Introduction to Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber is shortened name for fiber optic cable or optical fiber cable. It is similar to electrical cable but has fiber in it. It is a network cable containing strands of glass or plastic fibers. These are individually protected inside an insulated casing. Fiber is majorly designed for long distance and very high performance. This enables rapid data networking and telecommunications. It is because fibers provide higher bandwidth compared to other cables. This also enables easy transmission of data over longer distances. Today, fiber has become the backbone of the world’s internet, cable television and telephone systems. It is used by business, military, medical as well as household sectors making it one of the most useful things today.
How Fiber Optic Cables Work
Fiber optic cables carry communication signals by using pulses of light. These are generated by small lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Based on these, the classification of fiber is done. Fibers are classified as single mode fiber and multimode fiber. Those with laser and thin glass strands are single mode fibers. The fibers using LEDs are multimode fibers. Single mode fiber networks often use Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) techniques. This increases the amount of data traffic that can be sent across the strand. Multimode fiber is ten times thicker than single mode fiber
A fiber is made up of thin strands of glass or plastic. One cable can have one or more strands. These strands are less than a tenth as thick as a human hair. Core is the center of each strand and provides pathway for travel of light. A single strand is able to carry around 25,000 telephone calls. So, we can imagine how much million calls can an entire fiber-optic cable carry at once. The core is surrounded by a layer of glass called cladding. It reflects light inward to avoid loss of signal and allow the light to pass through bends in the cable.
Advantages of Fiber Optic Cables
Fiber cables have wide range of benefits compared to traditional long-distance copper cabling. They have very higher capacity. Even though being of same thickness as of copper cable, the amount of network bandwidth of a fiber cable can be exceptionally higher. The standard fiber cables are rated at 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps, and even 100 Gbps. It also requires much less signal boosters. This is because light can travel much longer distances down a fiber cable.
The physical properties of glass and fiber cables avoid most of these issues regarding interference.A special shielding is required to protect traditional network cables from electromagnetic interference. Although, even this is not enough when many cables are strung together. Thus, fiber is comparatively less susceptible to interference.
Fiber was initially developed for transmitting data through large distances. But, now it has been used for providing high-speed internet services to households. These are called as “last mile” installation. These have enabled even households and small business to use high-speed internet at much lower cost.