While many users and small business still rely on twisted pair copper cables to connect their local area networks to the main Internet line, virtually every other type of line in the telecommunication industry uses fiber optic cables to get the required amount of speed to carry data over long distances. In fact, fiber optics they are not a new technology: they have been around for something like 30 odd years in the industrial sector.
Whenever you want to completely make the switch to fiber optics, you need to make sure you will be getting any use out of the change. While conversion is not something you could call extremely expensive, it is still a significant amount for any domestic users, and it would only go to waste if there is no immediate need for the benefits provided by fiber optic cables, mainly its speed and long-distance data transfer. Since it is quite hard for home users to justify a case where long-distance data transmission is required (except maybe when the main Internet line is situated at a considerable distance from the user’s home), the increased speed is what most people will be seeking.
Small businesses, on the other hand, might have several other reasons for making the switch. Fiber optics can be a lifesaver in situations where long distance networks need to be maintained. They can be reliably used to connect machines that situated in two different physical locations without having to sacrifice speed or introduce large amount of latency, which could seriously cripple performance. Switching to fiber is also recommended in case your network is situated in an area that is susceptible to high amounts of external signal interferences, as this can lower the quality of the signal sent through copper wires. As for connecting copper wired parts of your network to fiber optics, you can make use of an high ratedindustrial media converter fiber optic.
Since fiber optic cables usually operate at much higher speeds, you will want to make sure that your machines and network devices are capable of handling higher data rates, as otherwise there will be no point in switching to a faster network solution. You will want to check the speeds of parts like the Ethernet ports of computers (which can alternatively be bypassed by using NICs to connect machines to the fiber optic cables directly), your network switches and routers (which will most likely need to be replaced). Remember that a fiber media converter will cost considerably more than a switch designed to connect with just copper wires, so you need to take these expenses into account as well when going for fiber optics connections.
Ultimately, whether or not switching to fiber optics is ideal depends on your financial abilities. If there is a significant advantage in switching, the extra cost may be offset by the fact that you can get your work done much faster. Otherwise, it may be a better idea to wait some more as the technology becomes commonplace and the prices come down to an acceptable level.