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Copper Cabling or Fiber Cabling: How to Choose

When you need structural cable, one of the first things you have to decide on is what types of cable you will employ. Whether it is copper cabling or fiber cabling, you will need to pick the best types of cable for the job!

Deciding between copper cabling and fiber cabling comes down to what, exactly, the cable is being used to accomplish.

Copper cabling, for structural cable purposes, is good for Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications. If you are setting up phones, wireless access point, or other devices you want to power right through the cable itself, this is the way to go.

TDM environments work best with copper cabling, unless you want to spend a lot more money to run this type of system on fiber.

You should also take a look at the NIC cards of your devices —  if they’re copper, go with copper cabling, and if they’re optical, go for fiber optic!

If you’re spending lots of money on shielding your copper cabling, consider fiber optic. These types of cable do not experience electromagnetic interference, making them a great choice in situations where structural cable system will be exposed to electrical or magnetic fields.

If you need to carry a lot of information fiber optic may be a good choice as it has a higher bandwidth than what copper cabling can provide.

In terms of physical needs, remember that copper cabling has a much lower tension limit — 25 pounds, versus fiber optic’s tension limit that reaches into hundreds of pounds. Also, fiber optic cabling is not flammable, unlike other types of cabling, and is also quite lightweight.

There are different scenarios where each type of cabling would be preferable — a lot of it comes down to budget, environmental factors, and technological needs. You may even find that a combination of both fiber optic and copper cabling works best, or one of those options in conjunction with other types of cabling.

For the best structural cable set up, work with cabling experts! Professional cable installers and technicians know what types of cables are best for each situation, and can take a look at your wants, needs, and priorities to come up with the ideal cable infrastructure for you. Don’t guess, or leave it up to chance — get help and make the most of your cables!

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