Optical fiber cables are everywhere around you. They are the bedrock on which modern day communication systems are built on. But if you don’t have the slightest clue about optical fiber cables, that’s okay, because very few people really know much about them.
Basically, an optical fiber cable is a flexible, transparent cable that is made from glass, which is used to transmit light between the two ends of a fiber. Fiber optic communication involves transmitting data over longer distances at higher bandwidths than is possible with ordinary wire cables.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of optical fiber cables….
Higher Bandwidth – These cables have a much higher bandwidth than what is possible with metal cables. This means they transmit more data over a unit of time than what other types of cables are capable of.
Low Power Loss – These cables run for longer distances compared to copper cables. A stretch of fiber cable can run for as many as 2 km. Compare this with copper cables which only run for 100 m.
Interference – These cables are not affected by electromagnetic interference. They are fully capable of functioning in electrically noisy environments without getting distorted in any way.
Size – Optical fiber cables have 4.5 times as much capacity as wire cables and 1/30th the cross sectional area.
Weight – These cables are much thinner and lighter than ordinary metal wire cables. This makes them much easier to install.
Security – Optical fiber cables are very secure and not easy to hack. They cannot be intercepted as they do not radiate any emissions or electromagnetic energy. They are fully capable of carrying highly sensitive data.
Flexibility – These cables have a higher tensile strength compared to steel or copper cables of a similar diameter. They are flexible and bend with ease, and fully capable of resisting the attack of any corrosive elements.
Cost – Copper is an expensive metal, so copper wires cost a lot. Optical cables are made from glass, which is made from sand, which is available in plenty and is very cheap. That’s why optical fiber cables are very cheap.
Not Easy to Splice – These cables are hard to splice and there is a possibility of light being lost because of scattering. These cables have only a limited physical arc and if bent beyond a point they can break.
Installation is Expensive – Installation of these cables is expensive and has to be performed by highly trained specialists with specialized test equipment. They are not as robust as wires, so have to be handled carefully.
Highly Susceptible – These cables are susceptible to getting cut or damaged during the installation as they are small and compact and vulnerable to damage.
They Cannot Be Curved – You cannot curve optical fiber cables. Any transmission on optical fiber can be broken or stopped if the cable was to get wrapped around curves, even if the curves were only of a radium of a few centimeters.
Fiber optical cables have both pros and cons, but as you can clearly see, the pros outweigh the cons by far. Eventually you can expect optical fiber to completely replace copper wire.
This information in this article has been provided by Simon Young from 1000 GIG – Your leading provider of Network Infrastructure and Connectivity Products.