Ethernet over copper is one of the most cost effective ways to reliably set up a computer network. Copper offers a cost savings over fiber optic cable, and is far more reliable than any wireless network could hope to be. If users are setting up a small home network, they will be happy with the high speeds offered by Ethernet over copper compared to most current Wi-Fi protocols. Despite the extra hassle of installing the cables, they will find the improved reliability of a wired network to be an advantage, as the cable is shielded against interference that might disrupt a wireless network.
Users in a business environment will also find that wired networking is suited for the increased amount of traffic they generate. With dozens or hundreds of devices connected simultaneously, having a high speed network to connect their users to file servers and printers is critical, without adding downtime caused by poor network infrastructure. This isn’t a place to cut corners, if users frequently can’t receive emails or access the internet, the lost productivity will quickly negate any savings in IT costs. Having reliable network access is a key concern, as email is often the primary contact method for business.
The Ethernet over copper is one of the ways which have been in existence in one form or another for over 30 years, being refined over the decades to increase transfer speeds and reliability. Speeds have increased from 10 megabits per second to as much as 100 gigabits per second in high end equipment. Ethernet has become by far the most popular method of wired networking, appearing on printers, video game consoles, as well as its origins in connecting office computers to each other. The advantages of high speed local networking enabled much more efficient communication compared to having to carry files from computer to computer on a floppy disk. Users could simply exchange files without leaving their desks, or send notes to each other the same way.
Ethernet over copper has been surpassed in some ways by fiber optic cable, which offers improved transmission distance compared to Ethernet, and by Wi-Fi networks, which do not require any time consuming cableinstallation. However, for the unique combination of cost and speed offered by traditional copper cabling, it has yet to be completely replaced. The future is still bright for copper networking, as the protocol speeds continue to improve over time as better cables and network hardware are manufactured, and the demand for wired networking will remain.