Fiber or Copper? 5 Factors to Consider When Calculating Cost

Fiber network solutions offer several advantages compared to CATx copper cable for government, healthcare, enterprise, retail, and financial networks. Fiber technology provides optimized security, extended reach, unlimited bandwidth, and superior reliability. Despite these benefits, copper remains the most popular choice for networks because it is perceived to be less expensive than fiber. A look at the total cost of ownership, however, reveals fiber cabling in the horizontal costs up to 38% less than copper.

Consider these five factors to understand the total cost of ownership when integrating fiber to desktop:

1. Lower installation costs

Fiber optic cabling is easier than copper to install because of its increased pull strength. Custom plug-and-play pre-terminated fiber further expedites installation, saving 15% compared to bulk fiber with field termination. Additionally, fiber has more than five times the reach of copper. Instead of having wiring closets and equipment throughout the building, fiber networks typically feature a secure central location to house all network equipment. This cuts down on the costs of installing network infrastructure and power redundancies.

2. Lower cost of security

It is easier and less expensive to secure the single closet used in fiber-to-desktop networks than to secure multiple locations. The fiber itself is also more secure than copper because it does not radiate any signal and can't be tapped without triggering alarms. For additional security, you can purchase fiber cable with vibration-proof butterfly pins or extra-secure locking pins that can only be removed with a special key. Secure locking enclosures are also an option.

3. Reduced troubleshooting and maintenance time

Fiber is inherently more reliable than copper because it resists electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference, and crosstalk. Reliability reduces time spent on maintenance and troubleshooting and avoids costly downtime. Centrally located equipment further minimizes maintenance time and also results in lower heating and cooling costs.

4. Reduced size and complexity

Occasionally, multimode fiber provides a cost advantage because its small size and light weight allow it to be placed in limited duct space. Fiber to the desktop networks also benefit substantially from reduced size and complexity of per-floor telecom rooms.

5. Decreased life-cycle costs

Choosing high-quality fiber optic infrastructure results in lower life-cycle costs. All Black Box fiber, for example, is 100% factory tested for quality and guaranteed for life. Fiber also has a longer usable life than copper because it can be upgraded without pulling new cable. Instead, increased data rates are implemented by changing the electronics. Fiber essentially allows you to future-proof your network with unlimited bandwidth to the desktop.

Ethernet media converters provide an affordable way to convert fiber to copper at the desktop without the hassle of installing and maintaining fiber NIC cards. Black Box offers a comprehensive product suite of secure fiber networking solutions and support. To learn more, click to view our free on-demand webinar "Safeguarding Secure Networks with Fiber to the Secure Desktop."

Ethernet Cables Fiber Cables Networking & Datacom Data Center Optimization Cables Infrastructure Networking TPS
Subscribe Now