Which Physical Connection is the Fastest?

Different types of connections available for businesses include coaxial cable, twisted pair cables, infrared wireless connection, microwave, and fiber-optic. If you are facing a connection issue in your office or organization, the type of connection you need depends on your overall needs. If you want to access the internet at higher speeds, the fiber-optic connection has proven to be the fastest over the years.

This article explores different types of physical connections, discussing their advantages and disadvantages to help you make an informed purchase decision. Read on to learn more.

Which physical connection is the fastest?

Let us have a deep insight into each of the physical connection mediums.

1. Coaxial cables

Coaxial cable is a type of physical connection made from copper. It is an electrical cable that comprises an inner electrical conductor and is surrounded by an insulating shield and other components that prevent signal interference. Different types of coaxial cables include hard-line coaxial cable, triaxial cable, rigid-line coaxial cables, and radiating cable.

Cable TV providers primarily use coaxial cables to connect their satellite antennas to receivers in customer businesses and homes. Some offices and homes also use coaxial cable. Traditional coaxial cables were used as an Ethernet connectivity medium in data centers and enterprises, but they are quickly becoming obsolete thanks to the discovery of twisted pair cables.


  • Assemblies are easy to install
  • Best performance in short-distance transmission
  • Coaxial cable is very durable


  • Speed fluctuation under heavy use
  • Loss of signals in long distances
  • Signal leakage at the connection

2. Twisted pair cables

Invented by Alexander Graham Bell, twisted pair cables comprise separate parallel insulated wires wound together. Each of those wires comprises a copper conductor surrounded by an insulating element. The twisting of the wires eliminates electromagnetic interference on electronic signals, making them suitable for voice infrastructure and short-distance data.

The two basic types of twisted-pair cables include shielded twisted pair (STP) and unshielded twisted pair (UTP). UTP cable comprises pairs of individual copper wires, each surrounded by an insulating material. Each of the pairs of wires is twisted around each other. STP cable combines the techniques of wire twisting, cancellation, and shielding. Each pair of wires is wrapped in metallic foil. The four pairs of wires are then wrapped in metallic foil or braid.

Twisted-pair cables are commonly used for most modern Ethernet networks and telephone communications.


  • More flexible and easy to install compared with coaxial cable
  • More cost-effective choice compared to optical fibers and coaxial cables
  • Best performance in short distances


  • Susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI)
  • Higher attenuation
  • Low durability (requires regular maintenance)

3. Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables differ from twisted pair cables and coaxial cables in multiple ways. First, the cables are designed from fiber rather than copper wires. When it comes to operation, data in fiber optic cables is transmitted through light rather than electrical signals, just like the case of twisted pair cables and coaxial cables.

Transmission in fiber optic cables can be transmitted over long distances with faster pulses which you can’t get from other physical connection mediums. Experts says that data can be transmitted up to 30,000 times faster than coaxial cables and up to 20,000 faster than twisted pair cables.

That’s not all. The optical fiber is covered by a plastic coating, which offers the required insulation. When it comes to usage, they are more flexible compared to other physical connection mediums. They can be bundled into cables and used to transmit data and sound into long-distance communication.

Fiber optic cable offers the fastest connection but keep in mind that it is the most expensive of all the physical connections we have outline here.


  • Better resistance to EMI
  • Can be bundled together
  • Performs well over long distances


  • Difficult to install
  • More expensive
  • Easy to be cut and damaged

4. Infrared connectivity

Infrared wireless networking has been around for several years. It is an old physical connection medium which was primarily used to two electronic devices. This medium uses a beam of infrared light to transmit data at a work at a close range approximately 3 feet. Infrared connectivity offers higher transmission rates of up to 16Mbps. Since the medium depends on light beams, expect signals to be disrupted whenever an object blocks the light.

Infrared connectivity is still useful for small businesses looking for secure, low-cost cable-replacement technology.


  • Infrared devices use less power
  • Infrared connectivity a secure medium
  • It has no signal conflicts or radio frequency interference issues
  • Technology has been available for long


  • Transmissions travel over short distances.
  • Signals to be disrupted whenever an object blocks the light
  • Not suitable for large companies or organizations

5. Microwave communication  

Microwave frequencies are extremely high hence providing enough high bandwidth for communication channels. For instance, modern microwave communication channel can carry up to four different videos and not more than 200 audio channels. The only communication medium that can support more channels is the optical communication channels.


  • Larger bandwidth and hence transmits a large amount of  information
  • Helps to manage crowded spectrum with the help of data compression, spread spectrum techniques, modulation, and highly selective receivers
  • Can be used in remote areas where other means of physical connection cannot reach


  • Limited to the line of sight mode
  • Conventional transistor does not function properly
  • Any obstacle on the transmission path can cause disruption
  • High cost of implementation
  • Susceptible to electromagnetic , snow, and rain interference

Which is the fastest internet connection?

When you want to connect to the internet, your office or organization has several connection options to choose from. Some of these connections include fiber optic, cable connection, satellite dish, DSL signals, dial-up, and wireless internet connection. A dial-up connection is the slowest of all internet connections mentioned here. The maximum speed you can obtain with a dial-up internet connection is 56Kbps. Fiber optic is the fastest internet connection you can choose for your business. Fiber converts data transmission signals to light which travels faster than electrical cables. The maximum speed you can get with fiber optic depends on using the fiber-optic lines for other services, the amount of bandwidth allocated by your internet provider, and the distance between the transmitting and the receiving location.

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