The World of Fiber Optics
The Principle of fiber optics is based on transmission of
data by means of light. Concept of fiber optics was first conceived by Claude Chappe in 1790ís. His idea for fiber optics was based on an optical telegraph
concept invented by Graham Bell also tried the means to send information by the
atmosphere but did not succeed. Finally, fiber optics emerged with the onset of
new era based on the principle of total internal reflection which is a distinct
quality of light rays.
Fiber optics emerged and grew into more advanced phase due to requirement from
radio and telephone engineers. These engineers required more bandwidth for data
transmission. Thus these engineers had been looking out for a medium to transmit
data in more reliable and faster form rather than copper cables. They also
wanted to avoid the hazards of electric shocks and interference which were a
constant problem of copper cables.
Fiber optics had attracted some attention because they were analogous in theory
to plastic dielectric waveguides used in certain microwave applications. Finally
a technology evolved that used glass or plastic threads to transmit data. Cables
involved in fiber optics contain several bundles of glass threads which are
capable of transmitting data in modulated form.
With the onset of fiber optics and fiber optic cables data started to transfer
faster as fiber optic cables have greater bandwidth than metal cables and are
more resistant to external interference. Lighter and thinner fiber optic cables
readily transfer data in digital form rather than analogue form. This technology
is most useful in computer industry which now forms an integral part of
telephone, radio and television industry.
Telecommunications applications of fiber optics use flexible low-loss fibers,
using a single fiber per optical path. Along with the communication industry
fiber optics plays an important role in medical and industrial applications
also. Many medical appliances like endoscope use the principle of fiber optics.
Industrial applications viz. in television industry use the principle of fiber
optics to obtain flattened images in cathode ray tubes.
Fiber optics yield distortion free data transmission in digital form. The audio
waves transmitted via principle of fiber optics deliver accurate signal
transfer. Fiber optics is also useful in automotive and transportation industry.
Traffic lights, organized and scrutinized highway traffic control, automated
toll booths, etc. are some of the benefits of application of fiber options in
the transportation mechanism.
Cable TV companies and Internet Service Providers equivocally find fiber optics
indispensable in their industry. Fiber optics provides tamper free, high
bandwidth and larger data carrying capacity to the service providers. This
eventually leads to better consumer satisfaction.
Unlike copper wire system fiber optics do not use and electrical form to carry
data. The use of light gives a competitive edge to fiber optics over regular
data transmission options. But eventually use of fiber optics is very expensive
as compared to copper cabling system.
James Croydon, Fiber Network Engineer