Why use Fiber, instead of Coax, to Transmit RF Over Long Distances

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antenna-wfiber2Most of fiber optic communication’s roots and adoption are in the digital domain, which is why many engineers are surprised to find that fiber optics are now being used for analog applications, like many forms of RF transmission, with great success. In fact, fiber holds some significant advantages over the previously popular solution to RF signal transmission, coaxial cable.

Below, we will go over why fiber is better than coax for transporting RF signals, particularly in long distance applications OR click here to jump straight to our RFoF products >>

Fiber offers much less signal loss than coaxial cable, which means longer distances.

Coaxial cable suffers from considerable signal loss when you get into longer cable runs. Fiber optic links are almost loss-less, so engineers can plan and install links of 10Km or longer, with very little signal loss.

Fiber is lighter weight and easier to physically route.

Coaxial cable is rather heavy and bulky. This makes it cumbersome to carry to/from installations. This also makes it difficult to physically route, as it is not very flexible. Fiber, on the other hand, is very lightweight and easy to route around whatever obstacles your installation might encounter.

Fiber does not conduct electricity. Coax does.

…and electrical surges are a very real, very costly danger of many antenna installations. When using coaxial cable to directly connect two devices, like an antenna and an expensive receiver or modem, you are incidentally creating a direct electrical connection between these two devices and making both ends susceptible to electrical surges from such natural phenomena as lightning. Fiber optics do not conduct electricity and, therefore, cannot risk conducting an electrical surge.

Fiber is immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI). Coax is not.

Since coaxial cable can conduct electricity, it is also naturally susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI), whereby industrial equipment near such cabling could effectively block its transmission. Fiber is made of glass, which is an insulator, and thus isn’t at all susceptible to electromagnetic interference.

To find an RF over Fiber link best suited for your application, click below:

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