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Comcast upgrade reflects increasing importance of fiber optic cable

By Max Burkhalter
July 28, 2014

Cable giant Comcast has recently made moves to extend fiber-optic cables directly to customer homes in several service areas, according to TheWall Street Journal. The upgrade helps Comcast to keep pace with telecom rivals like Verizon Communications and Google. The new wires should also help to to boost connection speeds by delivering a greater share of bandwidth to customers. Comcast's further investment in fiber-optic cable upgrades is also reflective of general trends in the telecommunications industry.

Many Internet service providers facesteep logistical challenges when making their initial installations of fiber-optic cables. These networks have a huge capacity for bandwidth but carry high costs; it was more feasible to install local hubs and run low bandwidth cables from hubs to individual homes. These systems can no longer compete with the speed and reliability of fiber-only networks like those operated by Verizon and television service providers. As a result, Comcast has begun selective upgrades of its service areas; for example, the company was recently approved to extend a fiber-opticnetwork to an additional 530 homes in Sun Valley,California.

Comcast has also offered fiber-optic upgrades for customers in the Southern and Northeastern areas seeking a fasterinternet connection. Those interested in Comcast' most advanced Internet connection, over 500 Mbps, can request that the service provider make a trip to their home to install a direct fiber-optic connection and boost their bandwidth.

The addition of new fiber-optic cables is likely just one of many strategies that Comcast will employ to match the connection speeds of the competition. In fact, an article in the Washington Post suggests that hybrid coaxial networks (installations that take advantage of fiber-optics and copper cable within one network) are very popular among Internet service providers. These systems utilize a media converter to directly connect copper and fiber-optic systems. Retrofitting existing copper cables with fiberopticshelps ISP's like Comcast to increase bandwidth capacity without eliminating existing telecommunications infrastructure.

Comcast's decision to invest in more fiber-optic installations also reflects the industry's general acceptance of fiber-optic cable as the medium of tomorrow. Michael Render, president of RVA Market Research LLC, told The Wall Street Journal that fiber-optic cables will retain value thanks to the medium's reliability and large capacity for uploading data.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160 km.


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