An optical fiber cable is a type of cable that has a number of optical fibers bundled together, which are normally covered in their individual protective plastic covers. Optical cables are used to transfer digital data signals in the form of light up to distances of hundreds of miles with higher throughput rates than those achievable via electrical communication cables. All optical fibers use a core of hair-like transparent silicon covered with less refractive indexed cladding to avoid light leakage to the surroundings. Due to the extreme sensitivity of the optical fiber, it is normally covered with a high-strength, lightweight protective material like Kevlar.
The main disadvantage of fiber optics is that the cables are expensive to install. In addition, they are more fragile than wire and are difficult to splice.
A technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.
Optical fiber cable is widely used in fiber optic communications.
A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. They’re designed for long distance, high-performance data networking and telecommunications. Compared to wired cables, fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances.
Uses for fiber optics:
Shooting light down a pipe seems like a neat scientific party trick, and you might not think there’d be many practical applications for something like that. But just as electricity can power many types of machines, beams of light can carry many types of information—so they can help us in many ways. We don’t notice just how commonplace fiber-optic cables have become because the laser-powered signals they carry flicker far beneath our feet, deep under office floors and city streets. The technologies that use it—computer networking, broadcasting, medical scanning, and military equipment (to name just four)—do so quite invisibly.
Fiber-optic cables are now the main way of carrying information over long distances because they have three very big advantages over old-style copper cables:
Less attenuation: (signal loss) Information travels roughly 10 times further before it needs amplifying—which makes fiber networks simpler and cheaper to operate and maintain.
No interference: Unlike with copper cables, there’s no “crosstalk” (electromagnetic interference) between optical fibers, so they transmit information more reliably with better signal quality
Higher bandwidth: As we’ve already seen, fiber-optic cables can carry far more data than copper cables of the same diameter.
You’re reading these words now thanks to the Internet- You probably chanced upon this page with a search engine like Google, which operates a worldwide network of giant data centers connected by vast-capacity fiber-optic cables (and is now trying to roll out fast fiber connections to the rest of us). Having clicked on a search engine link, you’ve downloaded this web page from my web server and my words have whistled most of the way to you down more fiber-optic cables. Indeed, if you’re using fast fiber-optic broadband, optical fiber cables are doing almost all the work every time you go online. With most high-speed broadband connections, only the last part of the information’s journey (the so-called “last mile” from the fiber-connected cabinet on your street to your house or apartment) involves old-fashioned wires. It’s fiber-optic cables, not copper wires, that now carry “likes” and “tweets” under our streets, through an increasing number of rural areas, and even deep beneath the oceans linking continents.
The faster people can access the Internet, the more they can—and will—do online. The arrival of broadband Internet made possible the phenomenon of cloud computing (where people store and process their data remotely, using online services instead of a home or business PC in their own premises).
The Internet was cleverly designed to ferry any kind of information for any kind of use; it’s not limited to carrying computer data. While telephone lines once carried the Internet, now the fiber-optic Internet carries telephone calls instead. Where telephone calls were once routed down an intricate patchwork of copper cables and microwave links between cities, most long-distance calls are now routed down fiber-optic lines. Vast quantities of fiber were laid from the 1980s onward; estimates vary wildly, but the worldwide total is believed to be several hundred million kilometers (enough to cross the United States about a million times). In the mid-2000s, it was estimated that as much as 98 percent of this was unused “dark fiber”; today, although much more fiber is in use, it’s still generally believed that most networks contain anywhere from a third to a half dark fiber.
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