4 Essential Things to Know about Fibre Optical Cables

4 Essential Things to Know about Fibre Optical Cables

Fibre optical cable is a high-speed data transmission medium. It facilitates the transmission of information in the form of light pulses through a glass or plastic strand or fiber. Fiber optics are best-suited for data networking over long distances.

Telecommunication is shifting from traditional copper wire networks to fibre optics. They serve as the backbone for several communication systems. Fibre optical cables are considered as the most reliable and fastest data transfer cables.

1. How Do Fibre Optical Cables Work?

Optical fiber is based on the principle of total internal reflection. Optical fibers are thin strands of pure glass acting as waveguides for the transmission of light. They have three layers:

a. Core

It transmits the actual light signal. The amount of light transmitted into the fiber depends on the size of the core.

b. Cladding

The layer surrounding the core is called cladding. It causes reflection within the core to enable the transmission of light waves.

c. Coating

It is a multi-layer of plastic that protects the strength of the fiber and absorbs shock.

The cladding has a relatively lower refractive index than the core which causes total internal reflection. Light signals transmitted through the fiber optical cable are reflected off the core and cladding in a series of zigzag bounces. This phenomenon is called total internal reflection.

The light signals transmitted travel 30% slower than the speed of light. This is due to the denser glass layers of the fiber cables.

Furthermore, to boost the signals until it reaches its destination, optical fibers require repeaters that regenerate the optical signal. Repeaters convert optical signals into electrical signals, process the electrical signal and retransmit it into optical signals.

2. What Are the Types of Fibre Optic Cables?

The fiber types are identified by the path of the light rays or modes that travel within the fiber core.

There are two different types of optical fiber cables.

a) Single-Mode Fibre

Single-mode optical fiber has a thin core of about 5-10 microns diameter. This type of optical fiber transmits signals straight down the middle without bouncing off the edges. Internet and telephone signals are transmitted through single-mode fibers. They can send information over 100Km.

b) Multimode Fibre

This fiber facilitates the transmission of light in different modes. Multimode fiber sends information over shorter distances and is used to link computer networks.

3. What Are the Advantages of Using Fibre Optical Cables?

The advantages of using optical fiber cables include:

  • Their capability to support higher bandwidth capacities.
  • Light can travel without the need for a signal boost.
  • They are less susceptible to interference like electromagnetic interference.
  • They are stronger, thinner, and weigh less.
  • They include less maintenance.

4. What Are the Uses of Fibre Optical Cables?

Fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth. This makes it best-suited for computer networking. They are also used in broadcasting to facilitate better connections and performance.

Optical fibers are used in military and space industries for communication, signal transfer, and temperature sensing. They also add value due to the lighter weight and smaller size.

Medical instruments use fiber optics for precise illumination. Fiber optics enables biomedical sensors that support minimally invasive medical procedures. As they are not disturbed by electromagnetic interferences, fiber optics are considered suitable for MRI scans. Furthermore, fiber optic cables are used in X-ray imaging, endoscopy, light therapy, and surgical microscopy.

Wrap Up

As we understand, fiber optical cables come with several advantages like higher bandwidth capabilities, lesser maintenance, and cleaner signaling. However, finalizing the right type of cable should depend on the specific needs and constraints of the network.

Image Credit: PawinG from Pixabay

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