Optical fiber technology and its capabilities seem to be a hot topic currently. The promise of bandwidth scalability, faster speeds, and improved data integrity and security are some of the reasons why technology experts believe that fiber is the future of the internet and digital communications.
Up till now, fiber technology’s advantages have outperformed all other data communication mediums. Fiber is fast, reliable, and performs efficiently on longer distances. Data travels on optical fiber cables at the speed of light, which means it has surpassed the copper cabling performance by a mile.
All the strengths of fiber have made the future of copper doubtful. Nonetheless, copper has reigned supreme as one of the most common data communications medium for many decades.
In this article, we explore how far has fiber optic technology has come? In addition, how does it compare to the past technologies that were a common way of connecting to the internet?
The concept of a wire that transmits data signals in the form of light first emerged in the 1800s and the first breakthrough was made in the 1970s when the Fiber optic cables were invented.
However, fiber optic technology became famous for their data communication and networking capabilities only recently. Fiber optic cables contain either single or multiple thin hair-like fibers that are made out of glass and more recently polymer. Both glass and polymer are both good conductors of light; the fibers are coated with a cladding that also helps reflect the light waves to the core of the fiber, and then a weather resistant protective layer is added.
The fibers transmit data in the form of light, unlike copper that have an electric current. The light creates electromagnetic carrier waves that carry the information from one end to another. The light waves in fiber optic cables travel at the speed of light which limitless transmission capacity.
Latest advancements are allowing fiber technology to transmit vast quantities of data at a faster speed than ever before, and things are just going to improve in the future.
Fiber is also more secure than copper cable networks. It is immune to data interference caused by electromagnetic fields. All these capabilities make it extremely suitable for businesses and various other applications that rely on fast and secure internet and networking.
Challenges Of Optical Fiber
Fiber or FTTH isn’t as affordable as copper. Additionally, fiber technology’s complexities and challenges have prevented it from spreading in less developed parts of the world. However, progress is being made to make Fiber optic network installation more affordable.
Future Of Optical Fiber
A growing number of DSL and cable providers across the world have already switched over to fiber, and it is expected that more business and home users will make the switch soon.
Fiber is expected to play a massive role in the deployment of 5G wireless internet technology. Moreover, Fiber optics will be used to link High-Altitude Platforms, satellites, and ground bases in the future.
Fiber Optics VS Past Internet Technologies
- T1 is a last-mile connection commonly used today. It offers slower connections of only 1.544 Mbps and unshared bandwidth, which means no bandwidth scalability.
- DSL offers speeds of 1.5 to 6 Mbps. However, distance is a big issue; DSL internet users have to be close to a central office to get the speed they want.
- Coax cables offer better internet speeds but at a higher cost. It is also prone to performance issue because it is a shared medium where a cable company’s “head end” supplies bandwidth segments to users typically in a neighborhood.