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What are fibre optic cables?

June 12, 2020

Fibre optic refers to a method in which data is transmitted. You might be familiar with traditional wire cables or radio waves being used as a means of transmitting data, whilst similar to these methods, fibre optic cables differ as they rely on light to transmit data.

You are likely to encounter optical fibre in the following formats:

  • Computer networking
  • Broadcasting
  • Medical scanning
  • Military equipment

How do fibre optic cables transmit data?

As previously discussed, fibre optic uses to light to transmit data. A fibre cable contains multiple thin strands of glass or plastic, there can be as little as two fibres and as many as hundreds. Using glass or plastic strands allow for total internal reflection, this means that light transmitted through the fibre bounces at shallow angles and remains completely within the fibre. Information is transmitted using this light-based technology. This information could be related to a variety of functions such as broadcasting, broadband and computer networking.

Fibre optic cabling provides a multitude of benefits, for instance there is no risk of electromagnetic interference such as that usually experienced with traditional copper cabling, this results in improved signal quality. Fibre optic cables also possess the ability to hold more data per special volume, resulting in improved information transfer capacity.

Types of fibre optic cable

There are numerous types of fibre optic cabling, each possess their own unique advantages. Often, these cables are assembled in order to properly execute their function.

Single Mode Fibre

A mode refers to a path that the light beam follows when travelling through the fibre. Therefore, single mode fibre describes a fibre that contains a very thin core, all light signals travel through the core without bouncing off of the edges.

Single mode fibre is often thought of as the simplest mode of fibre. These cables are typically used for CATV, internet and telephone communications.

Multimode Fibre

It stands to reason that if single mode fibre exists then so does multimode fibre. This type of fibre is around ten times larger than that of a single mode cable. This means that light beams are able to travel through the core using a range of different paths, or modes.  

These types of cable are only able to transmit data via shorter distances, as a result of this, they are mostly used for interconnecting computer networks.

Simplex and Duplex Fibre

Two other types of fibre optic cabling are simplex and duplex. Simplex fibre cabling describes cables that contain a single strand of glass. This form of cabling is commonly used where only a single transmit line is required between devices.

On the other hand, as suggested in the name, duplex fibre cabling contains two strands of glass/plastic. This form of cabling is commonly used in situations where devices require separate transmit and receive.

Installing fibre optic

If you require a fibre optic installation you won’t find anyone better equipped than the team at JJ Comms. We offer a 15-year installation guarantee, ensuring complete customer satisfaction.

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