Is copper at its End of Life in the SME space?

Is copper at its End of Life in the SME space?

Copper wire’s legacy as the base function in telecommunications has been argued to be coming to an ensuing end in the SME sector.

Originally copper wire was only used to transmit telephone conversations and telegraph messages which later evolved in to ADSL and Leased Line connectivity.

Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is a technology that can send data through an ordinary copper wire to the person on the receiving end. ADSL can be used by businesses and home users for voice and data services.

Another connectivity that was built on the robust mature copper infrastructure in South Africa is called Leased Lines. Diginet and SAIX Diginet continue to be a trusted technology that has been carrying business voice and data (Diginet only) for the past decades.

But why is copper seen to be approaching its End of Life in the business space?

End of Life (EOL) can be defined as the final stages of a product’s existence.  Products can reach their End of Life for numerous reasons. These reasons may be due to market demands, technology innovation, development driving changes or the product has simply matured over time and been replaced by a richer technology.

Copper can be said to be reaching its End of Life as a new player in the telecommunication industry has risen. Fibre optic connectivity offers more competitive advantages with little risk over legacy copper connectivity.

Fibre optic cable is currently the fastest growing medium for connectivity and upgrades.  This includes the national infrastructure backbone, horizontal connectivity and desktop driven applications.

Fibres advantages over copper:

  • Greater bandwidth
    Copper can reach speeds of up to10240 Kbps while fibre can reach up to 20 480 Kbps. Additionally, fibre can carry more information with greater fidelity than copper.
  • Low attenuation and greater distance
    Fibre signal is made of light which allows data to move at higher and faster speeds with very little signal loss. A copper twisted pair has a 100m distance limitation which is then boosted to travel further distances and results in loss of signal quality.
  • Security
    Fibre is a hard connectivity to tap and does not radiate signals easily. Any leak on a fibre line is very easy to pick up which ensures your data is safe and secure. 
  • Immunity and reliability
    Fibre is not susceptible to any environmental factors that influence copper lines including copper theft, electromagnetic interference and temperature fluctuations. 
  • Design
    Fibre is lightweight, thin and more durable then copper and its small size takes up less space in cabling. 
  • Migration
    Fibre can be incorporated into a network in planned upgrades as lower costs of media converters make the conversion from copper to fibre a lot easier. 
  • Standards
    Fibre is a dedicated and guaranteed service that holds 99.999% uptime Service Level Agreement. 
  • Cost
    The cost of fibre cabling, components and hardware is decreasing. Fibre is no longer a terribly expensive technology that is only an option for elite companies.