Tip of the Week – 04 Feb 2013

Tip of the Week: If you are planning to cable an office for LAN communication you may be considering Cat6 cable and/or fiber cable. Which is more economical; which is better? I did some comparisons and here is what I found for a 328ft (100m) length of cable run using indoor riser rated cable.

Cat6a2 Fiber Strand 3mm Jacket Steel Armored Fiber
Price $100 $50 $100
Added connectors $120 $60 (factory installed) $120

Added transceiver costs: Fiber 1GigE SFP 2x$50 Fiber 10GigE SFP+ 2x$230 Cu 1GigBaseT NIC Commonly available for reasonable price Cu 10GigBaseT NIC Various manufacturers provide 10BaseT RJ45 connections, at a significant price. Comparing the cables, a 2 strand SM G.652D fiber cable can be less expensive than Cat6a cable. It also has many benefits including noise immunity and very high bandwidth (only limited by transceivers). You can upgrade to an armored 2 fiber strand cable for the same price as a not armored Cat6a cable. However the cost of fiber optic transceivers (SFP) can tip the balance. If your cable runs are longer than 328ft (100m), then this is where fiber can really shine since for even the basic SM transceivers the reach is 10km with a >6 dB budget for 1G and 10G transmission. Cat6a cable is only rated to 328ft (100m) for 1G and 10G transmission. Note all above prices are approximate and prices can vary greatly between suppliers. For more details on the comparison of fiber to copper in office and industrial environments, have a look at my recent magazine article published in the Dec 2012 issue of Construction Canada Magazine, page 104. Pertinent Products/Services: Need fiber optic cable for your indoor LAN projects. Give us a call for pricing on SM and MM fiber cables that are G.652D and G.657A certified, dielectric or with steel armor jackets. To learn more about this topic and other fiber optic network topics, refer to my following books (publisher McGraw-Hill): “Planning Fiber Optic Networks“, ISBN 0-07-1499199 available from Amazon.com. “Fiber Optic Installer’s Field Manual”, ISBN 0-07-135604-5 available from Amazon.com.