Copper cable has been in existent for a very long time, is the most popular network in the telecommunication industry and is cheap. Copper wires are useful in powering up telephone lines, interconnecting surveillance cameras, and other networking equipment, and is also the mode of communication in Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) networks.
A decade ago, copper was the only way to transmit data despite poor connections and
Copper is dominant in the industry, but fiber optic systems are taking over. Most businesses refuse to use copper cables due to its dark record. What then are some of the reason the technology companies like semiconductor firms are not using copper cables?
1. The Cost
Copper wires are expensive, and they cost more than fiber optic cables. The copper wires are limited by distance and lose signals due to interference. A copper network thus requires amplifiers to boost the signals. The amps are costly to purchase and need maintenance. The equipment necessary for a copper network is also more, and this increases the cost too.
2. Susceptible to Corrosion
A chemical reaction in the surrounding cause metals to corrode and copper is a metal. Have you seen a green penny? The chemical reactions form a pale green layer called patina on the surface of the copper. The gradual destruction of the metal wire causes communication disruptions or connection failure.
Copper is susceptible to noise generated by neighboring electrical equipment like computers, routers or other electrical copper wires. Eavesdroppers take advantage of the weakness and use electromagnetic radiation to sieve data. The data sent over the cable wires can be corrupted or decoded putting the company at risk or leaking essential secrets.
Copper wires use electrons to transmit data, and this is a fire hazard. Terminating the copper cables incorrectly can cause shock, fire or damage to the equipment. The cables require more care and need to be monitored frequently.
4. Copper Is Noisy
A copper network is susceptible to various interferences such as:
• Electromagnetic interference- this type of interference is also called radio frequency interference RFI and is generated by adjacent electrical equipment’s. The disturbance causes electrostatic coupling in the copper that leads to signal degradation.
• Attenuation- loss of signal strength due to distance
• Crosstalk- disturbance from magnetic or electric fields due to neighboring telecommunication networks.
5. Proximity Distortion
A connection between two points experiences greater interference as the distance increases. The copper wires tend to pick noise leading to attenuation. To connect points that are a kilometer away, IT needs to install preamplifiers and other technical tricks to boost the signal. Copper wire is thus not suitable for network backbones.
6. Does Not Scale Well
Unlike fiber optic technology that is future-proof, copper does not keep up with demand. The traditional connection-oriented telephone lines can only carry 24 voice calls at a mere 1.5 Mbps. The telephone network cannot support IP connection or VoIP. Multiplexing large application over a copper connection is difficult.
In conclusion, companies are instead advocating for fiber technology because:
• It is fast,
• More reliable
• Supports long distance transmission
• High bandwidth
• It is non-flammable
• weighs less than copper wires
• Resistant to rust among other advantages.