9 Differences between Optical Fibre vs Coaxial Cable

What is optical fiber?

Fiber optics, also known as optical fiber, is a technology that uses light pulses to transmit data along with a glass or plastic fiber. A fiber optic cable can contain anywhere from a few to several hundred of these glass fibres. Another glass layer called cladding surrounds the glass fibre core.


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What is the coaxial cable?

A Coaxial cable is a special type of copper cable with a metal shield and other components designed to prevent signal interference. Coaxial cable gets its name from the fact that it has one physical channel that carries the signal and is surrounded by another concentric physical channel that runs along the same axis after a layer of insulation. The ground is provided by the outer channel. Many of these cables or pairs of coaxial tubes can be housed in a single outer sheathing and, when used in conjunction with repeaters, can transmit data over long distances.

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Differences between coaxial and optic fibre

S.No Optical Fibre Coaxial Cable
1 Sends and receives signals/data in the form of light Transmits data/signals in the form of electrical signals
2 Made up of glass and plastics Made up of copper wires and plastics
3 Highly efficient Less efficient
4 Signal loss is negligible Signal loss is abundant
5 Costly Coaxial cable is cheap compared with optic fibre
6 Weightless as compared to a coaxial cable Coaxial cable is heavy as compared with optic fibre
7 Less bandwidth High bandwidth
8 Diameter is small High diameter as compared to an optic fibre
9 Installation is complex Easy to install

Applications of Optical Cable Medical industry – used in various medical equipments to view internal organs in the human body by entering into hollow spaces in the body

Communication – used to transmit signals/data

Industries –These fibres are used for imaging in difficult-to-reach places, such as in automobiles for safety and lighting purposes on both the inside and outside. They transmit data at breakneck speeds and are used in airbags and traction control systems. They’re also used in industries for research and testing.

Cable Television

Applications of CoaxialCable

  • A single coaxial network can carry about 10,000 voice signals in analogue telephone networks.
  • Coax has a data rate of 600 Mbps in digital telephone networks.
  • Cable television networks

Advantages and disadvantages of optic fibre

Advantages of fiber optic cable

  • Can operate at very high speed.
  • Large carrying capacity (Bandwidth)
  • Less sensitive to electromagnetic noise from radios, motors, etc
  • Less maintenance cost

Disadvantages of fiber optic cable

  • Difficult to Splice
  • Expensive to Install
  • Highly Susceptible
  • Highly vulnerable while installing
  • More delicate than copper wires.

Advantages and disadvantages of coaxial cable

Advantages of fiber Coaxial cable

  • High bandwidth
  • Easy to install
  • Coaxial cable is cheap compared with optic fibre
  • High transfer rates
  • Less sensitive to noise and interference

Disadvantages of fiber Coaxial cable

  • High weight
  • Installation cost is high
  • High signal loss

Some useful questions

  1. Why is silica used for the fabrication of the optical fibres?

Silica is ideal for fabrication because it has perfect elasticity until it reaches its breaking point.

2)What is the bandwidth of optical fiber?

The bandwidth of the optical fiber is 900 THz.

3) What is the core in optical fibre?

The core is considered as the light-carrying portion of the optical fibre.