Advantages of Fiber Optics
Fiber optics is relatively a new technology but it has a great influence in every walk of our life today. Our life today is so mingled with communication devices that they have become an inevitable part of our personal life, just like another organ in our body. A smartphone especially has become an extended organ of our brain. The communication networks to support such developments were possible with the advancement in fiber optics.
Fiber optic systems have many advantages over legacy copper systems. These advantages include high bit rate transmission system performance, immunity to electrical noise, enhanced signal security, and improved safety.
Other advantages of fiber optics include reduced size and weight, environmental protection, and overall system economy. The below list details the advantages of fiber optic systems.
- ￼High bit rate, high speed transmission
- High bandwidth
- No crosstalk – unlike copper systems, fiber optic systems are free from cross talk
- Immunity to Electromagnetic Interference (EMF). Since light signals are used for transmission, they are free from electromagnetic interference. Optical fibers are dielectric in nature
- Lower attenuation – Optical fibers exhibit lower levels of attenuation such as 0.2 dB/km at 1550nm wavelength
- Lower bit error rates
- Difficult to tap the signals – means high security for the data
- Nonconductive – Can install along with metallic electric power cables
- Optical fiber and light signals do not cause any kind of radiation and are safe for the environment
- Offers high safety for maintenance staff – Free of short circuit and sparks
- Reduced Size and Lightweight cables and equipment
- Offers high levels of environmental protection compared to copper cables
- Resistance to corrosion – Dielectric glass wire is free from corrosion that pose threat to the environment too
- Resistance to high temperature – Optical fibers are to a great extent, resistive to external temperature changes. They show relatively negligible changes in attenuation even at 85 degrees Celsius
- Resistance to low temperature – Optical fibers and other system components work at temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius
- ￼Highly flexible – Since optical fiber cables have a lower weight to length ratio, they are greatly flexible
- Can deploy in harsh environments – Fiber optic systems can be installed in all types of known terrestrial deployment conditions
- ￼Overall System Economy – Less cost per bit rate
- Lower installation cost – Fiber optic cables can be pulled or blown to duct hundreds of kilometers. Typical blowing distance reaches 2 kilometers. See this video for Fiber Optic Cable Blowing
The raw-material of optical fiber is Silica, which is available in abundance throughout the world. Silica is cheap and can be processed to make industrial-grade raw material for optical fibers easily.
Disadvantages of Fiber Optics
When we talk about only advantages, don’t think that fiber optics is free from disadvantages.
Optical fibers are fragile and hence you need to handle them carefully. Optical fibers are easy to break.
You should not wrap the fibers on your fingers to strip the coating off. You can twist copper wires on your fingers and see them still work.
Availability of less number of trained people in fiber optics. Fiber optics is getting popular everywhere but it will take some more time for enough people to get trained in handling the system components.
I can’t find any more disadvantages of fiber optics. If you know, please comment in the comment box.