Fiber Optic Switch: What Is It & Why Do We Use It? [2022 Updated]

The fibre optic switch is the communication control device that is used in different apps across various different platforms. This is particularly used along with optical fibre networking. Fibre optics plays a vital role in computer and networking and the optic switch refers to any circuit that is placed between the fibres.

In short, the device is designed to help in transferring signals between optical cables and modules.

These days, we always search for the fastest network connection available and this is where the optical fibre comes into play. Unlike the copper wires that were traditionally used, optical fibre has a higher transmission rate and is much more efficient.

Like any other device, the fibre optic switch and optical fibre have their advantages and disadvantages too. Here we are going to share the different ways in which the optical network switch is very useful and helps us to enjoy a smooth network connection. When you have a comprehensive idea about the working and use of optical fibre, you can choose it correctly for your communication requirement too.

Fibre Optic network switch is one of the latest technologies in the networking world and still evolving. Despite its under-development status, it has some vital features that can surely get the attention of domestic as well as entrepreneurial users.

Read on to find out in detail all about the fibre optic switch.

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What is Fibre Optic Switch?

The first thing to know is to understand what a fibre optic switch is. When you have a clear conception of the device, choosing the right option for your home becomes easier. In computer networking, a fibre optic switch is used to send and receive data as well as determine where every data packet is supposed to go.

The speed and bandwidth of these cables are significantly higher, making them a great choice among heavy-duty users. Moreover, such cables and switches are more reliable as they do not face any interference from electromagnetic waves. As a result, there is no noise experienced in the fibre switch technology.

In any type of fibre optic network switch, optical cables are used instead of the traditional copper wires. There are several advantages of using these cables which we will learn in the later sections. Optical cables can be used for the internet as well as telephone connections and much more.

In short, all types of communication services today can benefit from this specific type of cable because they are versatile. Optical cables and the switches designed for them are capable of transmitting a variety of signals which are not possible through the copper wires.

But what is the best choice for your communication requirement? In the next segment, we have provided details on the different types of fibre optic network switches and how they can be implemented in your network system.

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Types of Fibre Optic Network Switch:

There are different types of fibre optic network switches based on their speed and the type of ports. Furthermore, they can be classified as PoE and Non-PoE categories. Here we have shared the different types that you can choose for your device and what sets them apart:

  • Fibre Optic Network Switches Based On Speed:

The fibre optic switch is generally referred to as the fibre ethernet switch. They come at different speeds and are named accordingly. The following are the different speeds you get and the names of the different types of fibre to ethernet switches as per their speed:

  • Fast Ethernet switch with the speed of 10/100 Mbps
  • Gigabit Ethernet switch that has a speed of 10/100/100 Mbps

  • Ten Gigabit Ethernet switches whose speed is up to 10/100/1000/10000 Mbps

At present, the gigabit ethernet switch is the most common and widely available option in the market, especially for users looking for a high-speed and stable home network. The Ten Gigabit Ethernet Switch is also growing in demand but more so in data centres and commercial areas. Owing to the growing demand, today the latest available version that has been evolved includes the 10GBE switch.

These are fixed-configuration switches but you can also find customizable ones too. They can be set at an even higher speed of 25, 40 and even 100 Gbps.

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  • Fibre Optic Network Switch Ports:

The fibre optic network can also be classified based on the type of port you need to connect them. The typical ports for optical network switches include 5, 8, 12, 24, 32, 48 and 54-port. These ports are the combination of fibre and copper connection. There are also SFP/SFP+ slots that are for fibre connection.

Along with this, there are RJ-45 connectors for copper connectivity in the Gigabit ethernet switch and in the Ten Gigabit ethernet switch. In the case of 25, 40, 100 G fibre switches, there are other ports such as SFP28, QSFP+, QSFP28 etc.

With the help of fibre connectivity, you can get data transfer up to 120km. However, with copper wire, the data transfer is very limited to 100m.

  • PoE and Non-PoE Fibre Optic Network Switch:

These days the fibre optic ethernet switch can implement power over ethernet or PoE. This means, you do not have to attach any devices like VoIP phone, or IP camera, router, Wi-Fi access point to a separate power supply. This type of fibre switch is called a PoE switch which can deliver the power to the device through an ethernet cable.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Fibre Optic Switch:

There are always two sides to a coin and hence the fibre optic switch also comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. The fibre to ethernet switch is an incredible option when you need high-speed internet. The following are the advantages and disadvantages associated with the fibre optic switch that you must know about:


