Fibre optic-based Lans could be 15 per cent less expensive to run than traditional copper-based networks, according to a new study.
Research by independent testing company The Tolly Group found that businesses could save between $40,000 (£26,600) and $235,000 implementing fibre-based networks, because they can cover greater distances and do not need specialised equipment housed in multiple air-conditioned rooms.
John Curtis, vice president of engineering at The Tolly Group, said: "Fibre optics can support longer distances and enable companies to deploy a centralised architecture by consolidating the equipment into one main room."
According to US telecoms standards requirements, companies using traditional copper Lans are required to maintain special air-conditioned rooms to house hubs and switches at every 100 metres. Fibre can stretch to cover distances of at least 300 metres and so do not need as many rooms to contain specialised equipment.
The study, commissioned by telecoms tools vendor 3M, found that the average per-user cost of a 60,000 square feet building with 267 users using Cat 5e copper cabling was $962.76. This compares with a cost of $806.80 per user with the same configuration but the ability to reduce the number of telecom rooms from five to two.
The figures do not include savings in management costs such as network maintenance, faster troubleshooting and the absence of active components between end users and the backbone, according to the report.
Curtis said the use of fibre would also make networks immune to electro magnetic interference compared with copper cabling, which could be affected by radio frequencies.
However, The Tolly Group does not believe that fibre optics will immediately replace the use of copper in existing Lans, but could be used as alternatives in greenfield sites.
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