What Are Fiber Optic Cables

Since the advent of the internet, newer technology has greatly increased the capabilities in which we can transfer and receive data over networks. While the base speed of the internet may depend on your network provider, the physical cables that are used to shift data around from system to system also have a major effect on data speeds that may throttle performance if they are not powerful enough. While coaxial cables serve as an old and reliable form of cabling for networking, newer fiber optic cables are quickly revolutionizing speeds and performance with their powerful capabilities.

In general, a majority of non-fiber optic cables come in the form of twisted pair cables named “Cat” cables. Typically, a twisted pair cable may range in speeds of up to 100 gigabytes per second for upwards of 15 meters, though any distance further will begin to result in a decrease in speed. As higher speeds and performance became increasingly needed to accommodate a growing market of consumers and businesses, even powerful twisted pair cables began to struggle to keep up with desired speeds.

With a typical fiber optic cable, transparent glass fibers are placed within a cable assembly in order to transmit data through light, and this allows for extremely fast data transmissions. As such, fiber optic cable assemblies are very beneficial for applications in which a high volume of data is consistently being transferred. As compared to more standard coaxial cable and twisted pair cable types, fiber optic cables also provide high speeds over longer distances which adds to their beneficial capabilities.

With their design and speeds, fiber optic cables may be used for a variety of businesses, organizations, and consumers alike. For enterprises, slow internet speeds and data transfers can end up costing precious time, money, and effort, thus fiber optics can increase productivity and reliability. As light does not lose its strength as quickly as electronic pulses, data transfer through fiber optics is much stronger and requires less need for boosting to reach its destination.

Beyond speeds, transferring data through light rather than copper wiring also creates less loss, which is critical for a number of communication applications. Without metallic wiring, fiber optic signals are less subject to the forces of electromagnetic interference, thus are more protected with stronger signals. Furthermore, fiber optics can provide more uses in addition to communication and data transferring, including serving as sensing elements, power transmission cables, light guides, and more.

While such cable types can highly benefit a number of users regardless of their application, fiber optics in general are much more expensive than their coaxial cable counterparts. Because of this, it can be beneficial to weigh your options versus your needs, as there are certain instances in which increasing the quality and speed of data transmission can make the price well worth it. When operating a network over a large campus or for residential buildings, for instance, greater speeds can greatly increase the quality of service for a large group of users.


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February 12, 2021

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