Five benefits to using fiber on your OT network

OT Network
Settling the debate between fiber vs. ethernet.

Cabling is the line of communication between your smart building’s devices. Without cable connecting the HVAC, lighting, security, and other Operational Technology (OT) to switches and routers, your building’s network might as well be empty.

This is why you need quality cabling for a cost-efficient, secure, and healthy network in your intelligent building. While the debate between Ethernet and fiber presents solid arguments for both sides, there is one option that consistently wins out. Read on for the top five reasons you should use fiber on your building network.

1. Network bandwidth

One of the most-frequently cited reasons to opt for fiber is its speed. Because fiber uses glass and refracting light to transmit signals, it travels very quickly; only 31% slower than the speed of light, in fact. While Ethernet has gotten faster over the years, it still doesn’t compare to those rates. BusinessBee cites copper Ethernet speeds at up to 10Gbps, while fiber has transmitted data at up to 100Tbps.

2. Distance

Fiber has a far greater distance capacity as well, compared to Ethernet. Because fiber optic cable uses light, it has low attenuation, meaning that it loses less signal over distance than copper Ethernet does. Consequently, fiber can go up to 8km (5 miles), while copper is severely limited due to high attenuation and power loss.

3. Security

If security is a concern on your network, your best bet is fiber. The use of light refraction in fiber makes it harder to tap than copper Ethernet’s electric signals. While some smaller buildings still choose copper, fiber is the only choice for organizations that want to protect their network.

4. Durability

Hardiness is another important feature of fiber. Fiber is extremely reliable and will not be affected by outside factors like electromagnetic interference, radio-frequency interference, contact with water, changes in temperature, lightning, and the like. Ethernet, with its electric signals, can be affected by these environmental factors.

5. Cost

One of the oft-cited reasons to not opt for fiber is that it tends to be more expensive than copper. In the short-term this might be true, but the long-term shows a different story. According to Black Box Network Services, “[f]iber typically costs less to maintain, has much less downtime, and requires less networking hardware. And fiber eliminates the need to recable for higher network performance.”

Building networks vary widely, so of course you should choose the cable solution that makes the most sense for you. The higher the stakes in your building and network, though, the more important a secure, robust cabling option like fiber is.

Interested in getting fiber into your building network? Learn how Optigo Connect can make the most of your fiber, connecting thousands of smart devices anywhere on the property with a fraction of the infrastructure of traditional hardware.

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