A wireless world is still a distant dream to be achieved, though cloud computing is gaining vast popularity. We still need some type of wired device in the house like a router to access the latest technologies. We depend upon wired connections for telephone, internet and several other data transmissions. Such connections are provided through two types of cables: copper and optical fiber.

difference between copper and fiber optic cable

Let us take a look at the differences between them.

Differences of Optical Fiber from Copper Cables


  • Fiber optic cables are very costly than the copper cables. Hence, their performance is also very high. They are capable of providing very high speed.
  • Facilities like video conference, instant messaging and chat would be a distant dream if we were stuck up with slow copper cable connection.


  • One prominent difference is the way signals are transmitted.
  • Copper cables transmit data in form of electrical signals. Hence, they are prone to interference.
  • Copper Cables have very poor resistance against both RFI (radio frequency interference) and EMI (Electromagnetic Interference).


  • Fiber optic cables, like Toslink cable, can transmit data digitally. Hence, they have are completely free from signal interferences.
  • You can have any number of wireless devices near them. They will still work well.
  • On the other hand, signals from the copper cable will be affected by minor interferences from wireless or microwave objects.


  • Interference in copper cables can lead to tapping the data transmitted easily. Hence, fiber optic cables are considered as safer means of transmitting data.
  • Copper cables can cause short-circuits sometimes. But fiber optic cables are non-flammable as they are made of glass. They are quite safer to use compared to their other counterparts.


  • The size of copper cables varies a lot, but they are generally heavier than the optical cables. They need to be covered with braiding sometimes.
  • Optical fiber cables are relatively small and can be installed anywhere. They require very little power to operate too.


  • The high bandwidth level is also an important reason for using fiber optic cables.
  • They were first used as an alternative for undersea wiring.
  • Now, nearly every house and business organization using internet connection relies on optical cables for transmitting data at lightning speed.
  • The future will see several improvements in the industry leading to more speed.

high performance typical copper cabling

Differences of optical fiber from copper cables are listed in several technical journals and books. Several engineering students are well aware of the numerous advantages and a few disadvantages in using the optical fiber cable. Many prestigious institutions indulge themselves in overcoming the shortcomings in the system to enable safer and faster means of data transmission.