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Fiber Optic Vs Coaxial Cables

Fiber Optic vs Coaxial Cables: What is the Difference?

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The internet is essential to all our basic life activities. We probably cannot imagine a world without it. So, every time you relocate, the first thing you sort out is the internet connection. Many people can have trouble understanding the technical jargon ISPs throw at you. The types of internet connections differ on the basis of technology first. So, you’ll need to put fiber optic vs coaxial cables before you make a decision. You might also want to consider satellite or DSL. Then, you have to choose speeds and data limits, etc.

So, it is not always a simple decision, especially for non-technical people. If you don’t know the key differences between the technology, you can end up making the wrong choice. So, you should do some research and then make an informed decision.

The Fiber Optic vs Coaxial Cables Comparison

If you are looking for high-speed internet, then fiber optic and cable internet can be good choices. However, there are some major differences between the two. So, depending upon your needs and budget, one might be better for you than the other.

How Does a Fiber Optic Work?

A fiber optic cable is a type of guided media. The cables are thinner than the human hair but can transmit data at high speeds. Usually, they are made up of glass, silica, and plastic. One cable can have hundreds of optical fiber threads inside. So, these can create as many numbers of channels for data transmission. As a result, we can send out multiple threads of information simultaneously.

It usually transmits signals in the form of light and has low levels of latency as well. The light beam encodes pieces of information as a sequence of on and off flashes. These can then mean 1s or 0s for the system that decodes them. They use the principle of total internal reflection to guide the light so it never refracts into the outer cladding.

Pros and Cons of Fiber Optic

Some IPSs can offer both types of internet connections to certain zip codes. For example, the Spectrum internet plans have packages for cable and FiOS. So, you should consider the pros and cons of whatever you choose.


1: There is little to no noise and light interference with optic fibers. As the cable uses light to transmit data, it reduces latency and noise. Moreover, external light cannot create interference as well because most of it is restricted by the outer coverings.

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2: Another pro is almost zero signal degradation over longer runs through the cable. With fiber optic, it is possible to transmit a signal for miles and maintain its quality. You probably won’t even need to regenerate or fortify it.

3: There can be hundreds of cables within a fiber optic wire. So, there are many signal channels that we can utilize to transmit data. As a result, fiber optic can provide higher bandwidth ratios.

4: Fiber optic connections such as the Cox internet plans can provide higher speeds. This is because the cables can generate quicker transmission rates.


1: It can be expensive to set up optic cables. They are usually high maintenance and the laser light source can also cost a lot of money.

2: Optic fiber cables can also be hard to install as even one minor dent can disrupt the whole signal. A broken joint means that light can diffuse out of the cable. So, you will need to manually find and repair a roughed-up core.

3: Most of the internal diameter of the cable is made up of glass. So, it can be a lot more fragile than other cable types.

How Do Coaxial Cables Work?

The mode of transmission for coaxial cables is low voltage electricity. They are also called coax cables and most cable operators use them for internet and TV. Unlike fiber, they are mostly underground and extend throughout the network limits. So, these cables need more protection from the environment. For this purpose, their basic composition is metal (like copper) and plastic sheaths. This can make them a lot more durable than other kinds of cables.

The copper core usually acts as the conductor. All the other layers work towards reducing noise interference, increasing durability, and completing the circuit. The copper core is surrounded by an insulator sheath, then a metal wrapper, and then finally a plastic coating. The coax cables can have an impressive transmission capacity and have been around since the 20th century.

Advantages and Disadvantages

If you have Optimum internet plans, you have the option to choose between cable internet and FiOS. But you shouldn’t make that decision without looking at the full picture.


1: Coax cables can have a much lower cost as compared to fiber. They are also easy to maintain and you can use them for terrestrial cable as well.

2: The cables are usually concentric circles, so there is less chance of interference.

3: They can support analog and digital signaling.


1: If we consider fiber optic vs coaxial cables, then they have much lesser bandwidth and speed capacity.

2: The signal strength gets weak after every kilometer or so with coax cables. So, we usually need repeaters to regenerate the signal.


Fiber-optic can be much more efficient in terms of data transfers, bandwidth, and speed. Moreover, they also offer much lower interference and practically no signal degradation. However, coaxial cables can be much cheaper and are easily available. So, the winner for fiber optic vs. coaxial cables might totally depend upon your requirements and budget.

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