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What is the difference between network cable and fiber patch cable? Prefer fiber patch cables at the moment?

What is the difference between network cable and fiber patch cable? Prefer fiber patch cables at the moment?

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Network Cable vs. Fiber Patch Cable

Network cable and fiber patch cable are the two mainstream mediums for broadband, but the market share of fiber patch cable is currently higher. As technology progresses and the network continuously updates, more advanced solutions like fiber patch cables are becoming increasingly preferred. While fiber patch cables and network cables may look somewhat similar and are both used in network communication, their differences are quite significant.

Understanding Network Cable and Fiber Patch Cable:

Network Cable: A network cable, also known as a twisted pair cable, has varying transmission distances based on its specifications. If the transmission distance exceeds the cable's limit, signal attenuation occurs, leading to potential network disruption.

Categories such as Category 5 and 6 have a limit of around 100 meters, with high-quality Category 6 cables reaching about 120 meters. To extend this distance, repeaters can be installed between cable segments, allowing a maximum of 4 repeaters. This setup can extend the maximum transmission distance up to 500 meters.

Optical Fiber (Fiber Patch Cable): For longer distances beyond the capabilities of network cables, fiber patch cables are used. These are divided into multi-mode and single-mode, with the latter supporting longer transmission distances. In Ethernet networks, multi-mode fiber patch cables can support distances up to 2000 meters at 10mbps and 100mbps, and up to 550 meters at 1Gbps. However, single-mode fiber patch cables exceed these distances significantly, supporting over 5000 meters in both 100Mbps and 1Gbps networks.

Single-mode optical modules, which are more expensive than multimode ones, can reach transmission distances of 150 to 200 km, making fiber patch cables suitable for long-distance applications like remote monitoring.

Differences Between Network Cable and Fiber Patch Cable:

  1. Materials:

    • Fiber patch cables are typically made of glass fiber, using light reflection for transmission.
    • Network cables have a copper core and come in coaxial, optical, and twisted-pair forms.
  2. Costs and Prices:

    • Network cables are cheaper, with slower transmission speeds and weaker anti-interference capabilities.
    • Fiber patch cables are more expensive, made of glass fiber, and require specific equipment for signal conversion.
  3. Transmission Distance:

    • Network cables are effective within 100 meters.
    • Fiber patch cables (single mode) can transmit over distances of 10-20km, and multi-mode variants can reach 2-3km.
  4. Product Nature:

    • Network cables are physical media for information transmission.
    • Fiber patch cables represent a dynamic information transmission rate.
  5. Rates and Stability:

    • Network cables originally had a maximum rate of 16M and poor stability.
    • Later upgrades increased speeds to up to 100M but with limitations in distance and stability.
  6. Existence:

    • Fiber patch cables are a virtual concept, with the cable as its carrier.
    • Network cables are tangible with physical presence.
  7. Application Scenarios:

    • Network cables are used for communication, data transmission, interactive multimedia, etc.
    • They connect to various network equipment like hubs, firewalls, and switches.

In summary, fiber patch cables offer advantages such as faster speeds, greater network stability, multifunctionality, lower attenuation, and stronger anti-interference capabilities compared to network cables. These attributes make them increasingly relevant for modern networking needs in various life, work, and industrial applications.