The Future of Fiber Optics


Since its invention, fiber-optics has become a very important part of modern day communication. Over the next few years, fiber optics will continue to replace copper as the communications standard. With the development of the 20 dB/km fiber, fiber-optics became a feasible method of transmitting data. With its high speed data transfer rates which can out perform copper wire, optical fiber will certainly become the new standard for transmitting data.

Fiber-optic technology is constantly improving and one of the biggest hurdles is trying to lower the attenuation of the cable. As the attenuation goes down, the longer a single piece of cable will be without a repeater. This in turn will offer a faster transmission rate. To help cut down on problems with the cable, all the cables are covered with a cladding to help prevent power loss and to protect the cable. Outside of the cladding is a buffer coating which serves to protect the cable and add to its strength to prevent breakage. As the manufacturing processes improve, the newer, high grade optical fibers will begin to replace the current copper cable networks.

As the new optical fibers are being strung, many telecommunications companies are joining forces to share the cost of laying in the optical networks. With the television and telephone companies joining together, new technologies will begin to show up. Video phones, and video conferencing will likely become common in many households. Shopping at home, and television on demand will replace the current cable television systems of today.

Telecommunications is not the only application of fiber optics. Many companies have been putting fiber optics in their assembly line computers. This is for the simple reason that light does not have problems with electromagnetic interference that is such a problem for copper wires. Optical fiber is also being used for security, and measurement of a system like the changing temperature and wind velocity on a bridge in real time. With all of these possible applications of fiber optics, it will become one of the most active and important technologies for this decade and many to come.