The types of cabling SMB (small/medium size) business use have different advantages and disadvantages. Optical cables transmit data by using light pulses and are comprised of thin transparent cores made of plastic or glass. Copper cables have many strengths that copper cables do not, such as high transmission speeds and the fact that they are not affected by electromagnetic interference (EMI). Optical cables also offer protection from power spikes due to them not conducting electricity. When it comes to tapping, optical cables also provide much higher protection than copper cabling. These numerous advantages come at a price though, in the form of a much higher cost than copper cables.
Optical cables come in two forms, single-mode and multimode; single mode (SMF) uses a single beam of light, where multimode cables (MMF) use multiple. SMF have the benefit of transmitting over greater distances, however, transits slower and is more expensive. MMF, on the other hand, transmits over shorter distances, yet, has higher data rates. For a business situation, it is essential to know how difficult the installation of cabling is. Both forms of optical cabling are more difficult to splice and work with due to their small size. SMF is adamant to work with due to its small size and requirement for precise alignment.
Copper cables are a cost-effective alternative to optical cabling and come in many varieties such as Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Serial, Twinax, and SAS. Copper cables can suffer from interference from RFI or EMI. Copper cables can also be challenging to work with as they cannot be stretched or twisted too much. To connect cables, various storage network devices are used such as host bus adapters (HBA), network interface cards (NIC), or converge network adapters (CNA). For a medium-sized business, I would recommend optical cables as they are suited well for long-distance applications and offer enhanced speed and reliability. Safety is another concern and optical cabled provides resistance to EMI and tapping. It is essential to have trained professionals install and maintain the cabling, especially optical cables. While optical cables are more expensive and can be challenging to install, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Vanderburg, Eric. (2015). McGraw Hill. CompTIA Storage+ Quick Review Guide.
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