Fiber VS Copper: How Should I Make a Decision?

Both fiber optic cables and copper wires are media of signal transmission, but the way of transmission may differ. Fiber optic technology uses pulses of light to carry data along strands of glass or plastic, while traditional copper wires transmit electrical currents. The obvious difference is the maximum cable length. Most people prefer fiber because of the longer max cable length of optical fibers. But what are other factors which might come to mind when making choice between them? You may find answer in this post.

Comparison Between Fiber Optic Cables and Copper Cables

The following properties make a comparison between fiber optic cable and conventional copper cables.

1) Bandwidth

Fiber optic cable provides more bandwidth than copper and has standardized performance up to 10 Gbps and beyond, something that it is impossible to achieve when using copper. More bandwidth means that fiber can carry more information with far greater efficiency than copper wire.


2) Range of transmission

Since data travels in the form of light (in total internal reflections, the loss of quality is negligible) in fiber optic cables, very little signal loss occurs during transmission and data can move at higher speeds and greater distances.

3) Not susceptible to interference

Fiber optic cable is also much less susceptible to noise andelectromagnetic interference than copper wire. For example, over a distance of two kilometers, copper wire would experience a great deal of degradation in quality, while there would be virtually none over the same distance using optical cable. It is so efficient, in fact, that roughly 99.7% of the signal reaches the router in most cases.

4) Size, weight & strength

Fiber optic cable is much thinner and lighter than copper cable. It can be used more efficiently in confined underground pipes, and is also much stronger, with eight times the pulling tension of copper wire. Furthermore, it has strength members and stiffeners that make it much harder to damage or kink.

Fiber optic cables vs Copper cables-

When to Choose Fiber or Copper?

Apart form all the factors above, one important factor while choosing the cable is the speed of the network and the devices you plan to use. The general specifications for currently available ethernet network speeds are as follows:

copper cable

fiber optic cables-

I’d pick a cable that will support the current network requirement, while having sufficient scope for expansion. It is important to choose a medium that will support enough growth because usually replacing switches or modules on both ends of a link is just a one/two man job, while running new cabling for an upgrade is highly labor intensive and might cost a lot of money in comparison. The following are suggested scenarios where I’d pick each cable.

1.Cat6 would be my choice for last mile connectivity to the desk/wall outlet for any organization that either has:

  • A very low bandwidth requirement, like small cafes, retail stores, etc.
  • Or where the expected life of the interior fitout and office space is less than 5 years.
  • It might be worth noting that Cat5e might seem cheaper, but it only covers a small margin. So I’d just skip that for the better performance.

2.Cat 6a will be my choice for both last mile connectivity for the following reasons.

  • Ability to run at 10G speeds later on
  • Less susceptible to noise, interference and cross talk compared to Cat6. (Since almost all Cat6a cables are shielded)
  • Cat6a would be my choice for the last mile haul in any industrial or factory environment if they cannot use fiber all the way to their equipment.

3.Single mode fiber would be my cable of choice for any kind of backbone cabling where the long haul is needed. It has stood the test of time and I don’t think it’ll get obsolete any time soon. I’d pick the OS1 grade for indoor applications and OS2 grade for outdoor applications.

4.I’d use multimode fiber in between my telecom rooms, between racks in the data center. I’d pick OM3/OM4 depending on the budget available.

5. If possible to convince decision-makers, I’d use a combination of SMF and MMF across the entire network, even to the desk or wall outlet. Going for a completely fiber only networks saves up a lot of space and energy costs and provides a lot of management flexibility by drastically reducing the number of telecommunication rooms in large facility. Also such a network will have a large capacity of bandwidth and provided you’ve run enough number of cores, it will be future proof to a large extent.


There is no such thing as the perfect cable for everything. In the end you need to balance out between cost, capabilities and provision for growth based on the requirements of your particular application and business. But no matter copper cables or fiber optic cables, all can be found at FS.COM. You can always find one catering to your need most.

Active DAC vs. Passive DAC(Direct Attach Cable)

As one kind of optical transceiver assembly, a direct attach cable (DAC) is used to connect one mobility access switch with another when forming a stack, which can be either passive or active. Since the passive DAC cable contains no active components, it provides a direct electrical connection between corresponding cable ends. This process can also be done by an active DAC cable that is considered active because there are optics and/or electronics embedded within the connectors. To put it simply. Active DAC vs. passive DAC: An Active DAC contains electronics for signal conditioning. While A Passive DAC does not contain electronics for signal conditioning. Then Why choose one implementation over the other? Just keep reading!


Active vs. Passive DAC

If a DAC contains the signal conditioning circuitry, it is an “Active DAC”. If the DAC does not contain this circuitry, it is a “Passive DAC”. For a passive DAC to work, the host networking equipment must support the signal processing functions. When an SFP+ is inserted, networking gear compatible with passive DAC reads the module type, and the signal conditioning is activated only when a passive DAC is detected. In all other cases, standard “machine level” signals are sent across the SFP+ edge connector.

More than 80% of all SFP+ equipped switches on the market today support passive DACs. The remaining less than 20% perform no signal conditioning and, therefore, must be equipped with substantially more expensive Active DAC if copper interconnection is desired. However, these switches, since they do not contain the signal conditioning on each SFP+ port, are considerably less expensive.

Active vs. Passive DAC: Which to Choose

The decision regarding which way to go, a switch supporting Passive DAC or one requiring Active DACs, depends on several factors including:

Fiber Connectivity—If the application of a given switch is expected to utilize primarily/exclusively fiber SFP+ transceivers, the added cost of a switch that supports Passive DAC may not be warranted. On the other hand, if SFP+ ports are expected to be equipped primarily with DAC, the higher cost of the switch will be quickly recovered by the savings using low-cost Passive DAC versus higher priced Active DAC.

