Optical Fiber Cables vs. Copper Cables

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.

The Many Advantages of Fiber Optic Cable

Advantages of fiber optic cable are many. Likewise there are a few minor disadvantages too. Fiber optic cables are somewhat new compared to the old copper cable connections used for ages. Made up of glass or plastic capable of transmitting light signals, these cables are capable of passing data at a very high speed.

singlemode duplex fiber optic cable

Advantages of Fiber Optic Cable

High Bandwidth

  • High bandwidth is the main advantage of using fiber optic cables.
  • The data transmission rate is much greater than the one in copper cables or the coaxial cables. Hence, most of the broadband service providing companies and several cable operators has switched to fiber optic cables, like the Toslink cable.
  • Initially these cables transmitted 280 megabits per second. Now they transmit millions of megabits per second.
  • Since, they are made up of glass they don’t get corroded easily like copper. Hence, their life time is much longer than the other cables.
  • Glass cables are much lighter than the traditional copper cables. Hence, they are easy to install and remove.
  • They are readily available in various lengths in nearly any hardware stores.


Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Cables


There is lot of dispersion in the fiber optic cables compared to other traditional means of transmitting data.

  • Copper cables transmit data in the form of volts while fiber optic cables transmit in the form of light. Hence, the optical signals can propagate in any direction.
  • Two or more fiber cables are necessary if we need a bidirectional signal.

Prone to Bending

  • These cables can be easily bent unlike the traditional copper cables. So, installing them in areas susceptible to high pressure is not advisable.
  • The cost of installing these cables is quite high. They can cost twice the amount of installing copper cables or even more in some cases.
  • Though they are very common these days, they were quite costly when they were introduced. Furthermore, they took lot of time to splice together and make them work efficiently.
  • No such problem exists these days as most of the technicians know how to install and repair the minor faults in these cables.

fiber optics benefits and advantages


The advantages of fiber optic cable outweigh its costs and minor disadvantages by all means. Hence, these cables have nearly replaced other means of data transmission from most of the countries. Researches on improving the capacity of the fiber optic cables are carried on all over the world.

Modern day cables are much faster than the first generation cables. They can be used for various purposes like dual power lines, as aerial telephone poles and in installation of internet for houses. Their easy availability and good performance paves way more research resulting in improvisation of data transmission speed day by day.

Fiber Optic Cables: Facts, Types, and Prices

You might not be aware how fiber optic cables work and facilitate in your daily undertakings and you may never even know how complex its jobs could be even if it could just be too small to be doing some great jobs. You may have heard about its term but you may never really know what it is for and how they have been doing to help us daily.

This type of cable can be usually found in the cables in your internet, television, and in your mobile phones. They are too tiny just like the strand of your hair yet they can perform such excellent jobs for you, isn’t it amazing?

facts about fiber optics cable

Types of Fiber Optic Cables

The fiber optic cables have different types which you should know in order for you to be able to identify one from the others. Basically, there are two different types of fiber optic cables the singlemode fiber and the multimode fiber.

  • Singlemode fiber: used to transmit information for long distance transmissions through a laser light since it can be used up to 100 kilometers or 62 miles
  • Multimode fiber: can only be used up to 2 kilometers or 1.25 miles both are without repeaters.

Uses of Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables can also be used in so many other ways like it can be used in some audio cabling wherein the fiber optic audio cables are being used.

  • This audio cable which are fiber optic can really be used and very helpful in your home since these are being used for television and the DVDs and CDs.
  • Since this is also used in some internet cables, it really makes the connections very high.
  • You may also be able to use audio cables for your car audio components.

Where to Buy:

On-site Stores and Retailers

The fiber optic cables can usually be bought from electrical stores in your community or from department stores and malls where the retailers or distributors of such have been able to display this so that most people will get to buy this type of cable easily.

Online Markets

You may also buy some custom fiber optic cables from online stores where you may be able to see its features and be able to view its usage. Most of the fiber optics that are being offered online are really being reviewed by many so you would be able to really know what type that you are going to buy.

modern use of fiber optics cable

Cost of Fiber Optic Cables

The cost of most fiber optic cables can vary from the type those they you are going to buy and for what its usage may be. The Toslink cable may also vary in pricing depending on the kind of brand that it has as well as on where you are going to connect it to.

  • This type of cable is usually used for audio purposes as in for connecting your CDs, DVDs, video games and the likes.
  • Like the other kind of cables, fiber optic ones could be quite a lot more expensive than the ordinary cables because of the kind of materials that it has been using which actually are some fiber glasses and never plastic ones.

