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Mindblower
Montreal, Canada
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October 15, 2013 - 10:03 am
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From my own personal experience, Cable is faster and more reliable than the old copper 4 conductor Telephone wire. But, in many areas, the Phone companies are introducing Fiber Optics which allow homes to watch TV shows with pause as you go options.

So, would anyone know how this new technology of Fiber Optics compares with Cable, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Jim Hillier
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October 15, 2013 - 5:30 pm
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Australia is in the process of rolling out fiber optics right now, only the major cities at this point in time. I suspect country towns, such as where I live, may see fiber optics some time down the track but goodness knows when... Australia is a big, underpopulated country.

The two technologies are radically different, copper cable transmits via electrical currents, fiber optics via light pulses. 'Speed' is a bit of a misnomer, what we are actually talking about is throughput, or capacity. Fiber optics can transfer more data at higher throughput over longer distances. The throughput of data is determined by the frequency range that a cable will carry, the higher the frequency range, the greater the bandwidth. Light is a very high frequency signal so optical fiber can carry much higher frequency ranges. While copper cable actually loses signal strength at higher frequencies.

Just to help put it in perspective; a local area network using copper lines has the capacity to carry 3000 telephone calls simultaneously - a similar system using fiber optics can carry more than 30,000.

Cheers mate... Jim

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Mindblower
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October 16, 2013 - 9:53 am
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Thanks Jim for that startling and educational well written post. Seems I did not make myself clear, as I am seeking information on Bandwidth (using high speed modems).

Both Cable and Fiber Optic telephone wire can carry loads of data. Ever since I switched to Cable for Modem usage, I found I could d/l almost 3 times as much (faster) than the conventional 4 wire Phone line.

My service provider offers both, Cable and Phone wire service (same price). But, the Phone company is promoting this Fiber Optic service (requires a one time installation fee) where you can replace that old copper phone line, and get telephone, computer modem, and watch TV on this Fiber Optic line.

Would this Fiber Optic line be better over Cable, or do each have certain drawbacks if any? I am extremely happy with my current change to Cable, so the question is just for information, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Jim Hillier
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October 16, 2013 - 10:20 am
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Sorry MB, I thought I had explained it clearly:

the higher the frequency range, the greater the bandwidth. Light [as used in fiber optics] is a very high frequency signal, so optical fiber can carry much higher frequency ranges. While copper cable actually loses signal strength at higher frequencies.

Bottom line; because of its higher frequency capabilities, optical fiber will deliver far greater bandwidth than copper wired cable. I don't believe there would be any drawbacks with fiber optics, it is the Rolls Royce of cabling.

Cheers mate... Jim

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Mindblower
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October 17, 2013 - 9:32 am
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Thanks Jim. It's just I've heard the opposite, (there are reliability problems with Fiber Optics) so I'm reaching out, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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David Hartsock
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October 20, 2013 - 10:25 am
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Just to add my .02.

I would choose Fiber over 4-wire or coax in almost every conceivable situation I can think of for more reason than you can shake a stick at!

Bandwidth = check
Latency = check
reliability = check
longevity of the format = check

If you've heard of reliability problems it is more likely the end equipment than the technology, but if you consider the 4-wire system (POTS) was designed (and installed in most cases) 50+ years ago and the coax system was designed (and installed in most cases) 35+ years ago I would choose fiber any day of the week.

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Mindblower
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October 21, 2013 - 9:33 am
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That's for that added reassurance Dave. I can only surmise that the reliability problem with Fiber Optics wire I heard of, was in is the throating companies impose on users (depending on payment and bandwidth plan), Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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