fiber optic cable vs. ethernet cable

Fiber Optic Cable vs. Ethernet Cable: Key Differences

With all the different kinds of technology available to the average consumer today, things can start to get a little confusing. Take fiber optics and ethernet cable, for example. Your average person has no idea what the difference between them is, and it’s hard to tell!

In this article, we’re going to explain exactly the difference between a fiber optic cable vs. ethernet cable. Each type of these cables has its own unique advantages and drawbacks that you should be aware of. Keep reading now to get all the details.

Basics of Fiber Optics and Ethernet

Both of these cable technologies have been in use since the late 1900s. NASA first introduced fiber optics back in 1969 for their famed Moon mission, and the (then) new technology allowed them to take clear imaging and recordings of the mission.

Ethernet, on the other hand, was developed by Xerox in 1970, just a year later. After about a decade of use, the technology finally became mainstream and introduced to the average consumer in 1980. Both technologies have continued to see great use in the tech industry ever since. But how do each of them measure up against the other?

Fiber Optics

Fiber Optics come in two different kinds of cable. The single variety uses a laser to send signals from remote locations. Single fiber optics can be used to reach much farther distances than multi fiber optics. This also makes them a lot more expensive to install than multi. Diodes make use of multimode cables to transmit signals, covering shorter distances at up to 10 Gigabits.

Many of the best fiber optics single cables can transmit at a rate of 100 Gigabits, making fiber optics the obvious choice for transmitting over longer distances.


Ethernet has traditionally been the slower of the two transmitting technologies. When it first came out, Ethernet was only able to transmit at speeds of 10 megabits per second. This was also for shorter distances, something like 100 meters, for example.

Experts often point out the drawbacks of Ethernet, however, saying that the slowness of Ethernet makes it impractical for use in real world applications. Despite this, Ethernet remains the more cost-effective technology, which makes it much better in the long run for companies and consumers that are working on a tighter budget.

So, What’s the Difference?

The difference between these two technologies may not be apparent to the average person, even after having explained what each of them does.

Fiber optics is unparalleled in its ability to transmit signals over long distances and generate electricity. Even so, fiber optics are relatively brittle and can easily break, making them more expensive to install and replace.

Ethernet are different in that regard, even though they can’t go for such long distances. Their increased durability and speed over short distances make them a great option, and they’re a much cheaper option than fiber optics.

In situations where you may want to transmit large amounts of data to a more remote location, fiber optics are the way to go. But if you simply need connection to a residence or a commercial building, ethernet may be much more cost-effective.

Taking these differences into account, there’s no definitive answer as to which type of cable is better. This will come down to your own unique requirements for any given situation.

There are many similarities between fiber optic cable vs. ethernet cable.

The Solution

It can be difficult to find the right people for the job when it comes to installing connectivity to a property or other location. It takes years of experience, industry expertise, and the right tools to get the job done right.

When it comes to network data and structured cable installation in Philadelphia and New Jersey, there’s no one better to trust than Bridge Cable. Bridge Cable offers a full suite of services for customers looking for network and cable structure assistance. For each and every project, our professionals will head out to the project site to verify physical requirements and to identify any unique characteristics of the project.

Some of the projects we can help out with include fiber optic installation, network data cabling, fire alarm installation, access control solutions, video surveillance installations, residential services, and service coverage solutions. Contact Bridge Cable and see what we can do for you and your networking project now!