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What is Optic Fiber Cable?

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With the increasing needs for quicker data transmission speed in network, fiber optic cable is getting increasingly popular over the past few years. However, some people may still be all at sea of what fiber optic cable is. What is fiber optic cable and how does it work? Read this post below to get information about fiber optic cable definition and how a fiber optic cable works.


What Is Fiber Optic Cable?

Fiber optic cable, also know as optical fiber cable, is a type of Ethernet cable which consists of one or more optic fibers that are used to transmit data. It is an assembly similar to an electrical cable while it is used to carry light and the fiber optic cable price is much higher than that of copper cable. Designed to use light pulses, fiber optic cables support long distance telecommunication and high-speed data transmission. Normally, fiber optic cable can run at a speed of 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps and even 100 Gbps. Therefore, it is widely used in much of the world's internet, cable television and telephone systems.

what-is-fiber-optic-cable


What Is Fiber Optic Cable Composed Of?

Core -This is the physical medium that transports optical data signals from an attached light source to a receiving device. The core is a single continuous strand of glass or plastic that's measured (in microns) by the size of its outer diameter. The larger the core, the more light the cable can carry. All fiber optic cable is sized according to its core diameter. The three sizes most commonly available are 50-, 62.5-, and 1 00-micron Gable.

Cladding -This is a thin layer that surrounds the fiber core and serves as a boundary that contains the light waves and causes the refraction, enabling data to travel throughout the length of the fiber segment.

Coating -This is a layer of plastic that surrounds the core and cladding to reinforce the fiber core, help absorb shocks, and provide extra protection against excessive cable bends. These buffer coatings are measured in microns (p) and can range from 250 p to 900 p.

Strengthening fibers -These components help protect the core against crushing forces and excessive tension during installation. The materials can range from Kevlat4 to wire strands to gel-filled sleeves.

Cable jacket -This is the outer layer of any cable. Most fiber optic cables have an orange jacket, although some may be black or yellow. 


fiber-optic-cable-composition


How Does Fiber Optic Cable Work?

After solving "what is fiber optic cable", "how it works" may be the top question related to it. Actually, light travels down a fiber optic cable by bouncing repeatedly off the walls. The fiber core and the cladding bend the incoming light at a certain angle with their own refractive index. When light signals are sent through the fiber optic cable, they reflect off the core and cladding in a series of bounces, which a process called total internal reflection.

fiber-optics-total-internal-reflection


Fiber Optic Cable TypesSingle-mode Fiber vs. Multimode Fiber: Which to Choose?

Normally, fiber optic cable comes in three types, namely, single mode fiber (SMF) ,multimode fiber (MMF),plastic optic fiber(POF). 

Single-mode fibers have small cores (about 3.5 x 10-4 inches or 9 microns in diameter) and transmit infrared laser light (wavelength = 1,300 to 1,550 nanometers). (Below images the left one)

Multi-mode fibers have larger cores (about 2.5 x 10-3 inches or 62.5 microns in diameter) and transmit infrared light (wavelength = 850 to 1,300 nm) from light-emitting diodes (LEDs).(Below images the right one)

Some optical fibers can be made from plastic. These fibers have a large core (0.04 inches or 1 mm diameter) and transmit visible red light (wavelength = 650 nm) from LEDs.

Compared with single mode fiber, multimode fiber has a limited transmission distance by model dispersion because it has a large core size and supports more than one light mode (from OM1 to OM5). Single mode fiber is suitable for long distance applications such as 100km between buildings while multimode optical fiber is used in short distance transmission within buildings such as computer network linking.

singlemode-coreMultimoder-FIber-Core-Diameters


Advantages and disadvantages

Fiber optic cables are used mainly for their advantages over copper cables. Advantages include:

    Support of higher bandwidth capacities.

    Light can travel further without needing as much of a signal boost.

    They are less susceptible to interference, such as electromagnetic interference.

    They can be submerged in water- fiber optics are used in more at-risk environments like undersea cables.

    Fiber optic cables are also stronger, thinner and lighter than copper wire cables

    They do not need to be maintained or replaced as frequently.


However, it is important to note that fiber optics do have disadvantages users should know before handling them. These disadvantages include:

    Copper wire is often cheaper than fiber optics.

    Glass fiber also requires more protection within an outer cable than copper.

    Installing new cabling is labor-intensive.

    Fiber optic cables are often more fragile. For example, the fibers can be broken or a signal can be lost if the cable is bent or curved around a radius of a few centimeters.


What is the difference compare to copper wire cables.

Copper wire cables were the traditional choice for telecommunication, networking and cable connections for years, fiber optics has become a common alternative. Most telephone company long-distance lines are now made of fiber optic cables. Optical fiber carries more information than conventional copper wire, due to its higher bandwidth and faster speeds. Because glass does not conduct electricity, fiber optics is not subject to electromagnetic interference, and signal losses are minimized.


Source: http://www.fiberopticshare.com/what-is-fiber-optic-cable.html October 6, 2018

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