What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Fiber Optics?

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.

advantages and disadvantages of 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.

  1. High bit rate, high speed transmission
  2. High bandwidth
  3. No crosstalk – unlike copper systems, fiber optic systems are free from cross talk
  4. Immunity to Electromagnetic Interference (EMF). Since light signals are used for transmission, they are free from electromagnetic interference. Optical fibers are dielectric in nature
  5. Lower attenuation – Optical fibers exhibit lower levels of attenuation such as 0.2 dB/km at 1550nm wavelength
  6. Lower bit error rates
  7. Difficult to tap the signals – means high security for the data
  8. Nonconductive – Can install along with metallic electric power cables
  9. Optical fiber and light signals do not cause any kind of radiation and are safe for the environment
  10. Offers high safety for maintenance staff – Free of short circuit and sparks
  11. Reduced Size and Lightweight cables and equipment
  12. Offers high levels of environmental protection compared to copper cables
  13. Resistance to corrosion – Dielectric glass wire is free from corrosion that pose threat to the environment too
  14. 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
  15. Resistance to low temperature – Optical fibers and other system components work at temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius
  16. Highly flexible – Since optical fiber cables have a lower weight to length ratio, they are greatly flexible
  17. Can deploy in harsh environments – Fiber optic systems can be installed in all types of known terrestrial deployment conditions
  18. Overall System Economy – Less cost per bit rate
  19. 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.

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Advantages of Fiber Optic Systems

Advantages of Optical Fibers Over Copper Wires

Disadvantages of Fiber optic Systems

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