Parts, functions, advantages of fiber optic cables

Fiber optic cables are the latest data transmission media. They are also the fastest type of media. The name optic means the use of light transmitted through the cable. Data to be transmitted is converted from electrical signals that the computer produces into light signals by a light-emitting diode to be transmitted along the cable

Fiber optic cables are used for undersea connections to link long-distance connections. They are the best selection when users need fast and secure data transmission. However, the main disadvantages are that they are expensive to install and they require skilled technicians to install.

Functions of Fiber Optic Cable

  1. Linking continents/countries (act as backbone cable): The main use of fiber optic cable is to link locations either a building or any other location but not mostly with the building. They act as backbone cables.
  2. Use in electrical hazard places: Since they transmit light it means no worry of having sparks that can trigger a fire. This means they can be used even where the other cable media cannot be used. This makes them preferable to use in industries where the risk of a fire outbreak is high.
  3. Undersea cables: Fiber cables are the main cable that is used to link one continent to another. They are laid under the sea by international companies and governments to link the world.
  4. Used for security-critical data transfer: Fiber cable communications are more secure compared to other types of communication media such as twisted pair.
  5. Due to the high bandwidth that the cable offers, it is mostly used in applications that require moving fast and securely. It can be used to transmit cable TV signals with high definition, in video conferencing services, in military operations, and in other mission-critical operations. 

Parts of fiber-optic cable

A standard fiber optic cable is made up of the following parts:

Parts of  fiber optic cable
  1. The core (central part) is made up of glass or plastic and it is the part that transmits data as light. It is made of reflective material.
  2. Cladding: it is the part that comes immediately after the core and it is used to reflect light to the core when it tries to leave the core.
  3. The outer cover (jacket): it covers the inner delicate part of the cable.

Types of fiber optic cables

1. Single-mode fiber optic

It has a thin core and it mainly supports only one ray of light. It is primarily used for long-distance because it has less attenuation compared to the multi-mode type. They are usually more expensive and more delicate to handle.

2. Multi-mode fiber optic

They have a thicker core and they support more than one ray of light at a time. Because of this, they have a higher chance of interference. This leads to data distortion and is hence used for shorter transmission distances than the single mode.

Advantages of Fiber Optic Cable

  1. Since the cable transmits light instead of an electrical signal it means both electrical and magnetic signal interferences are no more.
  2. High data rate: since data is transmitted at light speed it means it is faster than other transmission media available.
  3. The attenuation of the cable is relatively low which means that data can be transmitted for long distances before it requires a signal boost. This makes fiber the preferred mode of long distances transmissions.
  4. Compared to other cable media they are light in weight and less bulky.

Disadvantages of fiber optic

  1. They are expensive to install the systems.
  2. It is hard to repair because of the technology that is used. This means they should be handled carefully compared to twisted pairs and coaxial cables.
  3. They are hard to configure and require high technical skills to be able to handle and install the cables.
  4. For cable termination, you require special devices which are also expensive.

Types of fiber-optic  cable connectors

ST connector

Stands for Straight Tip connector, it was among the first fiber connector and it was developed by AT&T.

ST fiber cable connector

FDDI fiber connectors

Fiber Distributed Data Interface connectors are mostly used in LAN network standards such as Ethernet.

FDDI fiber connector

SC connectors

It uses the simple pull/push mechanism for patching cable

SC Connector for fiber

4. Biconic Connectors

They can be used in both multi-mode and single-mode fiber cables.

Biconic fiber connectors