Fiber optic cables are not novel but play a crucial role by enabling the application of light bursts to transmit a signal, compared to copper cables that use waves that travel through metal. Modern fiber cables consist of a highly transparent flexible glass core, which is surrounded in several coatings.
It should be noted that these coatings provide the protection of both the integrity of the signal as well as the structure of the optical fiber. Although the speed of the light transmission in fiber optic cables through a virtually transparent medium achieves about 200,000 km/s, it does not differ much from an electrical signal moved through copper.
Main benefits of fiber cables are the following:
- Easy interpretation of light signals despite higher switching speeds and longer distances, which can reach thousands of kilometers. Therefore, this makes fiber optic cables highly advantageous in speed and distance.
- Optical fiber signals have immunity to electromagnetic interference. Therefore, it is possible to bundle several optical fibers together in one fiber optic cable during installation.
- Moreover, optical fibers can be applied with LEDs or laser systems.
- Optical fiber allows transmitting several wavelengths or colors of light at the same time. These are then split out at the other end to further enlarge the capacity.
Nevertheless, we can not employ fiber optic cables for everything but researchers try to overcome the challenges. The thing is that now optical fibers cost higher per length than copper. Nonetheless, the main disadvantage of copper is considered to be some additional hidden costs that increase optical fibers’ popularity further.
Additionally, compared to fiber optic cables, copper cables have a larger thickness and heavier weight resulting in more challenging installation and requirements in more clearance than is affordable in current underground pathways. Although the higher cost of optical fibers appears than a copper one, however, it transmits a thousand times the data, thus, the cost per customer is less. Also, it is possible to use fiber cables over longer distances than copper cables.
Finally, optical fibers are commonly used in hybrid deployments combined with copper cables. “This works with a fiber backbone that serves many customers and copper that runs to individuals for the last mile.” Thus, fiber optic cables provide fast speeds and reliability, and the researchers claim that fiber cables will replace cooper.
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