What is Optical Fiber in Modern Networks?
When we refer to optical fiber, we mean a cable made of optical fibers. The world of telecommunications is rapidly moving from copper cable networks (UTP) to optical fibers. An optical fiber is a very thin strand of pure glass that acts as a waveguide for light, which can travel long distances. It utilizes a principle known as total internal reflection.
The optical fiber cable consists of two layers of glass: the core, which carries the actual light signal, and the cladding, which is a layer of glass that surrounds the core. The cladding has a lower refractive index than the core, causing total internal reflection within the core. Most fibers operate in duplex pairs: one fiber is used for transmission, and the other is used for reception.
It is possible to send both signals over a single strand. There are two main types of optical fiber cables: Single-Mode Fiber (SMF) and Multi-Mode Fiber (MMF). The difference lies in the size of the core. MMF has a much wider core, allowing multiple modes (or “rays”) of light to spread. SMF has a very narrow core, allowing only one mode of light to propagate. Each type of fiber has its own properties, with advantages and disadvantages.
The information for transmission or reception is not electrical but is carried within the light that reflects inside the optical fiber cable.
Why Use Optical Fiber Cables?
Optical fibers in our network services offer several advantages. Some of these include:
- Unlimited information transfer capability
- High data transfer speed
- Very low transmission losses (<0.2dB/km)
- Does not conduct heat
- Immune to electromagnetic interference
- No length limitation for optical fiber cables (UTP cables should not exceed 90 meters)
- With a single cable, each core can be used for different network purposes.
Where Can Optical Fiber be Used?
Optical fiber cables have many applications in various situations across industries and applications. Some of these uses include:
- Telecommunications: Used for transmitting energy in the form of light pulses, comparable to coaxial and telephone cables.
- Networking: Used for connecting servers and users in various network settings, increasing precision and data transfer speed.
- Defense/Government: Utilized as hydrophones for sonar and seismic purposes, such as cabling in submarines, aircraft, and other vehicles.
- Data Storage: Fiber optic cables are used for both storing and transmitting data. They are also used in imaging and lighting and as sensors to control and measure various variables.
- Research and Development: Fiber optic cables are employed in the development, research, and testing of all the aforementioned applications, as well as for industrial and commercial uses.
How is Optical Fiber Terminated?
Types of Connectors: There are many different types of terminations, developed over time and for different purposes. The choice depends on the application and equipment used. These terminations are called connectors.
The most common ones include:
- SC Connectors (Subscriber Connector or Square Connector): Used for both single-mode and multi-mode optical fiber cables. They offer low-cost durability, precise alignment with their ceramic ends, and a locking mechanism for secure connections.
- ST Connectors (Straight Tip): Feature a keyed bayonet type, similar to BNC connectors. Used for both single-mode and multi-mode, they are easy to connect and disconnect. Typically made of metal, they are often used in computer networks.
- LC Connectors (Lucent Connector or Little Connector): Used for both single-mode and multi-mode, these connectors are made of plastic and offer precise alignment through their ceramic ends. They are commonly used for high-density connections in SFP, SFP+, and XFP transceivers.
Does AIC Undertake Optical Fiber Networks?
AIC has always been innovative and pioneering. Clearly, it takes the implementation of passive optical fiber infrastructure seriously. Specialized technicians and engineers, equipped with the latest splicing and measuring tools, handle the implementation of your optical infrastructure.
Multimode and Single-Mode optical fibers are available and installed. Patch cords of all connector combinations (LC, ST, SC), pigtails for field splices, fiber optic adapters, SFPs, and many more are available.
At AIC, you will also find all the structured cabling elements needed for an installation, such as optical splitters, patch panels, and cable managers.