Local Area Networks (LANs) and Fiber Optics

By: CableOrganizer®

computer LAN

A Local Area Network (LAN) is a network infrastructure or combined group of interconnected computers. These are linked to each other in a way that allows shared program software or databases. LAN systems are used in colleges, universities, office buildings, industrial plants, and even home settings.

Optical fiber is a way LANs have become faster and more efficient. Fiber optic cables are comprised of thin strands of glass or plastic, transmitting data with light signals. This offers several advantages over copper wiring, including higher bandwidth, quicker connections, longer transmission distances, higher security, immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI), and more reliable data transmission.


LAN technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, with fiber optic applications a part of it. The days of sluggish downloads and speeds are long gone at many universities, though some college campuses are still behind the curve. An exact number of colleges in the United States with fiber optic connections isn’t currently available, but getting a university’s system upgraded can present challenges, with access to buildings, costs, and space factors among them. At universities with advanced fiber optic LAN systems in place, there may be high-speed connectivity in dorm rooms, classrooms, lecture halls, offices, libraries, laboratories, stadiums, and common areas throughout the university. Fiber optic LAN offers seamless collaboration opportunities among students, professors, and even with different universities, for joint research projects and specialized courses. A structurally strong LAN enables a college IT team to easily add more computers and expand the network as needed.

Learning institutions using network-based software solutions find significant cost savings versus purchasing individual licenses. A system-based approach using fiber additionally streamlines software upgrades, plus facilitates secure authentication protocols to keep networks protected and reserved exclusively for the university’s students, faculty, and staff.


The use of fiber optic LAN in U.S. office buildings continues to grow and is an attractive perk in the commercial locations where it is available. According to published reports, as of 2021, approximately 25% of these buildings nationwide — or 1.3 million — were fiber-connected. Some companies that rent space will even pay more for this type of access, because data is transmitted at lightning speeds. There are well over 5 million commercial structures throughout the United States, with the delay in installing fiber optic cables based on various factors. The terrain in rural locations can create challenges, upping the expenses to set up systems, with it the responsibility of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to obtain funding. Population densities tend to be lower in remote places, with need often a factor in the lag. Regulations on municipal broadband networks may be part of the delay to upgrade many offices to LAN fiber internet, with restrictions on municipal broadband networks in 16 states, as of 2023.


Industrial plants count on high-speed and high-quality communication links. Fiber optic applications are ideal for connecting their control systems to their LAN networks, helping a plant and its machines to run more efficiently. Optical fibers have many physical properties that make them an excellent choice for the harsh environmental conditions found in industrial plants, such as EMI, extreme temperatures, and even the potential of lightning strikes. Fiber optic cables are rugged, have a very large bandwidth, long cable lengths, and immunity to EMI.


A fiber optic LAN is simpler in a home setting, consisting of home computers, gaming equipment, printers, and similar equipment. As of 2021, 43% of homes (more than 60 million residences), had access to fiber optic networks.

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