  • You get improved service delivery when you switch to the fibre optic switch. The finer glass wiring is capable of transmitting a significantly higher amount of data in much less time. As a result, all kinds of telecommunication like phones, computers, the internet, mechanical systems, lighting, will benefit from this technology.
  • The fibre optic switch and wires are versatile and hence are put to use in almost every telecommunication industry there is. The efficiency and stability of these systems are greatly enhanced with the help of the optic fibre cables. Problems caused by network congestion are a thing of the past when you have the fibre optic switch. The signals transmitted through the fibre optic wire are sent as they occur but not all at once. Moreover, the number of transmitting signals is not limited as it is with copper wires.
  • Another advantage of fibre optics is reduced noise from other elements such as radio frequencies, electromagnetic waves and even airwaves. Since the signal is not affected by any of these, you can get a more crisp and better transmission overall.
  • The network not only becomes more reliable but it is faster by manifolds compared to traditional copper wires. The fibre cabling eliminates all types of interferences experienced by metallic interfaces. Thus, the bandwidth is increased, making it very useful in places where better and high-capacity transmission is required.
  • The signal security is much higher compared to copper wires. Since the data handling is more efficient, you can rest assured that the signal transmission will be done securely. This makes it a great choice in places where highly confidential data has to be transmitted.
  • The bandwidth of the fibre optic switch and cable is much higher than copper ethernet wires. While the copper ethernet wire can cover up to 100 meters around it, the range of the optical fibre technology is as high as 120 km, depending on the type of wire you are using.
  • Last but not the least, the cost-effectiveness of fibre optics is commendable compared to that of copper wires. Thus, businesses and even home networks relying on optical fibre get much better service at a fraction of the cost.


Though the fibre optic switch has many advantages, one cannot rule out the disadvantages associated with it either. The following are some major disadvantages as reported by many users of the optical fibre technology:

  • The technology is still evolving and thus has a long way to go. As a result, the optic fibre switches you come across these days are not devoid of glitches entirely. Being an evolving technology still in a nascent stage is often seen as a disadvantage by the users.
  • Fibre optic switches and wires are made from fine glass wires which require expert handling and installation. People who are trained in the art are rare and as a result, you may not get the best help when the installation process comes up. Furthermore, if there is any defect during installation it will be very difficult to locate and since the wire is so delicate and fragile, it is also more prone to such damages.
  • Though it is comparatively cheaper than copper wires, the installation process and the specialized tools and equipment required in the process can cost a fortune. As a result, the overall costing is considered quite high by many clients. The fact that the delicate wire is more prone to damage which can further add up to the cost does not do any justice in favour of this technology either.
  • Prior to the installation, the temperature and the pollution of the region must be thoroughly checked. The temperature should not exceed 113 Fahrenheit and the placement should be done in a well-ventilated area. Meeting these conditions can be more difficult than you expect.

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Why Do We Use Fibre Optic Switch?

In the present day, the popularity of the fibre optic to ethernet switch is growing for several reasons. Primarily their high speed and ability to transfer significantly more data in less time is the reason behind their popularity.

The fibre optic switches are applied to our daily lives today, as much as they are used in the data centre. It consists of extremely fine glass tubing which helps to carry all types of data and is used for phones, television, computer networks and various other forms of network.

The reliability, cost-effectiveness, higher bandwidth, and better signals altogether make the fibre optic switch a popular choice for all kinds of networking purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why do we use fibre optic?

The primary reason why fibre optic is chosen is the high data transfer speed even for a large amount of data. Moreover, compared to the copper wires, fibre optics wires are less bulky, more economic, highly flexible and can carry a much higher amount of data over a longer distance.

  • Is optic fibre better than Ethernet?

Compared to copper ethernet the optic fibre has a better transmission rate and has the potential to be very fast. A single optic fibre strand is tested and revealed to transmit data at a rate of 100 terabits per second.

  • Do I need a special router for fibre optics?

Using a fibre optic router will be able to get all the speed from the fibre optic connection. However, a non-fibre router is not able to connect to the fibre optic internet. Therefore, it is important to have a specific type of router and a good one so that the connection can be supported.

  • Will fibre optics improve my Wi-Fi?

When your fibre internet is connected to a router for wireless service, you can enjoy a much faster internet connection. However, the speed will fluctuate depending on your devices’ distance from the router as well as the number of devices that are connected to the network. But usually, the internet is much more stable when it is sourced through the optical fibres.

  • How is the fibre internet connection to your house?

The fibre optic connection is delivered to your home through a cable that is either underground or on an aerial power pole. From there excess wires are pulled directly into your home. The service is called fibre to your home which is exactly what it is called. The internet service provider gives this service and does the entire installation for you so that you have internet access right at your doorstep.

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To sum it up, one can rightly say that the advantages and usefulness of fibre optic switches and cables are much more compared to the disadvantages and other similar devices. They are very durable and presently one of the most popular forms of network connection devices available. When you choose the right fibre switch for your device, you can get the maximum use out of it.

To enjoy uninterrupted internet and telecommunication through a wired medium these days, optical fibre is the first choice. So, if you are considering upgrading your connected devices, it will be a good choice. Keeping in mind the benefits associated with these you can make an informed choice and get the best service possible for your home network.


Hey tech enthusiasts! It’s Lisa this side, just another tech lover like you guys. I have always been in love with the internet and technology. I have grown up as someone who passionately simplifies modern technology for people. My friends and family call me an expert on wifi routers, modems, and every accessory related to it, so I guess that struck me the most to start a blog of my own. Hopefully, you`ll find my website as useful I thought it would be to you. I will keep posting about the routers and their reviews. Check them out!

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