The basic difference between these two technologies is simple and straightforward. The Fibber-optic cable technology, as the name suggests, involves the use of cable. As a matter of fact, it converts packets of data that include images, text, video, emails, etc) into a stream of light, and when the light travels through the cable, it is converted back to its original form. Wireless communication, on the other hand, converts the data it transmits into electromagnetic waves for broadcasting. However, other differences are outlined below for the benefit of the reader.
Difference in Speed
Even though a wireless network is supposed to transmit data at the same speed as the fiber-optic, in reality it is not so. In other words, the latter gains much higher speed. This becomes more apparent when networks become heavily congested, all users of wireless network sharing the same bandwidth. And as a result, the wireless network becomes slower. Fiber-optic, on the other hand is not affected like this and so gains higher speed.
Difference due to distance, yet there are benefits
True; wireless signals degrade proportionally with distance. The more you are away from the broadcast station, weaker will by the signals. Fiber-optic cable, on the other hand, is least affected by distance and so, you can have clear signals, regardless of how far away you are from the source. But there is one single factor which is cost and that will go in favor of wireless broadband. For instance, if you are located in a remote area, the cost of laying fiber-optic cable to reach your site will be so high as to make it not so worthwhile.
Mobility and convenience are great factors
Thousands of US citizen surf the Internet each day and night via technology that does not need any wired connection. Smartphones, Blackberries and sundry other portable devices enable users to access the Internet almost anywhere. Hotels, motels and coffee-shops all over the US provide free internet access sans hooking any wire to a laptop.
However, the downside may also be considered – in some areas wireless services do not work.
Many resourceful communications systems, observing the pros and cons of both the technologies, prefer going for Fiber-optic as well as wireless transmission systems. It has also been found that while cable companies are providing Fiber-optic service to a residential consumer’s front door, the consumer jolly well uses Wi-Fi for his/her own network. As for businesses, they wire up their LAN alright, but staffers use iPhones to manage emails while out on the go. No wonder, most countries today consider using both technologies, assuming a single technology does not work for all.