Horse Sense #52
For a healthy network, add fiber
Most modern computers connect into a network with a copper connection. However, there are some great advantages to using fiber optic cabling and connections in parts of your computer network. Among them are the following:
Fiber offers electrical isolation
Unlike fiber cabling, copper cabling can transmit damaging electrical impulses or noise to connected equipment. Fiber cabling is unaffected by differences in ground potential and won't act as an antenna that can broadcast networking signals and serve as a lightning rod outdoors. In fact, fiber optic electrical isolation is commonly used in transmission towers to protect equipment from lightning strikes. Fiber cabling is the media of choice for connecting closets of computing equipment together in a large building and especially for making runs outside the building.
Fiber isn't susceptible to outside influence
Copper wiring can be affected by nearby power sources and even crosstalk from other communications lines. Even electrical problems in your PC will transmit down a copper wire. They won't on fiber. Fiber signals are much cleaner. You can put fiber cable right next to power lines or generators that would disrupt copper wired connections.
Fiber connections can run long distances
Fiber can't be easily tapped into
Fiber can transmit more data than copper
And it has required fewer infrastructure updates for that reason. Fiber cables that were run to accommodate 10Mbps networking can accommodate 1000Mbps or greater connection speeds without change.
You can multiplex multiple connections through
the same fiber connection
Fiber isn't expensive
Cabling costs for copper are similar to that of copper. The cable itself is often less expensive than copper wiring. In some cases, fiber is preferable because it is very thin and doesn't require all the shielding and space that copper connections require. The difference in cost lies at each end of the connection. Optical signals must be converted back into electrical signals at each end. Typically, this adds at least $100 to the connection at each end. Still, it is a low price to pay for all of fiber's advantages.
Fiber isn't a fire hazard
Fiber is light weight
Many computer manufacturers make fiber networking components. One of the leaders in this field is Allied Telesyn www.alliedtelesyn.com. Most of the major systems manufacturers use Allied Telesyn networking cards when they need to connect a PC into a fiber optic network. The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Prisons, US Department of Energy, and many Defense Department agencies use their fiber cards and networking equipment for the advantages that fiber brings them in terms of security and quality.
©2004 Tony Stirk, Iron Horse firstname.lastname@example.org