BlogWhat is Fiber Optic Cable and Types?

A fiber-optic cable is made up of optical fibers, which can range in number from two to several hundred. Fiber-optic cables are made of extremely thin strands of glass or plastic. These optical fiber cables use optical or light-based technology to transmit data between two locations. The light beams would exit the optical fiber cable (OFC) at the opposite end after traveling down it. To convert the light pulses into electrical information that the computer can understand, a photoelectric cell will be needed.

Light repeatedly hits the walls as it travels down the fiber optic cable. Due to the extremely shallow angles at which it strikes the glass, the light beam does not escape through the edges. Then, as if the glass were a true mirror, it reflects. We call it complete internal reflection. The cable structure is another element that keeps it inside the pipe.

The main benefits of fiber cable are its increased bandwidth and reach. Due to their ability to deliver high-speed broadband services, optical fiber cables (OFC) are now favored over outdated copper telecom cables. Over 100 meters, copper wires lose 94% of the signal while optical fiber only loses 3%. Additionally, optical fibers last longer than copper wires, which are significantly more brittle. While optical fibers do not emit signals that can be intercepted, copper wire is very easy to tap. When compared to copper wires, optical fiber provides much lower latency (the amount of time needed to perform data transmission).

Types of Fiber optics cable

According to the number of modes and refractive index, optical fiber is typically divided into two groups. The following gives the justifications for these.

Based on the number of modes:

It is divided into two categories:

  1. Single-mode fiber

A single kind of light ray can only move through a single-mode fiber. The refractive index difference between the core and cladding of this type of fiber, which has a small core diameter (5 um) and a high cladding diameter (70 um), is incredibly small.

No signal degradation occurs as the signal travels through the fiber because there is no dispersion. A laser diode is used to transmit light through it.

  1. Multimode fiber

This type of fiber allows a lot of different light-ray modes to pass through it. Typically, the core diameter is (40 um) and the cladding diameter is (70um). Compared to single-mode fiber, the relative refractive index difference is also greater. Multimode dispersion leads to signal degradation. Due to significant signal attenuation and dispersion, long-distance communication is not feasible. Step Index Fiber and Graded Index Fiber are the two classifications for multi-mode fiber. Essentially, these are divisions of optical fiber types based on refractive index.

Based on the refractive index

It is further divided into two categories:

  1. Step-index optical fiber

 The core’s refractive index is constant. The cladding’s refractive index is also constant. When reflected at the core-cladding boundary, the light rays travel through it as meridional rays that cross the fiber axis.

  1. Graded index optical fiber

In this kind of fiber, the core’s refractive index is not uniform and gradually decreases from the center outward to the core-cladding interface. The refractive index of the cladding is consistent. Skew or helical light rays travel through it as they move through a material. At no point does it cross the fiber axis.

How does it work?

Numerous optical fibers, which are very thin strands of glass or plastic that are less than one-tenth the thickness of a human hair, are used to make fiber-optic cables. Data is transmitted over fiber-optic cables using light pulses that travel quickly. The central fiber is encircled by yet another layer of glass, referred to as the “cladding,” which causes light to repeatedly bounce off the walls of the cable instead of leaking out at the edges, allowing the single to travel further without attenuation. This process is called Total Internal Reflection.

Applications for various optical fiber types

The use of optical fiber has shown advantages over traditional metallic wires.

Optical fiber communication applications

  • Medical industry: Due to its flexibility and thinness, it is used in several instruments to view internal body parts by slipping into hollow body cavities. Fiber lasers are used in surgical lasers, endoscope lasers, microscope lasers, and biomedical lasers.
  • Communication: Since optical fiber cables are used for both transmission and reception, they are crucial to the fundamentals of optical fiber communication systems. It can be used in a variety of networking applications to increase speed and precision.
  • Défense: Fiber optics are used to transfer data in high-security military and aerospace applications. This material is used in aviation wiring as well as hydrophones for SONAR and seismic applications.
  • Broadcasting: These cables transmit HDTV signals at a high speed and bandwidth. Fiber optic cable is more affordable than the same number of copper cables. In order to connect HDTV, CATV, VOD, and other services, broadcasters use optical fibers.
  • Decorations and lighting: Now that we are aware of what optical fiber is, we can understand why it is used so frequently in Christmas trees and decorations. It is affordable, simple to use, and gorgeous.

FAQs

  1. Who created fiber optics?

In the 1960s, Charles Kuen Kao discovered some physical characteristics of glass, which paved the way for rapid data transmission in the Information Age.

  1. What two varieties of fiber optic cables are there?

Fiber optic cables come in single-mode and multimode varieties. Due to its diverse optical properties at the core, multimode optical fiber, also known as OFC, can transmit multiple light rays (modes) at once.

The core size of single-mode fiber is much smaller (9 microns). It can travel up to 100 km over much greater distances and has a single light path.

  1. What tools are required for fiber-optic internet?

To support fiber-optic speeds, service providers need a fiber-ready router, which internet service providers frequently refer to as a “residential gateway.”

  1. What is employed in the production of communication-related optical fibers?

Creating optical fibers involves several steps:

Fabrication of the preform comes first, then optical fiber drawing, coating, and spooling. A preform is the final fiber product in enormous form. It matches the desired product’s refractive indices in both the central core and the cladding.

  1. Name a few benefits of fiber optic communication?

Compared to copper cables, fiber optic cable has a much higher bandwidth.

  • Optical fiber can transmit a lot more data than other types of metal cables.
  • OFC cable is economical, cost-effective, and uses less energy.
  • Less signal degradation and flexibility with greater durability.

 

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