Introduction to Fiber Optical Technology – Part 1
Although most people have heard terminology regarding fiber optics, very few truly understand how it works. The following will discuss the basics of optical fiber technology, including its uses, features, benefits, and role in our daily lives.
Optical fibers are thin, long strands of drawn glass approximately the diameter of a human hair. Fiber-optic strands are arranged in bundles termed optical cables. They are utilized for the transmission of light signals across long distances.
At the source of transmission, data is encoded on light signals, which are alike to what appears on a computer screen. Basically, optical fiber conveys data via light to an end receiver, where the signal undergoes a decoding process that generates data. Thus, fiber-optics is effectively a medium of transmission. Simply, optical fibers are pipes that transport signals at extremely high speeds over long distances.
Developed in the 1950s, fiber-optic cables were first used in endoscopes. Endoscopes can be inserted into a patient with relative ease, allowing physicians to perform a visual examination, without performing a major surgical procedure.
During the 1960s, research by telephone companies discovered a method using optical fibers for the rapid transmission and reception of telephone calls using light signals. In a vacuum, the speed of light is approximately 186,000 miles per second. Light signals in a fiber-optic cable travel two-thirds as fast.
How Fiber-optics Function
Light signals travel through an optic fiber cable by repeatedly bouncing off its walls. Every photon or light particle bounces forward through a fiber-optic cable via a continuous mirror-like reflection inside.
A light beam moves through a fiber-optic cable’s core, the glass material that composes the middle interior of the cable. Cladding is an additional layer of glass that envelops the core. Cladding is used for the retention of light signals as they travel within the core.
Part 2 will cover Single & Multimode Fiber, Simplex & Duplex Optical Fiber, and Role in Our Daily Lives.
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