What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethernet Over Copper?

When a business owner decides to upgrade to information technology as a primary tool of the enterprise, he or she is faced with many decisions, but one he or she may not have considered in the past is the means of access to the internet. Today there are a number of options; primary is the decision to go with Ethernet over Copper as the main providing technology. This is by no means a simple decision, and the correct answer is a plentiful as the number of people asked, both sides have strong arguments for their preferred technology.

What do the business owners think?

Any business owner will tell you the first thing they want to know when making a decision about the business is what the cost will be. For new buildings verses upgrades the difference is large, add in the option of wireless transmission and the difference becomes huge. But smart business people understand there is more to it than initial cost. The life cycle cost of each option closes the gap, and then there are the discussions of current and future capabilities to consider.

Pulling cable from a distant source to the site, then preparing and installing the cable internally to the facility and, likely to every room in the facility is a daunting and expensive task. That is why the option of wireless local area networking is becoming popular. If the facility is not within reach of an accessible transmitter, the cost to wire the building for a transmitting router is still less than pulling the copper to every room.

Wireless areas in depth

These wireless local area networks have a functional range of approximately 95 meters or so, more than adequate to cover most buildings. If the facility is huge, there may be a need for several transmitters, but again this is cheaper and more flexible that hard wiring. This might lead one to the conclusion that wireless has a tremendous advantage over wired transmission and the decision should be easy, but that belies the reality of security concerns.

As identity theft grows as a national concern, it highlights the less discussed but perhaps more important risks that companies and businesses in general have to handle. They are, in many cases not only morally, but legally required to safeguard the data they possess. For consumers it is critical, but to preserve proprietary information that makes the company competitive it is equally important. Here the hard wired access has the advantage for the time being. While it has developed since its inception, the original security features WiFi provide were inadequate, and they are still easier to penetrate than hard wired access.

In addition to security, the hard wired enthusiast will carefully explain that the data transmission capability is much greater that wireless transmission, and will continue to grow at a more rapid pace. Wireless enthusiasts counter that eventually any technology provided via cable will be available over WIFI. The question then turns to the direction and uses of the technology being provided access, the users device.

If popularity is the measure of the competition, then surely the information technology universe is headed solidly in the mobile capability direction. Recent new device releases are decidedly wireless and popular to an historic degree. There are still those who prefer the solid desk top computing ensemble, but the laptop community has breached that hull as well, developing docking devices that turn the laptop into a desktop device, and saving a lot of desk space at the same time.

Final thoughts

So as the battle is pitched, the new business owner or those desiring to enter the world wide web provision the decision about Ethernet over Copper will remain one they must make on instinct, perhaps after discussing it with the employees who will be using the devices most. Fortunately, for the time being either option seems to be a good one. Unless and until one makes a decidedly great step ahead in capability or security, either option will suffice to get the business operating in the digital world.

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