Fiber optic cables can enable high-speed Internet surfing, transmit telephone calls and television programs, and form the backbone of modern communication networks. In contrast to earlier technologies, data is transmitted using light. Here you can find out what the fiber optic cable is all about, how it works and what advantages the transmission medium of the future will bring.
- A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of many fiber optic cables.
- The great advantage of fiber optic cables is the distance-independent speed of data transmission.
- There are now several access techniques that rely on fiber optic cables. Above all, VDSL, vectoring and FTTH (fiber to the home) are increasingly in focus.
The data transmission with fiber optic cable simply explained
According to abbreviationfinder, a fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of many fiber optic cables. These implement data transmission with light, which means that, unlike copper cables, it is not electrons that are responsible for the data transfer, but photons. A corresponding converter converts the electrical signals, for example from a telephone call, into digital signals. These can be transmitted in the form of “flashes of light” – similar to a Morse code – in the cable. The fact that these light signals stay in the fiber optic cable and do not leave it is due to a physical phenomenon, the so-called total reflection. In the example of the telephone call, there would again be a converter at the other end of the glass fiber, which receives the light signals and in turn converts them so that sound waves are generated at the end.
Speed has its price
The great advantage of fiber optic cables is the distance-independent speed of data transmission. Even over long distances there is no noticeable loss of speed, although there is still room for improvement in the future thanks to the immense bandwidth of around 60 THz. So it is hardly surprising that fiber optic cables are considered the transmission medium of the future and that fiber optic expansion has been discussed and implemented politically and practically for years. In addition to the speed, fiber optic cables also score with the fact that they are independent of electromagnetic interference, do not have to overcome any resistance and, thanks to the different wavelengths in the color spectrum, can be expanded without limits.
On the other hand, fiber optic expansion is problematic because the fiber optics and the technology installed are correspondingly expensive. It costs an average of 2400 euros to connect a single household to the fiber optic network.
What speeds can you achieve with fiber optics?
As research in recent years has increasingly focused on the question of how to transmit data faster, records are being broken again and again in this regard. Most recently, British researchers managed to transmit 73.7 terabits per second with a fiber optic cable. Even if this result was achieved under research conditions and is of little importance for today’s Internet access, it still shows the enormous potential of fiber optics. A realistic figure should be around 200 Mbit / s for Internet access at home using fiber optic cables.
Fiber optic cables are also important for the home network
There are now several access techniques that rely on fiber optic cables. Above all, VDSL, vectoring and FTTH (fiber to the home) are increasingly in focus. These offer data transfer at the speed of light, whereby only with FTTH fiber optic cables are laid along the entire route, from the provider to the home network. But the cabling within one’s own four walls could also be increasingly dominated by fiber optic cables, as the data consumption of private households continues to rise rapidly and the cables in the home network could become a bottleneck. If you do not only want to make provision for applications such as 3D films and resolutions in 4k quality in the medium term, you should also consider fiber optic cables as a sensible alternative when planning the cable laying.