We have all heard of fiber optic cables. But not many people understand exactly what they are or how they work. A fiber optic cable is quite an amazing piece of engineering. However, it doesn’t look nearly as impressive as you might think. (Source: Ameri Fiber)
What Is A Fiber Optic Cable?
Fiber optic cables are used to transmit data over long distances. They are the bedrock of modern communications networks. Without fiber-optic cables, we wouldn’t have broadband internet or cable television.
Fiber optic cables offer significantly better performance than the copper alternatives. Fiber optic cables carry data encoded in pulses of light. Very fine strands of glass and silica within the cables reflect these light pulses and ensure that they reach their destination.
Some types of fiber optic cables carry multiple light signals at once. By encoding each signal on a different wavelength of light, it is possible to separate them out once they reach their destination.
How Do They Work?
There are multiple components involved in the construction and deployment of fiber optic cable. If you look inside a fiber optic cable, it is quite an unimpressive sight. All you will see is what appears to be a narrow tube. The components that enable fiber optic cables to work as efficiently as they do are all tiny.
The glass fibers that reflect the light as it travels through a fiber optic cable are surrounded by glass or plastic. This cladding layer is not just to protect the core of the cable; it also serves a practical purpose. A reflective cladding ensures that any light that would otherwise escape and be lost is instead reflected inwards. This additional reflective activity helps fiber optic cables to maintain their signal strength over very long distances.
What Are They Made Of?
There are several materials used in the manufacture of fiber optic cables. The most important of these is silica, which forms the majority of the core. However, some fiber optic cables utilize plastic and glass instead. The exact composition depends on the type of fiber optic cable and its intended use.
Fiber optic cables constructed mostly of plastic are cheaper but don’t perform as well as their silica and glass counterparts. However, plastic’s increased flexibility makes it much easier to work with and enables the manufacture and deployment of fiber-optic cables in areas that would otherwise be untenable.
What Are The Advantages?
The main advantage of fiber optic cables when compared to the older alternatives is that they enable large volumes of data to be transmitted over great distances. Not only are they capable of long-distance transmission, but the amount of data loss is minimal.
Without fiber-optic cables, we would not be able to transmit the huge volumes of data required for the modern broadband internet. Whether we are aware of them or not, fiber optic cables are everywhere. There will be several cables running beneath your feet right now. But despite the ingenious design and the impressive array of materials used to construct fiber optic cables, they are not that impressive to look at.