Fibre, copper or wireless - What's best for your business?

Fibre, copper or wireless - What's best for your business?

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The advances in cabling technology are rightfully hailed by a large majority of analysts and experts, yet for the businesses themselves, it is a situation that has arguably brought about more questions than answers.

The three main types of structured networking revolve around copper cabling, fibre optical cables and wireless systems, all of which bring with them a number of pros and cons.

Copper cabling

Perhaps the main feature of copper cabling is its Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities, which powers phones, surveillance cameras, Wireless Access Points (WAPs) and various other devices that may run throughout the network.

It means there is no need to bring in an electrician to fix up the system needed to power these pieces of hardware, while an emergency power supply can help to keep devices running even if your main electrical supply goes out.

There is the added bonus of flexibility, with a number of TDM environments built to run on copper infrastructures. 

Fibre optics

Fibre optics still carry a great deal of appeal for businesses as they offer greater bandwidth than copper cabling, meaning they can carry more information, although speeds are largely dependent on the type of cabling used.

Businesses with a lot of copper cabling often risk electromagnetic interference, which unsurprisingly harms network performance. However, this is not an issue for fibre optics as it is unable to conduct electrical current, making it a great choice for a particular busy and demanding workplace.

One of the big features that allegedly puts fibre optics at a disadvantage is cost. There is a common perception that it places a greater financial strain on a system.

However, the truth is that fibre optics are actually cheaper than copper - the only sticking point is that the hardware it demands is much more expensive.

Wireless

There can be no doubting that we live in an increasingly wireless world. While it is a technology that can nestle comfortably between copper and fibre optics, going wireless can still be something of a headache for many companies.

Some firms struggle to make a decision as to whether it is the right move for their business, yet to overlook wireless is to forego a number of great advantages.

Arguably the biggest advantage of wireless is that it allows greater mobility around the workplace, making it easier for employees to connect anywhere, facilitating meetings and collaboration.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a trend that has taken many businesses by storm in recent years, with the use of laptops, tablets, and smartphones helping to offer greater flexibility in the workplace.

It means businesses do not have to shell out extra funds on hardware, making it a great cost-cutting measure.

That's not to say that it harms productivity or efficiency, however, as the ability to allow employees to collaborate wherever and whenever they need to through a wireless internet connection, allows productivity to be maintained and in some cases even increased.

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