Fiber optic cables are a new technology that is often on the tips of everyone’s tongues regarding internet speeds, better cable television, and more. Fiber optics have already been showcased as an improvement to the copper wire by many companies, and they have been slowly making their way into commercial markets and many homes. In this blog, we will discuss the various fiber optics materials that make up the wiring, as well as how they function to create greater bandwidth and transmission speeds.
The lines of fiber optic cables are made of pure glass that is often as thin as a human hair. These lines transmit data in the form of light particles or photons that travel throughout the cable. The lines come together to form the glass fiber core, and another glass layer, called the cladding, surrounds the core to reflect light within. These claddings are then surrounded by a buffer tube for damage and moisture protection. Claddings can be bundled up and encased into a jacket layer which serves as the outermost protection for fiber optic wiring.
The core and cladding work together to bounce the photons back and forth in the cable so that they may travel great distances without hindrance posed by bends and turns. With dense glass that may have impurities, the photons are unable to travel at the speed of light, and often faces degradation as they travel. To remedy this, repeaters are used to regenerate the signal to move farther distances. Light degradation varies depending on the quality of the cables, and often have a strength loss range of 10%-75% per kilometer. Fiber optics speeds are increasing over time however, and some cables are currently reaching up to 10 Gbps.
There are various advantages of optical wires as compared to the copper wire. Optical wires prove cheaper to manufacture which can save companies money, and boast less signal degradation. Optical Wires also are thinner and lightweight, enabling more bundling and less space needed. Further bundling poses less risks than copper as fiber optic wires have no interference with each other as compared to electric signals, and due to using light such as infrared, there is no flammability.
Through fiber optic wiring, there are many applications that can see the benefits and improvements over copper wiring. Fiber optic applications include internet, cable TV, telephones, computer networking, medical procedures, military and space, mechanical checks, and beyond. Even Christmas tree lighting benefits from fiber optics. As a cheaper, more powerful alternative to copper wiring, fiber optics are quickly catching the attention of many.
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