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Fibre Optics

Introduction:
Fiber optics is the field of applied science and engineering concerned
with the design and application of optical fibers. An optical fiber is a thin,
flexible, transparent fiber that acts as awaveguide, or "light pipe", to
transmit light between the two ends of the fiber. Optical fibers are widely
used in fiber-optic communications, which permits transmission over longer
distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than other forms of
communication. Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals
travel along them with less loss and are also immune toelectromagnetic
interference.
It is said that a Japanese scientist at Tohoku University, also proposed the
use of optical fibers for communications, in 1963.
NASA used fiber optics in the television cameras that were sent to the
moon. At the time its use in the cameras was 'classified confidential' and
only those with the right security clearance or those accompanied by
someone with the right security clearance were permitted to handle the
cameras.

Principle of operation:

An optical fiber is a cylindrical dielectric


waveguide (nonconducting waveguide) that transmits light along its
axis, by the process of total internal reflection. The fiber consists of
a core surrounded by a cladding layer, both of which are made
of dielectric materials. To confine the optical signal in the core,
the refractive index of the core must be greater than that of the
cladding.

The jacket material is application specific. The material determines the


mechanical robustness, aging due to UV radiation, oil resistance, etc.
Nowadays PVC is being replaced by halogen free alternatives, mainly
driven by more stringent regulations.

Patch cords:

The buffer or jacket on patchcords is often color-coded to indicate the type


of fiber used. The strain relief "boot" that protects the fiber from bending
at a connector is color-coded to indicate the type of connection. Connectors
with a plastic shell (such as SC connectors) typically use a color-coded
shell. Standard color codings for jackets and boots (or connector shells) are
shown below:

Buffer/jacket
Meaning
color
Yellow single-mode optical fiber

Orange multi-mode optical fiber

10 gig laser-optimized 50/125 micrometer multi-mode


Aqua
optical fiber

Grey outdated color code for multi-mode optical fiber

Sometimes used to designate polarization-maintaining


Blue
optical fiber

Multi-fiber cables:

Individual fibers in a multi-fiber cable are often distinguished from one


another by color-coded jackets or buffers on each fiber.

This standard allows for fiber units to be identified by means of a printed


legend. This method can be used for identification of fiber ribbons and
fiber subunits. The legend will contain a corresponding printed
numerical position number and/or color for use in identification[12].

Losses:

Invisible IR light is used in commercial glass fiber communications because


it has lower attenuation in such materials than visible light. However,
the glass fibers will transmit visible light somewhat, which is
convenient for simple testing of the fibers without requiring expensive
equipment.

Evolution of Fiber

The theory of using light as a transmission medium has been around for
quite sometime.

Back in the 1880's Alexander Graham Bell demostrated that light could
carry voice through the air with the use of wires. Bell's Photo Phone
reproduced voices by detecting vibrations in the amount of sunlight
reaching the reciever. His theory was correct. However, it was not very
practical, as any objects that got in the way of the light beam caused a
disruption at the reciever.
During the 1930's several patents surfaced that used tubing as a
waveguide for light. The tubing was big and bulky, and thus impractical for
use undergound or in buildings.
Interest in optical fiber technology began to grom significantly in the
1950's, as a patent utlizing a two-layer glass waveguide surfaced. The
principal behind the two-layer waveguide was to confine the light signal
withing the inner layer (core) by the use of a second layer (cladding) that
would reflect the light back into the core, much like the way light is
contained within water.
This development became the foundation for optical fiber transmission
as we know it today. What was needed at this point was alight source
capable of traveling the length of the waveguide.
Un the early 1960's, a laser was first used as a light source, with
tremendous results. The high cost of optical lasers, however, still
prevented the practical use of optical fiber technology for communications.
In the late 1960's, it was discovered that the high loss of light in optical
fiber was do to the impurities of the glass, not its intrinsinic properties.
In the early m1970's, engineers at Corning Glass Works refined the
manufacturing process of optical fiber construction, thereby allowing for
the use of lower-cost light sources, such as LEDs.
In the 1980's, optical fiber technology began to find its place as the
backbone of long distance telephone networks throughout North America.
Presently, with the advances in digital technology and the further
development of standards, optical fiber technolgy has become an intergal
part of the networks of today, as they have become foundation for
tomorrow.

The advantages of optical fiber communication over conventional


communication system.
• Small size and weight
• Low cost and availability
• Reliability
• Enormous Bandwidths

The disadvantages of optical fiber communication


• Only economical when the bandwidth is fully utilised
• High cost of installation
• A lot of hardware at the moment is not compatible with fibre optic
cables.

Conclusion:
Fibre Optics becomes a matter of access rights. It could be really
beneficial if all of the parties involved play ball but then you have issues
like if the sewer breaks the fibre cables. Wireless would lead to much more
investment onto clearing the media off the different signals whereas the
cables once laid stays there permanent. Not much of looking up and
maintenance is involved in it.