FIBER OPTIC CABLE IN THE MAINSTREAM USE
Fiber optic technology has transformed the ability for voice, video, and data to transmit at great speeds over the past two decades. The increased need for more bandwidth to support schools, data centers, gaming, remote offices, etc...has pushed the requirement for optical fiber to very high demand. In the day and age, we all are living currently, the use of fiber optics is much more mainstream than most people realize. Before reviewing some of the areas where fiber optics are more beneficial than copper, let's explain one of the biggest reasons...Speed! Fiber optics have a greater capacity for data transmission and the ability to transfer a minimum of 10 Gbps up to unlimited amounts. Fiber optics are considerably faster because the signal is not compromised by time or weather. As an example - if lightning were to strike a fiber cable, nothing would be distorted and communications are not interrupted. Fiber optics are made of glass or plastic, both materials being 'dielectric' or having no conductive properties which can be interfered with due to no electrical currents.
Fiber optics are allowing teachers to use more videos (higher bandwidth requirements), with immediate access due to classroom time restrictions. It is allowing quicker access to the student, which in turn is allowing more content to be studied during a standard school day.
Cameras have been around in the communities, schools, businesses, etc... the past two to three decades, however, the amount of stored content, required speed, and the number of cameras have increased dramatically. There is an "eye in the sky" recording content in most areas now, increasing the demand for the storage of the content and the need to access it quicker.
Fiber optic cable poses a lower risk when compared to copper cable. Copper cables can be damaged by environmental conditions such as electromagnetic and radio frequency interference. It is easier to tap their (copper) electromagnetic transmissions allowing cybercriminals to intercept data and information through the cables. Fiber optic cable uses light instead of electricity and requires more high tech equipment to tap the signals transmitting through them.
There is a much more conscious effort to improve our environment and surroundings, with all of us hearing daily how to make things more "green" and better for the environment. Fiber optics do not use as much energy to send light through the core compared to electrical signals needed for copper, hence cutting down on the need and usage of energy.
Currently, there is no better technology better than fiber when it comes to high bandwidth, especially single mode fiber. The benefits of fiber include the fact that its performance isn't limited only by the cable; it is also limited by the electronic components that make up the system. Upgrade the components, and the fiber optic cable will be good to go as well. Latency decreases with fiber, as well as enabling faster download speed and upload speed. Fiber can carry data longer distances, without delays because of this low loss.
Easy to Install
The misconception of fiber optics is that they are much more difficult to work with. This is not entirely true. Fiber optic cables are not nearly the weight of traditional copper cables, and they are much easier to carry from one location to the other. Fiber optic cables are easy to install and require less manpower, which will mean less cost for installation. Because fiber optic cables are lighter, they are easier to carry during installation. Having fiber optic cable exposed in the evening and outdoors does not affect it either. There is no rust or other environmental conditions that would harm the cable in storage.
Fiber to the (x)
There is more and more talk and connectivity happening for fiber to get to the home, business, curb, etc... Commonly referred to as FTTx, in the world of fiber optic cable manufacturers and installers. As we explained above, some of the benefits of having fiber are increased speed, security, and bandwidth, as well as immunity to electromagnetic interference. With more and more people working remotely, the demands on their home internet networks are greatly increased. Supplying the needs of the remote desktop, video conferencing capabilities, and high bandwidth, fiber is the obvious choice now and for the future.
Getting fiber to the home is no easy task however. Over the past five decades, the telecommunications infrastructure of most towns and cities was constructed using copper wire cabling, primarily for telephone communication, not knowing the future need for such high bandwidth and the transmission speeds that are required today. Upgrading the infrastructure for each town, county and city is an expensive and time consuming task. As the demand increases to keep up with the 'Internet of Things' (IoT), more FTTx builds will be required. As an example of the 'Internet of Things'...more households and apartment complexes are being constructed with "smart" lighting and control of household items remotely. To accomplish this, fiber optics must be part of the solution to handle the high speed of the transmission per the remote request.
5G and the future
When a person uses their mobile phone to send a text or email or to watch a video, the pathway to get there is anything but simple. The optical signal may hit a cell tower, then a satellite, back to a cell tower, and transfer over fiber on its way to the recipient's device. For that type of data demand, the infrastructure is just not fast enough. Another resource will be needed in the transmission of this data to reach the 5G signal. This resource will come in the increase of fiber optic cables and more cell towers to decrease the distance of the data demand and thus increasing the signal to meet the 5G demand.
Fiber optics have allowed the increased demands for faster information, securely and safely, to keep up with the demands of society (social media, video conferences, etc...). Schools, hospitals, homes, businesses, and daily requirements of security and cloud providers, will require fiber optic networks to continue to grow. Large companies such as Verizon and AT&T will continue to be highly tasked with keeping up with the speed and bandwidth demands businesses and society expect.