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The Role of Fiber Optic Cables in Computer Networking
June 05, 2019 by Bradley Mitchell
A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. They're designed for long distance, high-performance data networking and telecommunications.
Compared to wired cables, fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances. Fiber optic cables support much of the world's internet, cable television, and telephone systems.
How Fiber Optic Cables Work
Fiber optic cables carry communication signals using pulses of light generated by small lasers or light-emitting diodes.
The cable consists of one or more strands of glass, each only slightly thicker than a human hair. The center of each strand is called the core, which provides the pathway for light to travel. The core is surrounded by a layer of glass called cladding that reflects light inward to avoid loss of signal and allow the light to pass through bends in the cable.
The two primary types of fiber cables are called single mode and multi-mode fiber. Single mode fiber uses very thin glass strands and a laser to generate light while multi-mode fibers use LEDs.
Single mode fiber networks often use Wave Division Multiplexing techniques to increase the amount of data traffic that can be sent across the strand. WDM allows light at multiple different wavelengths to be combined (multiplexed) and later separated (de-multiplexed), effectively transmitting multiple communication streams through a single light pulse.
Advantages of Fiber Optic Cables
Fiber cables offer several advantages over long-distance copper cabling.
Fiber to the Home, Other Deployments, and Fiber Networks
Whereas most fiber is installed to support long-distance connections between cities and countries, some residential internet providers have invested in extending their fiber installations to suburban neighborhoods for direct access by households. Providers and industry professionals call these "last mile" installations.
Some better-known fiber-to-the-home services in the market today include Verizon FIOS and Google Fiber. These services can provide gigabit internet speeds to each household. However, even though providers also offer lower cost, they typically also offer lower capacity packages to their customers. Different home-consumer packages follow from cabling approaches often abbreviated with obscure acronyms:
What Is Dark Fiber?
The term dark fiber (often spelled dark fibre or called unlit fibre) most commonly refers to installed fiber optic cabling that is not currently being used. It sometimes also refers to privately operated fiber installations.
Article Source: lifewire