Length of DAC Spans—If the primary application of the use of DAC is limited to about 7 meters or less (e.g. within a rack or between adjacent racks), a solution supporting Passive DAC is indicated. However, if most of the DACs deployed with the switch are greater than 7 meters in length (e.g., ToR to EoR), Active DAC would be required regardless of the switch, so a low-priced Active-DAC-only switch may be the right choice. In fact, if a switch supporting signal conditioning detects an active DAC inserted, it will not use its internal signal conditioning circuitry but will leave that function to the active DAC itself.

FS.COM 10G DAC Solutions

FS.COM provides a full range of DACs, both passive and active, for all major and many minor brands of switches. The following is a sample of the popular 10G DACs offered by FS.COM:

Part Number Brand Active/Passive
SFP-H10GB-CU1M Cisco Passive
SFP-H10GB-ACU5M Cisco Active
Force10 CBL-10GSFP-DAC-2M Dell Passive
EX-SFP-10GE-DAC-10MA Juniper Active
CAB-SFP-SFP-1.5M Arista Passive
10G-SFPP-TWX-0701 Brocade Active
JD096C HPE Passive


Besides the 10G DACs mentioned above, FS.COM offers a variety of high speed interconnect DAC assemblies including 10G SFP+ Cables, 40G QSFP+ Cables, and 120G CXP Cables to satisfy the demands from 10G to 100G interconnection. All of the FS.COM direct attach cables can meet the ever growing need to cost-effectively deliver more bandwidth, and can be customized to meet different requirements. For more information, please visit or contact over e-mail

Introduction to HP ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs

About HP ProCurve

HP ProCurve was the name of the networking division of Hewlett-Packard from 1998 to 2010 and associated with the products that it sold. The name of the division was changed to HP Networking (also called HP ProCurve Networking) in September 2010 after HP bought 3Com Corporation. As the then-ProCurve division began to offer LAN switches, Core, Datacenter, Distribution, Edge, Web managed and Unmanaged Switches. The ProCurve was also used with Network Management, Routing and Security products. HP ProCurve transceivers as the part of its networking accessories that are applied to their corresponding switches or routers. Today, we will introduce some knowledge of the HP ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs.

FS.COM Optical Transceiver Solutions for HP ProCurve
ProCurve Gigabit-SX-LC Mini-GBIC (Product No. J4858A/J4858B/J4858C)

A small form-factor pluggable (SFP) Gigabit SX transceiver with 1LC port that provides a full-duplex Gigabit solution up to 550 m on multimode fiber.

HPE J4858A Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP

FS.COM Solution:

  • NEW HP J4858A X121 Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m Transceiver Module
  • NEW HP J4858B X121 Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m Transceiver Module
  • NEW HP J4858C X121 Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m Transceiver Module
ProCurve Gigabit-LX-LC Mini-GBIC (Product No. J4859A/J4859B/J4859C)

An SFP format gigabit transceiver with LC connectors using LX technology.

HPE J4859A Compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP

FS.COM Solution:

  • NEW HP J4859A Compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP 1310nm 10km Transceiver Module
  • NEW HP J4859B Compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP 1310nm 10km Transceiver Module
  • NEW HP J4859C Compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP 1310nm 10km Transceiver Module
Things You Should Know About HP ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs

For the above products, there usually are many questions about them. The following information will let you know more about them.

Supported Platform

According to HP ProCurve Networking Mini-GBIC Support Matrix, we can easily find out which Mini-GBICs and SFPs are supported on which ProCurve Systems. General rules are:

  • Please use only genuine or high-quality 100% compatible ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs on ProCurve System.
  • Newer ProCurve products require revision “B” or later Mini-GBICs and SFPs (product number ends with the letter “B” or later, for example J4858B, J4859C).


About the Version A, B, C

HP ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs have three versions, but you may not find A and B anymore in HP’s official website. In fact, the version A, B and C are the development of HP ProCurve Mini-GBIC and SFP. Though there is no big difference between these three versions, some improvement will be added in the newest version, and the supported platforms adjustment. The “revision C” Mini-GBICs (eg. J4858C, J4859C, J4860C) are supported in all ProCurve products that support Mini-GBICs. In addition, “revision B” and “revision C” mini-GBICs can be used together in any ProCurve switch that supports mini-GBICs. Actually, as the transitional products, HP stops offering the version A and version B. But version C are not supported on some old switches, thus, some users have still used the version A or version B. FS.COM can support the 100% compatible HP ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs at version A, B and C, such as J4858A/B/C, J4859A/B/C, J4860A/B/C.

Mini-GBICs and SFPs hot-swappable

All ProCurve Mini-GBICs and SFPs are hot-swappable (they can be installed and removed while the switch is powered on). However, the network cable should be disconnected before removing the Mini-GBIC or SFP from the switch.

Best practice tip: After inserting a transceiver into a ProCurve switch, the Mode LED will come on for two seconds while the transceiver is initialized. Do not remove the transceiver until the Mode LED has turned off. For the Switch 2600 and 2800 Series: After inserting a transceiver into a 2600 or 2800 switch, the “M” LED will come on to indicate that the mini-GBIC slot is active. Wait at least two seconds after the “M” LED comes on if you need to remove the transceiver.

About FS.COM

FS.COM is a professional manufacturer and supplier of optical networking solutions. We can supply 100% compatible fiber optic transceiver modules of many brands, like HP, Cisco, Dell, D-link etc. with an incredible discount. About HP, you can find a full product line of HP transceivers with a good price and enjoy same-day shipping. In addition, according to your requirements, we welcome any inquiry for customized fiber optic transceiver. FS.COM’s aim is offering the best quality products and perfect solutions, saving customers’ time and money.