Fibre-Optic might seem like new and untested technology, however, it actually has a rich history with the foundations of the knowledge beginning in the 1840s in Paris when it was discovered light could pass around a bend when passed through water.
The first practical applications of fibre-optic cables were illuminating very hard-to-reach areas, primarily in dentistry. In 1960 it was first promoted as a practical medium for communication lines.
That's quite a long journey, considering they're going to be the basis for the entire country's communications very soon.
As you might expect, Fibre-Optic cables are cables which transmit light rather than electrical signals. But there's a lot to learn about these little cables.
So here's 10 facts about Fibre-Optic
1: Fibre-Optics are Lighter
How light are we talking? NASA uses them on their spaceships. This isn't just a bit of trivia, this means it's easier to work with and install, and easier to transport too. All of these combine into lower costs for you, the end customer when it comes to installation.
Another, perhaps overlooked reason, is that due to the incredible weight of copper cabling, more injuries are likely to occur in the heavy lifting of said cable. Because of this, insurance companies charge a higher premium, which is a cost which inevitably gets eaten by the consumer.
So in the world of cabling: Lighter = Cheaper!
2: Fibre-Optic is Binary
Copper sends it's signals via electrical impulses, where as Fibre-Optic sends it's signals via light! This makes the signal much more stable and less likely to be interfered with.
There is no "residual light charge" the same way there's residual electrical charges, once a light is off, it's off and the converse is true also when it's on, it's on.
Copper signals have "electronic thresholds" which need to be met to work as binary signals. This is a much messier way of achieving what Fibre does innately.
3: Fibre-Optic Uses Less Energy
For a plethora of reasons, fibre uses less energy than copper wiring. Since fibre is just a passageway for light to travel through there's no conductivity being used in the actual wires. Just senders and receivers on both ends.
More indirectly, future upgrades to a Fibre-Optic connection would only involve changing the senders and receivers on both ends, as the cable is already transmitting the data at close to the speed of light (light travels slower through fibre than it does through a vacuum). Furthermore, metal wiring has a finite tolerance for electricity, and over time, it degrades. Fibre cabling does not have this limitation and is more of a perma-solution for broadband.
4: Fibre-Optic is Greener
Electrical signals get weaker over distance, and typically need a repeater along the way to boost the signal. So much energy is required to achieve the same thing Fibre can achieve in just a brief flash of light. Because of this Fibre-Optic providers enjoy a much smaller carbon footprint.
5: Fibre-Optic is Safer
Fibre-Optic cables won't heat up since no electricity is passing through. This greatly reduces the hazard of fires and reduces maintenance costs. Even if one part of a wire melts, the whole thing will cease to function. This is also true of fibre cables, but they don't have the risk factor of heating up.
6: Fibre Optics are Immune to Bad Weather
Think of Fibre Optics like that cool friend who doesn't let anything phase them. Because Fibre-Cables are more like tunnels than wires, as long as their structural integrity isn't compromised, they're good to go! Normal copper wires experience high volatility in different ambient temperatures, running more efficiently in colder environments. However different temperatures over long distances create headaches, as a normal signal in a colder environment can cause more signals to arrive in a slightly warmer, causing potential burnout! But not the cool calm collected fibre!
7: Fibre-Optics are More Efficient
Light and Electricity may travel at the same speed, but Fibre signals don't degrade nearly as much as coppers signals. While it's true that, the longer the distance, the crumbier and weaker the signal quality, for most normal use of fibre-optic cables the signal loss is inperceptable. This means fewer sub-stations, lower costs and obligations, which is a saving that then of course gets passed down to the customer
8: More Resistant to Wire-Tapping
Of course, it's still possible to tap into Fibre cabling, but the benefits of the added security are tangible. It is far easier to compromise and read an electrical signal than it is a Fibre one. The expertise and financial investment required is thought to be much greater when tapping into Fibre-Optics.
9: Fibre is thinner
Copper wiring can only be drawn so thin, but Fibre can be drawn much thinner. Theoretically, it's being used to see if it can replace transistors in computers by intel. But how does that benefit you? It means for the same real estate, that a bundle of copper cables would take up, Fibre could serve many more users, making it more space efficient.
10: Fibre is... Faster!
The light doesn't actually travel faster than electrical current. But Fibre has an increased capacity, meaning it can send more at once. This is compounded further, with "Wave Division Multiplexing", which is just the fancy term for multiple data channels through a single cable.
Fibre availability is expanding across the country, and you and your business can take advantage of its awesome benefits.
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