Thursday, October 18, 2012
Fiber rising while copper stays relevant
It can seem like fiber is everywhere, especially when considering some of the more affluent and densely populated parts of the world. Fiber-optic cabling has spread throughout the world and become a prominent networking component. But if you take a closer look under the surface, you will notice that there is still plenty of copper out there, even in regions that seem dominated by fiber. According to a recent Broadcast Engineering report, copper cabling is still thriving and fiber-optic cable infrastructure is not nearly as pervasive as many people assume.
Optical network penetration
The news source explained that a recent meeting of the FTTH Council Europe discussed fiber-optic network deployment as if everybody in the world is looking at an optical network connection directly to their home. If fiber hasn't made it that far, it has, at least, made it to a nearby node.
While there may be good reason to advertise fiber from this perspective, as many global projects are thriving, the reality is that copper is still available in many regions. The report explained that many of the statistics that point to high levels of optical network penetration do so by claiming that large portions of the population in a region have access to fiber. This can obscure the amount of fiber actually being used, however, as the tendency for optical networks to be deployed in urban areas and suburbs leads to inflated population-related statistics, while many rural areas are underserved.
Gaps in fiber-optic infrastructure
According to Broadcast Engineering, the claim that FTTH infrastructure is widely available in almost all developed cities is also problematic. In some of the largest, most affluent cities in North America and Europe, there are still large copper network loops that are not supplemented by fiber and force users to limit their connectivity to 2 Mbps.
The reality of a copper and fiber world
In the end, it is important to understand that fiber and copper exist side by side and each still has a major role in the telecom market. This creates an environment in which the focus has to be on getting the two to work well in conjunction with each other and interact well. Fiber to Ethernet media converters can play a major role in this, as they not only bridge the protocol gap between fiber and copper, they also offer specialized performance benefits that can help the network perform to the best of its ability.
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 160km.