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What Is Fiber Optic Cable?
What Is Fiber Optic Cable?

Fiber optic cables are network cables that contain strands made of glass fibers in an insulated case. These cables are designed for high-performance, long-distance data networking and telecommunications. Fiber optic cables offer higher bandwidth than wired cables and can transmit data over longer distances. Fiber optic cables are used to support large parts of the internet, cable television and telephone networks around the globe.

Fiber Optic Cables: How do they work?

Fiber optic cables are made up of one or more glass strands, each slightly thicker than a human's hair. The core is the center of each strand. It provides light with a pathway to travel. To prevent loss of signal, the core is enclosed by cladding which reflects light inwards and allows light to pass through bends in cable.

There are two main types of optical fiber cables: single mode and multimode. The single-mode fiber uses very thin glass strands to produce light and a laser, while the multi-mode optical fiber cables employ LEDs.

Wave Division Multiplexing is a technique used to increase data traffic in single-mode optical fiber networks. WDM allows light from multiple wavelengths to be combined and then separated (demultiplexed). This effectively transmits multiple communication streams using a single light pulse.

Fiber Optic Cables: The Advantages

Fiber cables have many advantages over copper long-distance cabling.

Fiber optics can support higher capacities. Fiber optics can easily carry more network bandwidth than a copper cable of similar thickness. Standard fiber cables are rated at 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps respectively.

Signal boosters are less necessary because light travels longer distances via fiber cables without losing its strength.

Fiber optic cables are less vulnerable to interference. To shield copper network cables from electromagnetic interference, shielding is necessary. Although shielding is helpful, it does not prevent interference from multiple cables being strung close together. These problems are avoided by fiber optic cables' physical properties.

Fiber to the home, other deployments, and fiber networks

While most fiber optics are designed to provide long-distance connectivity between cities or countries, some residential internet providers invest in expanding their fiber networks to suburbia for households to have direct access. These are what industry professionals and providers call last-mile installations.

Verizon FIOS, Google Fiber and other fiber-to-the home services are some of the most well-known in the market. These services can offer gigabit internet speeds to homes. They often offer smaller capacity packages to customers. These acronyms are used to abbreviate different home-consumer package types:

FTTP (Fiber To The Premises): Fiber laid all the way to the building.

FTTB (Fiber to the Building/Business/Block): The same as FTTP.

FTTC/N: Fiber is laid to the node, then copper wires are used to complete the connection within the building.

Direct fiber: Fiber that is connected directly to one customer from the central office. Direct fiber offers the best bandwidth but is more expensive.

Shared fiber: A type of direct fiber, except that it is split into optical fibers as it approaches nearby customers.

What is dark fiber?

Dark fiber, also known as unlit fiber or dark fiber, is a term that refers to fiber optic cabling installed but not in use. Sometimes, the term also refers to private fiber installations.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What is better fiber optic than cable? Better depends upon your perspective. Fiber optic internet does not use electricity, so it is less likely that it will go down in a power cut than other high-speed internet. Fiber optic internet is more reliable than traditional internet cables and also more expensive.

What is the speed of fiber optic internet in comparison to cable internet? Fiber optic internet can reach speeds up to 2,000Mbps, while cable technology supports only 1,000 Mbps. A 2-hour HD movie can be downloaded at 1,000 Mbps in 32 seconds. A 2-hour HD movie can be downloaded at 2,000 Mbps in 17 seconds.

What are the essential components of fiber optic cable's core? Three essential components of fiber optic cable are the core, the cladding and the coating.

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