fiber-optic internet speed? 

Fiber-optic broadband is incredibly fast and the perfect solution for your business wifi network. The average fiber internet connection speed is around 1000Mbps, about 10 to 20  times faster than the average cable speed. This means both upload speeds and download speeds are radically improved, taking a few seconds to transfer large files with fiber internet, whereas copper internet would take you minutes to hours.

How do fiber optic speed tests work? 

Of course, during a fiber-optic network installation, you’ll want to know the exact speed you can expect from your new technology. A fiber-optic speed test can be carried out and is also helpful as an assessment if repair works are required. But how do fiber optic speed tests work?

A fiber-optic speed test works by sending a light signal through the length of the cable and measuring how long it takes for the pulses of light to return. The speed of the light signal is then converted into a data rate. This will give you an accurate measure of the maximum speed that your fiber optic cable can achieve.

Fiber-optic speed tests are simple to set up and only take a few minutes to complete. However, it is essential to note that a fiber optic speed test can be affected by several factors, such as the type of equipment used and the length of the cable.

What equipment is required for a fiber optic cable speed test?

To carry out a fiber optic speed test, you will need:

  • Fiber Optic Cable
  • Fiber Optic Connector
  • Fiber Optic Test Equipment
  • Fiber Optic Cable Tester

The fiber optic cable and connector must join the two pieces of test equipment. The fiber optic test equipment is used to send the light signal through the cable, and the fiber optic cable tester is used to measure the time it takes for the light to return.

Fiber optic cable speed and distance 

The speed of a fiber optic cable can be affected by the length of the cable. Put simply, the longer the cable, the slower the speed. This is because the light signal has further to travel and is more likely to be attenuated.

The speed of a fiber optic cable is also impacted by the type of cable. There are two types of fiber optic cable: single-mode and multi-mode. Single-mode fiber optic cables are used for long-distance communication, while multi-mode fiber optic cables are used for short-distance communication.

How do single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic cables affect the speed of transmission?

The difference between single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic cables is the diameter of the core, which is the part of the cable that carries the light signal. The core of a single-mode fiber optic cable is much smaller than the core of a multi-mode fiber optic cable.

Therefore, single-mode fiber optic cables carry higher bandwidth than multi-mode fiber optic cables. Single-mode fiber optic cables are also less susceptible to attenuation than multimode fiber optic cables.

How does fiber optic cable speed affect pricing?

The speed of a fiber optic cable may determine the cost of the cable. As you might expect, fiber optic cables with higher bandwidth are more expensive than those with lower bandwidth.

However, the cost of fiber optic cables is also affected by the cable type, with single-mode fiber optic cables being more expensive than multi-mode. 

What could slow down fiber optic speed?

Several factors could slow down the speed of a fiber optic cable and create a less reliable service for internet users. These include:

  • Attenuation – the loss of power that occurs as a light signal travels through a fiber optic cable
  • Dispersion – the spreading of a light signal 
  • Fiber Length – the distance the light signal travels along the fiber optic cable 
  • Fiber Type – single or multi-mode fiber optic cabling. 

How can I improve fiber optic speed?

There are several ways to improve the speed of a fiber optic cable. These include:

  • Using a shorter cable
  • Using a single-mode fiber optic cable
  • Increasing the bandwidth

You can also improve the speed of a fiber optic cable by using an optical amplifier to boost the light signal.

Contact The Network Installers 

Speed is an important factor when choosing a fiber optic cable. If you require advice about a brand-new fiber optic installation or wish to explore upgrade options from your current fiber optic cable speed, please contact The Network Installers today.

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About Us
The Network Installers is a low voltage electrical contractor that provides data cabling, network installation, fiberoptic installation, and WIFI installation. We've been serving commercial customers since 2008 with exceptional quality, consistency, and professionalism.

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