Choosing the right broadband internet connection for your business is a vital decision that can impact employee productivity, the customer experience, and ultimately, your bottom line. Understanding the difference between fiber optic and cable networks can help you make the right decision for your business’s needs.

It’s Mostly a Question of Performance vs. Price

As we’ll explain below, fiber networks are far superior to cable networks across every single metric but one. Price. If finding the cheapest possible broadband solution for your business is priority number one, and your operation is small enough to not be significantly impacted by its shortcomings, then cable could be the smart choice.

But as the price gap between cable and fiber shrinks, there are fewer scenarios where choosing cable over fiber makes sense.

Faster Speed, Higher Bandwidth, More Data

On a head-to-head performance level for moving data, fiber optic technology far surpasses the capabilities of coaxial cable. Fiber offers speeds up to an incredible 400G, but more than that, fiber is capable of symmetrical connections. A symmetrical connection means you’ll get the same bandwidth for uploading and downloading, which is very important when video conferencing or uploading large files.

Along with faster speeds, fiber provides the added benefit of maintaining those speeds all day long, even during peak hours. Cables relies heavily on shared resources, which limits performance when the network is busy. Fiber optic networks don’t slow down, and because they’re built on a dedicated line, they also offer lower latency. Latency is the time it takes in milliseconds for a packet of data to be captured, transmitted and processed through multiple devices.

Reliability When it Matters

Fiber networks are more reliable than cable because they utilize light to transmit data instead of electricity. Whereas electromagnetic interference can disrupt cable performance, lightning storm or similar events have no effect on buried fiber optic cables.

Cable internet is more susceptible to issues related to inclement weather and are at risk of down time when there is a loss of power.

A key reason why reliability matters to your business is the rise of cloud computing. Most SMEs do not have the resources to have their own data center onsite. This means the network must be up in order to access data and applications hosted in the cloud.

Fiber is More Secure

While no network is 100% free of risk, fiber optics provide a higher level of protection against hacking compared to cable. As cable uses electronic signals to transmit data over copper wires, these signals can potentially be stolen by splicing into the cable. Fiber optic cable cannot be cut without disrupting the flow of data.

Does My Business Need Better Performance?

Understanding how symmetrical connections, higher bandwidth and lower latency affect business applications isn’t as important as knowing which applications are vital to the successful operation of your enterprise.

For simple web browsing and email, switching to fiber might not be worth it, but if your business relies on one or more of the following applications, a better network will provide a notable upgrade in both productivity and your customer experience.

  • Video conferencing, high-definition video streaming, and internet telecommunications
  • Cloud infrastructure solutions: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud
  • Cloud platform: Salesforce, Webex, Zoom

Go Fiber with Conterra

Monthly fees don’t paint the full picture for how much your internet connection costs your business. You must also consider the cost of lower productivity and the potential for lost customers should your network fail to meet your performance and reliability requirements.

A fiber network built by Conterra runs 100% fiber to your building, buried below the surface for 99.99% availability. Our services are designed for survival, to keep your network up when you need it most.

To learn more or get start, Contact Us today.