Fibre Optical Data Cables
Fibre optics are strands of high quality silica based glass, no wider than a human hair, that carry data via impulses of light within a cable underground.
Each fibre is coated in an internally reflecting cladding, a thermoplastic coating, and a plastic security jacket. Data travels along it far faster than original copper cables.
Fibre optic broadband works by shooting tiny pockets of light, flicking the source on and off, like ridiculously fast smoke-signals, along the glass cable at very high speed indeed.
The concept is based on light, which travels extremely fast. Light can can go round the earth 7 times in one second.
Fibre optic broadband cannot achieve the speed of unhindered light, but can travel at amazing speeds.
The hair-thick strands of fibre optic glass which are protected by a thermoplastic coating and covered in protective plastic are bundled together into a cable comprising of perhaps a hand full of strands, up to a couple of hundred strands and all protected by a flexible , strong outer coating.
Each strand is capable of carrying up to 25,000 connections, this means that a cable can carry several million.
This outer coating allows the cable a reasonable amount of flexibility and strength. It is this that is buried under streets and pavements of our towns and cities, carrying light impulses around corners and gradients.
It also carries across continents, under oceans, connecting around 90% of internet users across the world.
This ever increasing speed is constrained to most of the public users by the copper cabling which brings it to most houses. Fibre optic cable can carry impulses at superfast speeds, but taking the optic to individual dwellings is in most cases currently prohibitively expensive.
Business users can potentially set up their own fibre networks, or rent space on a private fibre network, if the public network is not up to requirements.
Computers which were traditionally linked by phone lines increasingly use fibre as the method of networking, as these cables have a much higher capacity, are more secure and reliable.
The arrival of fibre optic broadband paved the way for the arrival of cloud computing. This is a way of using the internet to access services you would normally have to have within the “nuts and bolts” of your computer system.
These services are a kind of outsourcing, using someone else’s technical set ups. It be can accessed when demand is high, therefore not paid for when demand is low and the computer capacity is then not needed.
The overall benefit from fibre optics is speed. This speed has opened doors and opportunities un-thought of just a few years ago, when the concept of face-to-face conversation (such as Skype) was something to do with Startrek!