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Fiber Optic Cable vs Twisted Pair Cable vs Coaxial Cable: What’s the Difference?

Except for the construction differences of fiber optic cable vs twisted pair cable vs coaxial cable, these three types of cables distinguish from each other in cable performance and capacity.

Speed, Bandwidth & Distance

Coaxial cable and twisted pair cable are copper or copper-based wire surrounded by insulation with other materials. Both of them can transmit television, telephone and data with electrical signals. While fiber optic cable can deliver the same types of signals with much wider bandwidth, faster speed and higher frequencies. It’s made of very thin, pliable tubes of glass or plastic.

Cable TypeSpeedBandwidthDistance
Fiber optic cable10/100/1000 Mbps, 10/40/100/200 GbpsUp to 4700 MHzUp to 80km
Twisted pair cableUp to 10 GbpsUp to 4700 MHzUp to 100m
Coaxial cable750 MHz (default)Up to 500m


Though optical fiber cable offers a big benefit in terms of the flexibility of bandwidth and reliability, but it’s not as widespread as coaxial cable or twisted pair cable. And fiber is fragile and thinner than twisted pair cable and coaxial cable, which make it need more cares to install, operate and maintain. Compared with twisted pair cable, coaxial cable can reach longer distance. However, due to the dielectric insulator around the core copper in coaxial cable, it’s difficult to install and maintain coaxial cable.


Fiber optic cables are not only installed to support long-distance connections between cities and countries, but in suburban neighborhoods for direct access like the FTTH, FTTP, FTTB, FTTC, etc., which is called “last mile” installations. And they are widely used in data centers where a large volume of data needs to be transmitted.

An fiber optic cable application

Twisted pair cables are majorly used in telephone networks, data networks and cable shielding. Applications of coaxial cable include feedlines connecting radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas, computer network (Internet) connections, digital audio (S/PDIF), and distributing cable television signals. And they also can be used for high-definition media interface connections.



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