You hear about fiber-optic cables whenever people talk about the telephone system, the cable TV system or the Internet. Fiber-optic lines are strands of optically pure glass as thin as a human hair that carry digital information over long distances. They are also used in medical imaging and mechanical engineering inspection. Few people know that fiber optic cables have been around for a long time. Here are some things you should know about them:
It is not a new technology
Although most of the world began hearing these cables in the 1990s, they have been with us since the end of the 19th century. Like any other technology, the cables have been growing and improving day by day and will continue to become better.
Fiber Optics is an environmentally friendly Technology
To protect the environment, companies have been coming up with safe products. The fiber optic cables are one of the harmless products which consume only minimal amounts of light for transferring data from one place to another. Due to the low energy required, low levels of carbon dioxide are released thus the environment is protected. The low power consumption also means that the cost of running cables is low, which saves money for the owners of the network.
Fiber Optics are energy efficient
What most people don’t know is that fiber optic cables don’t use power to transmit data. They actually use light to do the work making it a very fast means of transmitting data over long distances. The use of light therefore means no heat is involved. One immediate advantage of this is that the cables are not a fire hazard; Therefore, you do not have to be afraid of installing them anywhere, even in places where there are combustible materials around.
Transfer of data are fast and can easily get faster
Because there is much higher capacity in each fiber unit, the transfer of data is astronomically faster when compared to traditional copper wires. Presently, fiber optics speeds are talked of in terms of terabits of data-transfer per second over vast distances. This translates into optimal utility for all stakeholders.
They are Flexible and Versatile
It is understandable that most folks link fiber optic cables to the internet and cable TV. That is where the big bucks can be made using the technology. However, the flexibility and versatility of fiber optics means it is being used in arts, outdoor ads and signs, imaging optics, spectroscopy, gun sights and artificial Christmas trees
Fiber optic cables are resilient to weather changes
Since fiber optic cables units use light instead of electricity to transmit data, they are hardly affected by the vagaries of weather; such changes include rainfall patterns, temperature, cold and other weather conditions. Only serious natural disasters such as earthquakes can cause prolong disruptions in services.
There is a strong case to be made about how the cost of fiber optics can be a strong disadvantage; however, due to advances in research and development over the years, the cost of fiber cables, hardwares and associated components have been in steady decline. And because Fiber optics cables are buried underground and encased in strong protective covering, they can actually be very cost effective in the long run. Fiber optic cables are typically more cost effective to maintain and has much less downtime than comparative technology using copper wires for instance.
photo credits: fishmancorp.com; fiberopticcamera.com