Why fiber outperforms copper in telco networks and LANs

Ask a telecom service provider’s CTO, “Would you prefer to operate network infrastructure based on fiber optics or a copper-based network?” These CTOs snap back in a second, “Fiber!”

Now ask a CIO or IT manager, “Would you prefer a local area network (LAN) based on fiber optics or copper?” and you may hear 100 questions.

How did telecom network operators reach the conclusion that fiber is better? It’s smaller, lighter, stronger, higher bandwidth, longer reach and longer life than copper. Fiber is also less susceptible to interference, faster to install, more secure and less costly.

Network operators see these benefits on the bottom line, according to a new study for the Fiber to the Home Council Americas. Small and medium-sized carriers are saving more than 20% a year in OpEx.

Verizon pioneered passive optical networks (PONs) starting in 2005. For its FiOS network that reaches millions of homes, Verizon chose fiber over copper because:

  • Removing electronics in the field means less equipment to purchase, thus lowering CapEx.
  • Fewer active elements needing power, management, maintenance and repair lowers OpEx.
  • Ultimately, a simplified network with centralized management accelerates lower OpEx.

Yet copper cable infrastructure remains the norm inside buildings today. At Tellabs, we believe that’s about to change.

Optical LAN is quickly gaining market traction with major deployments such as:

Optical LAN springs from telecom service providers’ needs for carrier-class 99.999% availability. That’s why Optical LANs have built-in capabilities to:

  • Reduce costs, power consumption, space and maintenance needs
  • Provide superior network broadcast and aggregation capabilities
  • Maximize bandwidth and security
  • Converge voice, video, data, wireless access, security and building automation into 1 network.

Smart CIOs are already sizing up the benefits and savings of fiber optics vs. copper for their LANs.

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