Difference between Optical Fibre and Coaxial Cable

In our daily life, we transfer a countless amount of data from one place or device to another. These data are transmitted in the form of signals through transmission media. These transmission media are of two types:

  1. Guided (wired)
  2. Unguided (wireless)

Optical Fiber and Coaxial cable fall under the guided transmission media category. Guided media is widely usable in our surroundings like telephonic cables, mobile network cables, internet transmission cables etc.

Optical Fiber

Optical Fiber

Image Source

Optical Fiber is a thin small cable with a glass core inside to transmit data in the form of signals (electrical form). In addition, optical fibres have higher bandwidth and can transfer data to longer distances as compared to other copper and electric cables.

Moreover, the data travel in the form of light and get transmitted through angles which helps in less loss of data. As you can see in the above diagram, the inner core part is made of glass, then the glass is surrounded by the cladding of plastic.

Now, the cladding is coated with two layers to protect the inner core part. Finally, the entire cable is encapsulated in a single thick wire made of hard or fibre plastic.

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial Cable Image Source

Coaxial cable is made of conductor insulated with copper cable surrounded by conducting shield. It is widely used by cable TV services and in computer networks for both baseband and broadband data services.

Coaxial cable is mostly used in carrying TV cable signals, radio transmissions, high-speed data buses as it carries high-frequency electric signals for data transmission with low losses.

In the above diagram, it is visible that a centre conductor or copper wire is surrounded by dielectric plastic. The dielectric plastic is then covered with foil which works as an insulator. Now, a braided shield of aluminium or copper covers the part to protect it from outer interference. At last, the whole cable finally gets embed into a thick layer of plastic to protect inner layers.

Optical Fibre vs Coaxial Cable – Difference between Optical Fibre and Coaxial Cable

Basis Optical Fiber Coaxial Cable
Form Transmits data in the form of light Transmits data in the form of electrical signals
Composition The inner core (glass), cladding, coating, an outer jacket Center conductor, dielectric, foil shield, braided shield, an outer jacket
Scope Very high, can cover very long distances Moderate, cannot cover larger distances
Bandwidth Very High amount of bandwidth Low as compared to Optical Fiber
Weight Light as compared to Coaxial Heavier than Optical
Diameter Smaller than Coaxial Larger
Price Higher Lower
Transmission rate Higher transmission rate upto 2GBPS Lower transmission rate upto 50MBPS
Affected by outer signals No Yes
Cause of losses Bending and attenuation Dielectric loss
Installation Difficult Easy


When compared to each other, optical fiber cable is more efficient than coaxial cable as its data transmission rate, bandwidth, and scope is much higher. On the other hand Coaxial cable is much cheaper and easier to install than optical fiber.

Comment below if you have any queries related to difference between Optical Fibre and Coaxial Cable.

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