Fibre Optics and Its Commercial Applications
Everything ultimately comes down to interaction…
I’m curious how people survived back when there was no method to communicate across large distances. There was a time when string phones, like the ones we see kids playing with, were popular. They utilised a string and a tin box with a diaphragm. When sound is generated at one end and transferred via the string to the diaphragm at the other end, the diaphragm vibrates. This is the concept underlying the creation of telephones in the nineteenth century. It is the fruition of many scientists’ work that we reap today and live a pleasant life enjoying the benefits of the telephone.
There are several cables available for sending data from one end to the other. In the sphere of telecommunications, coaxial cables, Ethernet cables, and, increasingly, fibre optic cables are employed. Fiber optic connections have recently become extremely popular networking cables due to their increased capacity and ability to span enormous distances.
A better understanding of fibre optics:
A fibre optic cable is a cable that contains an optical fiber, which is made of glass or plastic and is capable of conveying information in the form of light particles. Inside a non-conducting tube, there might be a single fibre or a collection of fibers. Each fibre is one-tenth the thickness of a human hair and is capable of handling up to 25,000 phone calls. According to simple math, a single optical cable can carry how many calls?
Here are some experiments you may perform to see how fibre optics function. Assume you wish to transport data from your house to your friend’s residence through a fibre optic cable. To begin with, you must attach a laser to your computer, which will transform electrical information into light pulses. Once the light particles travel down the laser and emerge at the other end, ideally, a photoelectric cell should be there to accept the light pulses and convert them to their electrical counterpart.
The Science of Fiber Optics:
Consider a glass tube with a light wave passing through it. The light wave will bounce down the pipe, striking the glass at an angle that is ideally less than 42° with the glass tube, causing it to reflect back and strike the surface, similar to a ping-pong ball travelling down a thin cylindrical tube. According to one idea, when a light beam strikes a glass surface at an angle of less than 42°, as if the tube were a mirror, the light beam entirely reflects back without spilling out. This is known as wholly internal reflection.Even if there was a possibility of light wave leakage, it would be impossible due to the cladding that surrounds the core tube through which the light wave flows. The cladding’s function is to keep the light signals inside the core.
Fiber optic cables are classified into three types: single mode, multi-mode, and plastic optical fibre (POF).
Fiber optics has the following advantages over traditional copper cabling:
EMI is reduced.
Have you ever heard a noise when chatting on the phone? If so, it is nothing more than electro-magnetic interference (EMI). When an external source influences the electric circuit, EMI is the disruption that results. Cables made of fibre optics are resistant to electromagnet induction. Since copper conducts electricity, current flowing through standard copper wires interferes with signal transmission. In contrast, fibre optic connections allow light to pass through the wire even when EMI would normally prevent it.
In the case of copper cabling, magnetic fields and current induction not only produce noise but also pave the way for data loss. However, when it comes to fibre optic cables, the fibre optic cable itself contains the magnetic fields; they do not surround it. Therefore, unless we cut open the fibre optic line, there is no way for us to manipulate the signal being carried.
Getting rid of sparks
One of the main benefits of fibre optic connections is this. Fiber optic cables are safer in confined spaces like oil refineries where there is a risk of catching fire than copper wires, which are prone to generating sparks as they transport electricity through the wires.
The thickness of the cable always grows as the transmission capacity or bandwidth of the cable increases. This makes it a little challenging to travel through the ducts in the structures. Contrarily, fibre optic cables are thin and flexible, making installation simpler. In order to prevent fire accidents when utilising copper cables, fire retardants are also required to be utilised, whereas this is not all the case when using fibre optic cables.
Longer run time and increased bandwidth
Fiber optic cables provide a larger bandwidth, allowing for the rapid transfer of large amounts of data. Information may be transmitted over great distances using fibre optic connections without interference from noise.
Fiber optic cables are the best option for any commercial usage involving data transmission when all the elements that are in their favour are taken into account.