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Everything You Need To Know About Fibre Optic Cables

Apr 15, 2008
Fibre optic technology has done a great deal to change the world as we know it. It can be said that fibre optic cables have revolutionised the communications industry and made the internet the tool that it is today. In short the fibre optic cables guide light along the length of a cable and this light is converted into information that can be interpreted quickly into something that we can use.

The transformation of these light signals into information that we can see is converted with a complex use of applied science and engineering. Scientists have developed the theories that govern the data transfer and engineers have applied it to a tangible situation.

The fibre optic cable is utilised in thousands of different situations and the cable has a number of benefits over conventional cabling. The primary benefit associated with fibre optic cables is that they make the transfer of information extremely quick and they can also transfer enormous amounts of data.

The cables can also be made to transfer data over extremely long distances without a loss in the quality of the information that is transferred. Another fundamental benefit of the fibre optic cable is that they do not experience electrical interference. Metal wires often experience loss as a result of electromagnetic interference whereas the fibre optic cable does not suffer.

Fibre optic cables have thousands of different uses and are used in communication systems such as sensors. The word optic refers to the presence of light in the cable and it makes reference to the fact that at the core of the cable there is a system that allows light to pass through. The process that the light passes through the cable is called total internal reflection and involves a number of tiny mirror like pieces that bounce the light rapidly down the length of the cable. It does this in such a way that the light signal can be read. The cable guides the light along and is referred to as a 'waveguide'. The way in which the cable transfers the light makes a difference to how the signal is transferred in the end and the message that it delivers.

There are a number of different types of fibre optic cable that are supported by different optical fibres and the different types support what is known as different propagation paths. Multimode fibres (MMF) are fibres those that support a number of different paths. These allow for many different types of messages to be sent. Single mode fibres (SMF) on the other hand are generally more limited and are used in systems that extend up to 200 metres. Multimode cables can be used when more power is required.

The major downfall of fibre optic cables is that it is difficult to connect them to one another or to communications devices. The cables have to be cut and connected with great precision so that they can be reconnected accurately. Unlike metal cables which are very easy to connect. The fibre optic cables need to be fused together effectively so that the ends meet correctly. The process is done using an electrical arc. The fibre optic cables require special connectors so that they can be joined with one another easily.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been involved in the networking equipment and fibre optic industry for several years.
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