Optical Fiber Communication

In the presence of widely felt data using community, optical fibre communication has revolutionised the telecommunication industry. By optical fibre, communication has enabled telecommunication links to be made over much greater distances. With the lower loss in the transmission medium and possibly crucial for all, fibre optical communications have allowed much higher data rates to carry.

What is optical fiber communication?

optical fiber communication

Optical fiber communication is the process of communicating information from one place to another place through an optical fiber cable. The light forms an electromagnetic carrier wave which is fiber modulated to carry information. The texture is preferred over electrical cabling when the bandwidth is high,  distance is long, or immunity to electromagnetic interference is required.

History of optical fiber communication

Optical communications became a possibility after the first lasers were developed during the 1960s. The next piece of the jigsaw fell into place when the first optical fibers cable comes with a sufficiently low loss for communication purposes, which was developed in the 1970s. Then, during the late 1970s, a considerable amount of research was undertaken. This resulted in leads to the installation of the first optical fiber telecommunications system in the world. It ran about a distance of 45km and used a wavelength of 0.5mm and had provided a data rate of just 45mbps – a fraction of what is possible today.

Since then, considerable improvements have been made in technology. Data rates have been improved and in addition to this performance of the optical fibers have been enhanced to enable much higher distance to be achieved by repeaters, as an indication of the speed that can now be made, along with a fiber optic system, exceed10 Tbps.

The process of communication using fiber-optic involves the following steps

1.   Creating the optical signal involving the use of the transmitter, usually from an electrical signal.

2. Relaying the signal along with the fiber, ensuring that the signal doesn’t become too distorted or weak.

3. Receiving the optical signals.

4. Converting them into an electrical signal.

Advantages of optical fiber communication

  • Wide bandwidth:- The lightwave contains the frequency range which lies between 2*1012 Hz to 3.7*1012 Hz. Thus the information-carrying capacity of fiber optic cable is much higher than any other.
  • Low losses:- Fiber optic cables also offer less signal attenuation over long distances that is less than one dB/km.
  • Immune to cross talk:- Optic cables have very high immunity for the electrical and magnetic field. Since fibre optic cables are insulators of electricity, hence they do not produce any magnetic field.
  • Interference immune:- Fiber optic cables are immune to conductive and radiative interferences created by electrical noise sources such as electric motors, lighting, fluorescent lights.
  • Lightweight:- As Fiber cables are usually made up of silica glass or plastic, which is much lighter than copper or aluminium cables. Lightweight fibre cables can transport more cheaply.
  • Small size:- The diameter of the fibre is lower as compared to the other cables. Therefore it required less storage space.
  • More strength:- The fibre cables are more durable and rugged. Hence, it can support more weight.
  • Security:- Fiber cables are more secure compared to any other wires. It is almost impossible to tap into a fibre cable as they don’t radiate signals. No ground loops exist between optical fibres. Hence they are more secure.
  • Long-distance transmission:- Because of less attenuation transmission at a longer distance is possible.
  • Environment immune:- Fiber cables are more immune to harsh environmental conditions. They can work over significant temperature variations. Also, they are not corrosive by liquid and gases.

Disadvantages of optical fiber communication

  • High initial cost:- The initial cost incurred is very high as compared to all other systems during the installation and setting up.
  • Maintenance and repairing cost:- Fiber optic system’s maintenance and servicing is not only very difficult but also very expensive.
  • Jointing and test procedure:- Optical fibre are very small in size. Therefore fibre joining process is very costly and required skilled workforce.
  • Tensile stress:- Optical fibre is more susceptible to bending buckling and tensile stress as compared to copper cable. This leads to the restricted practice to use fibre technology to floor backbones and premises with the few interfaces to the copper wire.
  • Short links:- Even though optical fibre is inexpensive; it is still not cost-effective to replace any small formal connectors, as the price of electronic transducers is very high.
  • Fibre losses:- The quantity of optical fibre to photodetector at the end of fibre length depends on various fibre losses such as dispersion, reflection, scattering, and attenuation.

Applications of optical fiber communications

Optical fiber communications find many uses and applications in a wide variety of industries.  Some of the methods of optical fiber cables are given below:-

optical fiber communication
  • Optical fibre is commonly used in the medical sector light guides, imaging tools and also as lasers for surgeries.
  • Defense and government use optic fibre as hydrophones for SONAR and seismic waves, as writing in submarines, aircraft and other vehicles and also used for field networking.
  • Optical fibre is widely used for data storage.
  • It is used to connect users and servers in a variety of network setting. It also helps to increase the speed and accuracy of data transmission.
  • Industrial and commercial sector are using it for imaging in hard to reach areas, as wiring where EMI is an issue. It works as a sensory device to make temperature pressure and other measurements and is used in the installation in automobiles and industrial settings.
  • Cable TV and broadcast are widely using fibre-optic cables for wiring HD TV, CA TV, internet, video on demand and other application.
  • Optical fibres have many other applications, for example in hospitals, schools, CCTV systems, traffic management systems, telephone systems and computer networks system, etc.

As a result of this, an optical fiber communication system becomes a significant part of the telecommunication backbone infrastructure to Ethernet, general data networking, and broadband distribution.

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