When deploying a fiber network, one of the key factors used to calculate ROI is how long it will operate. After all, some copper networks have lasted 140 years in the UK, even if they can’t necessarily meet today’s high-speed broadband needs in their current form.
Optical fiber is inherently more fragile than copper. It is a particular type of glass (fused silica), with a typical tensile strength that is less than half that of copper. However, even though fused silica looks, and can feel, fragile and brittle, if correctly processed, tested and used it has proven to be immensely durable.
To assess the durability of any material it’s useful to consider certain attributes:
- Initial strength
- Rate of degradation
- Any flaws that can weaken it
- Reagents that can weaken it
- Its optical lifetime - as the silica must still be able to function satisfactorily
With this is mind, there are essentially four factors that will affect the longevity of your fiber network: