Fibre Optics Cabling 101

Why Fibre Optics Is Better

Learn fibre optics cabling 101 and see what it can offer you. There are many advantages of fibre optics over the traditional copper cables used for data transmission. The first and most important advantage that fibre has over copper is the speed and bandwidth that fibre can provide. Fibre optic cables currently offers the fastest speed and largest bandwidth available in data transmission technology. Fibre optic cables also offer a lower latency than copper cables that enables faster and download/uploads.

Another important advantage that fibre optics have over copper cables is the distance of a single run cable is not limited to 100 metres. Fibre optics can go much further distances without any delay in the data transmission. With fibre optic cabling being made of glass, it enables to be used in harsh weather environments like being exposed to water, varying temperature changes, and electrical surges. This means that fibre is great for outdoor use and for industrial equipment. Lastly, fibre optic cabling is immune to electro magnetic interference (EMI) and crosstalk between cables that will cause data transmission issues/interruptions.

 

How Fibre Optics Work

Fibre optic cables uses long thing strands of glass the thickness of a human hair to transmit data. At one end of the fibre optic cable, light is emitted into it and is transmitted through the glass strand at 2/3 the speed of light. Fibre optic cables consist of a glass strand that is wrapped with a cladding, which is another layer of glass that encases the glass strand core.

In single mode fibre, the light signal transfer through the glass core directly without bouncing off the cladding. In multimode fibre, the light bounces off the cladding all the way from one end of the fibre optical strand to the other end. The cladding acts as a mirror that reflects the light signal down the fibre optic strand. The biggest difference in how fibre works compared to copper wires, is that fibre uses a light signal while copper uses an electric signal.

 

The History of Fibre Optics

Some of the first uses of fibre optic technology was used in the medical field. Images were transmitted through bundles of optical fibre used in internal medical imaging examinations. This technique was refined from the 1930s to the 1960s and a cladding was eventually introduced to help with the transmission of images. Soon fibre optic technology would be used beyond imaging in the medical field to data transmission once a discovery in using a purer glass resulted in less attenuation (gradual loss of a signal in a medium).

It was found that impurities found in the glass that was used before would cause the issue of data loss in a very short fibre optic cable. Eventually purer and purer glass was created for fibre optics that would be able to carry signals vast distances. The cost of fibre optics was quite high in the 1980s due to the slow manufacturing process of cables. As technology advanced, so did the manufacturing process for fibre which resulted in the price of fibre optics dramatically going down and being more accessible. Today fibre optic cables have become the best in transmitting data regarding speeds, bandwidth, distances, and varying difficult environment.

 

Common Questions About Fibre Optics

A common question on choosing fibre optics is, why should I choose fibre optic cabling over traditional copper cabling? Fibre optic has many advantages over copper cabling. Fibre optic cables are the superior cables in almost all aspects, from speed, bandwidth, lower latency, longer distances, more uses in different environments, and immunity to electro magnetic interference (EMI).

The advantage of copper cables over fibre optics is the price. In this point in time the price point of each type of cabling should be considered in the planning of a cabling project. It is a matter of time before the advancement of fibre optics cause the reduction in its price to a point in where it is the choice over copper in any instance because the price of the two types of cables will no longer be a factor.

 

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