optical fiber

(redirected from Optic fiber)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Optic fiber: fiber optic cable, sound barrier

optical fiber

[′äp·tə·kəl ′fī·bər]
(optics)
A long, thin thread of fused silica, or other transparent substance, used to transmit light. Also known as light guide.

optical fiber

optical fiber

A thin glass strand designed for light transmission. A single hair-thin fiber is capable of transmitting trillions of bits per second. In addition to their huge transmission capacity, optical fibers offer many advantages over electricity and copper wire. Light pulses are not affected by random radiation in the environment, and their error rate is significantly lower. Fibers allow longer distances to be spanned before the signal has to be regenerated by expensive "repeaters." Fibers are more secure, because taps in the line can be detected, and lastly, fiber installation is streamlined due to its dramatically lower weight and smaller size compared to copper cables.

Starting in the 1970s
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, telephone companies began to use fibers extensively to rebuild their communications infrastructure. According to KMI Corporation, specialists in fiber optic market research, by the end of 1990 there were approximately eight million miles of fiber laid in the U.S. (this is miles of fiber, not miles of cable which can contain many fibers). By the end of 2000, there were 80 million miles in the U.S. and 225 million worldwide. Fiber is also used to replace copper cable for LAN backbones.

Pure Glass
An optical fiber is constructed of a transparent core made of nearly pure silicon dioxide (SiO2), through which the light travels. The core is surrounded by a cladding layer that reflects light, guiding the light along the core. A plastic coating covers the cladding to protect the glass surface. Cables also include fibers of Kevlar and/or steel wires for strength and an outer sheath of plastic or Teflon for protection.

Enormous Bandwidth
For glass fibers, there are two "optical windows" where the fiber is most transparent and efficient. The centers of these windows are 1300 nm and 1550 nm, providing approximately 18,000 GHz and 12,000 GHz respectively, for a total of 30,000 GHz. This enormous bandwidth is potentially usable in one fiber. The only limitation is the electronic circuits that modulate the light waves to represent the data. Electronic ciruits have yet to come close to the frequencies of light.

Singlemode and Multimode
There are two types of glass fiber. For intercity cabling and highest speed, singlemode fiber with a core diameter of less than 10 microns is used. Multimode fiber is very common for short distances and has a core diameter from 50 to 100 microns.

Plastic Fiber Too
For short-distance runs such as within buildings, plastic fiber is also used, and their transparent windows are typically 650 nm or within the 750-900 nm range. Plastic optical fiber (POF) is easier to install than glass but requires repeaters for distances greater than 100 meters. See laser, WDM, fiber optics glossary and cable categories.


Fiber Strands
The fibers in this picture are being prepared for splicing in a wiring closet. These few strands can collectively transmit trillions of bits per second. (Image courtesy of Corning Incorporated.)







Fiber vs. Copper
Not only does optical fiber offer enormous bandwidth, but it takes a lot less room. Any one of these copper bundles can be replaced with one fiber strand (center). (Image courtesy of Corning Incorporated.)







Fiber-Optic Cable
This Lucent fiber-optic cable holds 288 fibers, which was a record-high fiber count in 1996. Cables with more than a thousand fibers have since been developed.








Laying Optical Fiber
Embedding thousands of miles of fiber in the ground has been a Herculean feat undertaken by many companies. In time, all copper wires are expected to give way to fiber. (Image courtesy of Metromedia Fiber Network.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The foundation stone of the optic fiber cable project was laid in May this year.
Since communications are transmitted via an optic fiber, the device is jam-proof, and its ability to reach 500 feet could make it more difficult to detect, Montgomery said.
Global Cloud Xchange owns the world's largest private undersea cable system spanning 67,000 route kms which, seamlessly integrated with Reliance Communications' 200,000 route kms of domestic optic fiber backbone, provides a robust Global Service Delivery Platform connecting 40 key business markets worldwide.
RCOM's intra-city optic fiber network extends to nearly 500,000 fiber pair kilometres, across the top more than 300 cities and towns in India.
So far more than 4,250 Kms of optic fiber cable has been laid to connect the unserved tehsil's and towns.
"People in Ghazni have no access to internet and internet services being provided by mobile companies are expensive, so it is important to complete and inaugurate the optic fiber project as soon as possible," he said.
The monthly fee for the Flet's optic fiber broadband service will be cut by 13.5 percent to 4,725 yen from 5,460 yen, the sources said.
KARACHI, May 16 -- Universal Service Funds (USF) has awarded Rs 14 billion subsidy to different telephony service-providing companies on the development of infrastructure and optic fiber in different provinces.
The country's largest telecommunication company PT Telkom plans to replace all of its copper cable networks with ones made of optic fiber. Telkom has agreed to give the contract to state-owned telecommunication equipment producer PT Inti to modernize its cable networks.
Because this length is not satisfactory on field conditions where distance from distribution points is longer, the necessity of joining these optic fiber cables in high tech conditions without signal loss is mandatory (Gaftoneanu et al., 2007).
It cited greater domestic demand for optic fiber products and other information technology-related products, capital gains from the sale of shareholdings and tax refunds from the Canadian government as contributing to the smaller net loss.
Milner, an optical engineer at the University of Texas in Austin, says that the new device has useful aspects, citing its simplicity and the optic fiber's flexibility.