Fiber optics use light pulses to transmit information via fiber lines as a replacement for transmitting information through copper lines using electronic pulses. Fiber optics are communication systems of the future – they are increasingly replacing copper wire as an appropriate means of communication signal transmission.
Many telecommunications companies are using fiber optics to transmit telephone signals, Internet communication and cable television signals because they offer much lower interference and attenuation compared to copper wire, particularly in high-demand, long distance applications.Why is the industry choosing fiber optics?
- Optical fiber can handle higher bandwidth and cover longer distances compared to electrical cabling.
- Optical fiber has a typically high data-carrying capacity – making it an ideal communication system for the future.
- Because it relies on light rather than electricity for transmission and the dielectric nature of fiber optic, optical fiber offer particularly low loss, which makes it a reliable data transmission system.
- Fiber optics can be installed anywhere – including areas with high electromagnetic interference (EMI), for example, along railroad tracks, power lines, and utility lines.
The main drawback for optical fibers is that they are more difficult to splice (i.e., join two optical fibers using heat) compared to electrical conductors. Optical fibers have high susceptibility to fiber fuse and damage at high optical intensities, which can destroy the fiber core and damage transmission components.
In spite of increasing popularity, developing infrastructure for optical fiber is complex. As a result, fiber-optic communication systems have been mainly used in long-distance applications where the ability to use them to their full transmission capacity offset the high cost of installation.
Although the cost of installing and running optical fiber has historically been high, the costs have declined in recent years.