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Wireless  vs. Fiber

Posted on 2012-12-27
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Last Modified: 2012-12-27
My company is planning an internet connection with Verizon who has fiber available at the perimeter of our property.  We need to deliver it to our building which could be done in either of two methods. (1) Trench around 3000' of conduit and run fiber to the building or (2) Install wireless equipment from the perimeter to the building to cover the span.  I do not know the specific wireless equipment they would use but they said it could transmit over 300mbs.  Which is better?
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Question by:Craig Sabo
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by:epichero22
epichero22 earned 400 total points
ID: 38725379
Is cost a factor?  If not, or if it's not out of your price range, cabling is always faster, more reliable, and more secure than wireless.  I'm not sure how far you'll get with wireless, but it operates poorly over long distances.
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by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 400 total points
ID: 38725390
You asked which is better, not which is cheaper/easier.

Single mode fiber is good for 10Gb, which will easily give 50x the throughput of an 802.11n wireless connection.

Instead of WiFi *or* buried fiber, though... you might take a look at Free Space Optics.
e.g.
https://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/free_space_optics/data/dt_120_type_sfp
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gt2847c earned 1200 total points
ID: 38725398
Better is subjective and depends on your requirements.  Here are some pros/cons to each:

Fiber Pro:
Can run 1Gbps plus depending on termination technology
Can run multiple fibers in conduit so you can add bandwidth as you grow/need
Not subject to electrical/radio frequency interference
Not subject to lightning damage to equipment (fiber can still get struck if in metal conduit, but fiber won't carry the charge to you network hardware and blow it up)
Generally secure from casual eavesdropping

Fiber Con:
Expensive and cost is per foot
Takes time to trench and lay conduit
A backhoe can destroy your connectivity it in less time than you can say oops, especially if you only have a single path in/out
Takes time to fix if said backhoe takes it out

Wireless Pro:
Easy to set up
Can be done in short period of time (if you don't have to fight building management)
Can be less expensive than wired infrastructure - depends on distance and bandwidth

Wireless Con:
Bandwidth limitations with some technology ( more BW costs more $$ )
Subject to electrical and radio frequency interference
Lightning - need to put in lightning arrestor gear to protect infrastructure
Generally has to be line of sight for high bandwidth - trees and other obstructions can reduce BW or prevent connectivity
Easier to eavesdrop on connections
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 38725691
You might consider doing both to have an alternate path in case someone does cut the fiber.  If you did that, you would want to monitor it to make sure it is still working when you need it.
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Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 38725708
I agree with by: epichero22, Fiber is always a great solution is cost is not an issue. The speed is great and if installed properly, it should be very dependable.

Hope this helps!
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