In Blog Post, SDVoE Academy

Fiber Optics for AV Distribution

I feel very lucky, and honoured to be able to work with such a talented team of people. Every day is a school day for all of us. I asked one of our graphics animators to help me get straight to the point – why use fiber optics in pro AV? She delivered that help within seconds!

I’ll come back to that.

Generally speaking, pro AV people know that fiber optic cables use light instead of electricity to carry signals. If asked which is the most reliable option between copper and fiber, I suspect most of them would say fiber. So why are there still so many installers still using copper infrastructure for video distribution? There has to be a reason. If you speak to a fiber optics company, they will tell you all the reasons why you should use fiber over copper – zero cross talk, longer distances, more bandwidth. These are all good things, which let’s face it, we really need today.

Zombies in the walls

Even the copper manufacturers have no argument with the merits of fiber over copper.  Yet so many integrators still haven’t adopted fiber as the default infrastructure for video distribution. We do hear of more people running “dark fiber.” Dark fiber is raw fiber cable installed and left in the wall unterminated, presumably for future use. It’s a start, but it does beg the question “Why?”. You wouldn’t install a $1000 control panel in a wall, but leave it unplugged and tell the customer to use the light switch for now. It doesn’t happen because it’s preposterous to think you’d get away with it.

Do these customers actually know they’ve paid for the next generation of cabling infrastructure to be left in the wall unused, while yesterday’s technology is made to carry the signals?

For those who haven’t adopted fiber yet, it feels like they don’t trust it yet. For those who run dark fiber, it feels like they don’t trust themselves to terminate it properly yet. Those people who have moved to fiber optics don’t look back. They embrace the change and quickly realise just how easy, safe and quick it is to terminate. And as far as cost is concerned, it’s actually cheaper than the copper Cat6a equivalent.

Why fiber optics? It’s so simple!

I didn’t want to be just another AV guy with an opinion on this heavily discussed topic, so I reached out to the team. Our graphics animator said with a smile, “Ask anybody outside the pro AV industry which type of broadband service they’d prefer, fiber or standard. I’m pretty certain I know which they would choose”.

And then it dawned on me. Surely if our customers are now asking for fiber TO the building instead of copper, how long will it be before they question the integrator as to why they don’t have fiber IN the building too?

Now that would be awkward!

Why not take a look at the new course on the SDVoE Academy to find out more about the importance of making the right decision with your structured cabling designs, and the impact it will have on today’s and tomorrow’s video distribution? Visit the SDVoE Academy and sign up. If you are already signed up, you can go directly to AV Distribution over Fiber Optics.

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