Technology is constantly growing and changing, even when we can’t see it occurring. Fiber optics falls under the giant umbrella of technology, but what is fiber optics?
Fiber optic networks are coming to more areas each year, and with that, more people often question how they are different from traditional copper-based cables. We are gonna cover all of the bases when it comes to fiber optics, including:
- What fiber optics are
- How fiber optics work
- The creator of fiber optics
- Fiber optic cables vs copper cables
- What fiber optics are used for
What Is Fiber Optics?
Fiber optics is the transparent technology used to transmit information as pulses of light through hair-like strands of fiber made from glass or plastic. One fiber optic cable can hold a ton of these glass fibers. Fiber optics are popular because of their advantages against regular copper cables.
They are typically used for transmitting data over long distances and internet, television, and phone use.
There are a few different types of fiber optic cables such as:
- Multimode fiber
- Single-mode fiber
- Simplex fiber
- Duplex fiber
- Active optical cables
- Multi-strand fibers
- Loopback cables
How Do Fiber Optics Work?
So, we know that fiber optic cables are made of glass or plastic fibers. They are pretty thin, almost as thin as a strand of hair. There are 5 parts of a fiber optic cable, including the outer jacket, strength member, coating, cladding, and core. The core is the thinnest part, while the cladding provides insulation surrounding the core. The coating is a protective layer, and the strength member guards the core during installation. Lastly, the outer jacket protects from any environmental risks.
Light travels through the fiber and bounces repeatedly throughout the cable. The core and cladding then bend the light passing through at an angle and then reflects off of the core and cladding repeatedly which is a process called internal reflection.
Who Invented Fiber Optics?
Charles Kuen Kao is known as the “father of fiber optic communications.” He discovered fiber optics in the 1960s when he found useful information about the physical properties of glass. This discovery paved the way for high-speed data transmission.
Kao purified the glass fibers which meant that they could be manufactured and carry a ton of information over long distances. This eventually led to the replacement of copper wires as a means of transmitting data from one place to another. Now, fiber optic communication is the leading form of data transmission that can be installed by professionals and is widely used in businesses.
Fiber Optics vs. Copper Cables
With a lot of new information on fiber optic cabling, many wonder why fiber optics over copper? Here’s why.
Fiber optics transmit faster than traditional cabling. They are measured by bandwidths, with copper transmissions maxing out at 40 gigabits per second. Fiber optics travel pretty close to the speed of light, making them a whole lot faster and more efficient than copper cables.
Fiber optic cables can also travel longer distances. Copper cables can only travel at the length of 330 feet. Fiber optic cabling can travel over 24 miles, allowing for faster and clearer communication.
Fiber optic cables are also extremely thin, allowing for more space. Even being so thin, they can travel longer and faster distances than traditional cabling. Copper cables are about 4 times the width of fiber optic cables and carry not even close to the amount of data that fiber optics can. Fiber optics can save up a lot of space and travel faster, cover a larger area, and are more flexible.
What Are Fiber Optics Used For?
Fiber optics are used in a wide variety of industries today. They have taken over and replaced traditional copper cabling. Here are a few examples of where you would expect to see fiber optics used today.
Because fiber optics transmit a large amount of data at such high speeds, they are commonly used in internet cables. The reasoning behind why they are preferred over traditional cabling is because they are less bulky, carry more data, and are more flexible.
With the use of fiber optic cables, making phone calls within the country or even outside of it has become a whole lot easier. Fiber-optic communication allows for faster and clearer connections, which is why it is preferred by many.
Fiber optic cables are more commonly used in the fields of medicine and even dentistry. The most notable is in imaging and endoscopies. Fiber optics are also used in biomedical research.
When it comes to lighting and safety, fiber optics plays a huge role in automobiles. Fiber optics is used in both the interior and exterior of vehicles and can send signals through various parts of a vehicle at an incredible speed. This is great for safety features such as airbags.
With the use of fiber optics, networking through computers in offices is quick and effortless. You will be able to see a noticeable difference in the time it takes to transfer information across networks.
The Key Takeaway…
It’s no surprise why fiber optic cabling is taking the spotlight when it comes to a faster, more efficient network. There are a ton of reasons why this option is preferred over traditional forms of cabling. Understanding fiber optic cabling can be complex, which is why we are here to help. We offer a variety of fiber optic services, ranging from network design to emergency troubleshooting. Contact FiberTechs today for your fiber optic cabling necessities.