Shopping Tips in Buying Audio Cables

There are several kinds of audio cables that you can find both in the market in your locality as well as in the online market and one very durable and high quality cable is the Toslink cable which can be very helpful because it is the kind of audio cable that caters to various audio formatting.

By buying it, you can readily use it to wherever you are going to connect it with since this may be very compatible to all types of cable. You may be able to buy this type to both in the store in your area or through online market also.

good quality stereo audio cable

Tips in Shopping for Audio Cables

  • Before you buy some audio cables, you must need to know what these cables are for and how they can help you in some things at home.
  • If you plan on buying some digital audio cables then make sure that you know the exact price for it and where you will be able to buy it. This is to ensure that you will not have the hassle of going around looking for it and in the end have bought some other kinds of cable instead of what you have originally have sought after.
  • You must also prepare the exact budget for it so that you will not be hassled too much.

You might as well as go online searching for audio cables that you can buy from online markets which of course could really have several companies that would be offering online. You may be able to see each type of cables as well as you can easily search for some high end audio cables that you can acquire from online market.

This type of audio cable can be quite expensive because of its quality and durability that it really has and you may be able to know also if such is really of good quality by reading the reviews of it from their websites which could really be very helpful.

Canvassing Process

Before you go to a store and buy the audio cables that you may want to buy, make sure that you already have known the prices from other stores where this cable is available.

  • The best thing for you to do is to call each of the electrical and hardware stores in your locality in order to know if they really have this type of cable in their stores.
  • You may also be able to ask each store how much such cable costs so that you will be able to compare prices and know where exactly you are going to buy one.
  • Optical audio cables may also be available in the same stores so you will not have a hard time in finding the same.

high end mcintosh audio cables

How Much Are Audio Cables?

  • Prices for audio cables usually differ from the kind of brand that manufactures it.
  • Prices may also differ depending on the type of cable like if it is a singlemodal or multimodal one.
  • Some of the audio cable whose prices are really very cheap which usually have a price range of $2.50 to $6.95 and there are also that are really very expensive like it has the range of $18 to $50.
  • The price could also differ from state to state as well as country to country; however, you may also be able to find some discounted ones from retailers in an online market.

All About The Toslink Cable

There are various sizes, kinds and configurations in audio cables but the most popular of them is the Toslink cable, which is usually called an optical cable. It is an optical fiber cable that is standardized and used for connecting electronic equipment like DAT recorders and CD players. The best toslink cable for you depends on the bandwidth and application. For digital video and audio, the standard is PCM or Pulse Code Modulation. EIAJ optical is the standard name.

toslink SPDIF optical cable

What’s Toslink Cable Made Of?

Most optical toslink cable is made with plastic optical multistrand quality fibers or 1mm optical plastic fiber, which is substantially cheaper. The length of the Toslink cable is typically five meters although there are cables that are ten meters long. If you will use a Toslink fiber optic cable that is longer than ten meters, you need something that will boost your signal. More modern applications allow the cable to be as long as a hundred meters.

premium optical audio toslink cable

More About The Toslink Cable

Toslink was originally invented by Toshiba for use in their CD players in 1983. However, it was developed for use by other manufacturers of CD players because it provides smooth data transmission – something that cannot be done with electric data transmission owing to noise distortion. Because of its excellent performance, the Toslink cable was favored over other models and adopted by other electronics manufacturers. In fact, Toslink became the standard for audio cable because of the ease it can connect the main source host to various components.

grab the best digital optical toslink audio cable

At present, the Toslink optical cable is made by so many different manufacturers that although it is still referred to as Toslink, it no longer has anything to do with its original maker, Toshiba. Thus, if you need a Toslink cable, you will not find it difficult to find one because optical cables are all over online and traditional stores.

Toslink can support various media formats and physical standards. Its main components are the Receiving and Transmission Module, cable and Optical Connector. Electrical signals are converted into optical through the Receiving and Transmission Module.

Originally the audio signal in the Toslink cable is limited to 48 kilohertz at 20 bits. However, this limit has since been changed to accommodate modern technology. An exception is TrueHD, DTS HD and Dolby Digital Plus. There is another kind of jack in the market that is called mini Toslink jack, which is commonly used in mini portable disc players and Apple computers. However, you can connect a mini Toslink Jack to a regular optical cable by means of an adapter.

get the standard toslink cable

Tips in Buying Toslink Cables

  • Do not spend a lot on audio cables since the difference in terms of quality is small between a 200 and 20 dollar brand. Choose one that fits your budget.
  • Toslink cables are called different names so do not get confused when you see the various options available at the store. SPDIF cable, optical audio cable or optical audio digital cable all means the same thing.