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In today’s business Internet world, there are many connectivity options such as wireless microwave, cable and fiber. Today, we dive into the top differences between Fiber and Cable Internet and reasons why your business may benefit from one more than the other.

Fiber Internet uses cutting edge technology. Information is sent through small, flexible strands of glass where light is transmitted. This ensures that data is sent over long distances faster.

Cable Internet is transmitted by a local cable service provider utilizing space on a designated television channel to perform the data transmission. Upstream and downstream transmissions allow the cable signal to reach your business via a cable modem which is usually a small box that is placed inside of the office location.

Availability of these two services varies depending on which area your office is located. Some phone service companies offer cable Internet. It is accessible to most businesses in any area. Compared to this, there are few fiber optic service providers in the market. Fiber is not in all cities and neighborhoods, but it is expanding quickly its coverage in most areas.

Which is faster and more reliable, Fiber or Cable?

Fiber Internet sends data faster than cable Internet. It is delivered on a dedicated line which ensures that the speed is more consistent than cable Internet. It is the same, even at peak times. Fiber optic is more reliable and is immune to conditions that cable Internet is susceptible to. Fiber may go down when there is a power outage or a downed line due to weather or accidents.

Fiber optic is made of glass and does not require electricity. This prevents it from any interference from high voltage or nearby power lines. This also reduces the risk of fire. When a private network is installed, it makes fiber optic hard to hack. Fiber can withstand more temperature fluctuations when compared to cable Internet.

When comparing fiber and cable Internet, fiber is considered to be more advanced. It makes use of small strands of glass that are flexible to transmit information. Cable Internet uses copper cable, and data is transmitted through electricity.

Cost Differences between Cable & Fiber Internet

Cost wise, fiber is more expensive than cable Internet, although the price gap has reduced recently. There are more fiber Internet providers today than in past years. It is becoming cheaper and more cost effective to install fiber Internet than maintaining cable Internet for both small and enterprise big businesses. One consideration with fiber Internet is the build out, which often can be in the thousands if it needs to be run closer to the location.

Is Cable or Fiber Internet Better for my Business?

Which Internet is ideal for your business or business use and what should you choose? Here are some decision factors to consider:

Availability

Fiber optic represents the core of cable and telecommunication industries. Fiber Internet is available in most markets. If you want fiber optic Internet, a cable is used. On the other hand, the cable networks are everywhere. Most homes and businesses of all sizes have cable Internet installed already or it is easily accessible with a faster install time. You can have a reliable and fast cable Internet connection for your business limited by the speeds.

Speed

Fiber is blazing fast in Internet speeds when compared to cable Internet. It runs at speeds up to 10 Gbps, equal download and upload bandwidth. Cable Internet is slow but offers broadband speeds that can meet the needs of small or medium sized business office locations.

A standard cable Internet speed may vary by provider and range from 3 Mbps to 50 Mbps upload speeds and 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps download speeds.

Reliability

Fiber is considered more reliable and has several advantages when it comes to performance and consistency for your business location Internet needs. With fiber you can enjoy the benefits of dedicated service but with cable Internet, you will have to share your connection with other business customers. A line that is dedicated will save you from delays when online where cable Internet can slow down when used by more employees or locations.

If your business has different locations, fiber Internet and some areas with cable Internet can be effective when balancing speed and affordability.

How Cable Internet Works

Cable Internet uses the same technology as cable television. Information travels through a cable known as coax. The cable is made of copper that is insulated by a dielectric insulator, then a woven copper shield and an outer plastic layer.

Cable Internet needs a cable modem at your office or home and a cable modem termination system where you are operating. The modem termination system connects the user modem to the Internet. The cable that supplies the Internet connection also supplies TV access at the same time, there is more bandwidth to spare. This is the main reason why the two services are offered together.

How Fiber Internet Works

Fiber Internet uses glass and plastic fibers that transfer light. Data is contained within the light. The process is effective because of internal reflection. When light hits the material, it is absorbed, refracted, or reflected. If the light is absorbed when trying to escape the cable, there will be no connection on the other end, and when the light is refracted through the cable, the data does not reach the other end. The light should reflect from one end to the other continuously for it to work properly.
Therefore, fiber has two layers: cladding and core. The layers are made of glass like silicon dioxide, but the cladding on the outside may contain other to achieve a lower refraction index than the core. If it has a higher index, the light can escape the cable during the transmission.

Which is Faster?

Fiber is faster, plain and simple. The connection depends on various factors however. If there are more business connections in the neighborhood, using the Internet at the same time, the Internet may be slowed down drastically. This is the same with cable Internet.

Therefore, the below should be considered when deciding which Internet to choose for your business:

How many employees do I have at this business location?
What is my cost budget for Internet?
What is available in our business location area?
What speeds do we need?
How important is reliability?
If our business goes down, how will it effect us?
Do I need backup Internet options?

Fiber has several benefits over cable Internet. The fiber optic cables transmit data faster; they are ideal for long distance communication; this is why they power more Internet. They are less likely to go off when there is power outage because electricity is not used in the transfer of data. They are made of plastic or glass; they are less susceptible to any interference from power lines or lightning.

Cable Internet has the benefit of availability. It is offered where cable television has availability. This means that most urban areas have access to cable Internet. Fiber is only limited to some cities, and it may be accessible to certain areas only.

Cable delivers great speeds and it may be around for years to come. Technologically, it is not the best option, but it is enough for a small or home sized business. Fiber is becoming affordable for most people, and the future is in favor of fiber Internet.

Here are some additional comparisons we found useful:

Fiber Optic Internet

Digital Cable against Fiber Optic

Fiber vs Cable