What is Attenuation? And How it Affects Your Connection

What is Attenuation?

Put simply, attenuation is the loss of transmission signal strength measured in decibels (dB). As it increases, the more distorted and unintelligible the transmission (a phone call or email you’re trying to send) becomes.

To resolve this distortion, networks send multiple repeat signals to ensure at least one successfully reaches its destination. The main side effect of this is a reduction in total speed available due to those extra signals being sent.

Think of it Like This:

When you and your friend are walking along a busy street and are chatting, you can hear them clearly. Now if that same friend were to cross the street and continue talking to you, the street traffic and background noise (attenuation) would make that conversation inaudible right? I hope that makes it clearer.

What Causes Attenuation?

1. Environment Noise.

Extra noise on networks, like radio frequencies, electrical currents, and wire leakage, has the potential of interfering with the signal and causing attenuation. The more noise you have, the more attenuation you’ll experience.

2. Physical surroundings.

Physical surroundings like temperature, wall barriers, and improper wire installation may distort the transmission.

3. Distance.

The further transmissions have to travel from their current location (e.g., your home or workplace) to a Central Office (C/O; the location of your connection provider), the more noise they experience along the way.

Attenuation Rates in Fibre vs. Copper

Attenuation may occur in any type of signal whether it be copper, fiber, satellite, or LTE. However, when it comes to fiber and copper connections, however, fiber far outshines all the other alternatives. (Another reason you should switch to FiberOne Broadband).

Fiber signals travel on high-frequency wavelengths of light insulated by glass tubes. Since light is resistant to sources of noise like electricity and radio frequencies, fiber connections have a very low attenuation rate.

On the other hand, since copper signals are made up of electrical frequencies that are vulnerable to noise, they are much more affected by physical surroundings than fiber. Anything from temperature to improper installation (this stuff ain’t your average DIY) may affect the copper line and increase the attenuation rate.

As a rule of thumb, the lower the attenuation dB of your connection the better.

Bottom Line

Attenuation is a loss of signal strength measured in dB that reduces a connection’s maximum speed available due to the need for several repeat transmissions.

In conclusion, the attenuation you experience – and how it impacts your home or business – depends on the distance between you and your router. The further the distance, the lower your available connection speed will be. If you truly notice a difference in your copper connection due to attenuation, you may want to consider switching to a fiber broadband provider.

If you are not yet a FiberOne Broadband user, now is the best time to switch. Whether you want to use it for your home and personal use, or for your business, we have the right package for you. Click here to see our offering and get started.

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