Major Components of Fiber Optic System and their Functions

Installation of a fiber optic communication system is complicated and it is not simple as plugging a cord into an outlet. For a professional telecommunication engineer, the installation is not extremely difficult. If the components and their functions are known and identified, then the installation process would be easier. For this purpose, installation staff should know the major system components that are required in all fiber optic communication systems.

Four major system components in any fiber optic communication system are 1. Fiber, 2. Cable, 3. Connections and 4. Optoelectronic components.

1. Fiber

Fiber here is optical fibers that are used in the communication industry. There are different types of optical fibers available in the market. Choosing the right optical fiber suitable for your network is the most important step while designing a network system using optical fibers. The Function of an optical fiber is to transmit optical signals (light) from one end to the other. During the transmission, the light signal is modulated to carry the information.

2. Cable

The second component ‘Cable’ is the optical fiber cable and its function is to provide mechanical and environmental protection to the optical fibers. Cable manufacturers add required materials to the group and place the optical fibers inside a cable. Protection and additional strength are required for optical fibers in order to allow the optical fibers to be installed and handled during their lifetime, which is estimated to be around 25 years. These protective materials ensure that the fiber doesn’t break and the attenuation (signal loss) doesn’t increase beyond the limit. All types of optical fibers need to have some kind of cable material in order to enable their safe installation and functioning.

3. Connections

Connections play another major role in an optical communication system. Optical fibers shall be properly connected along with the network and shall be terminated in such a way that ensures durability and consistency in transmission throughout the lifetime of the network. The functions of connection include alignment and end protection. Optical fibers need to be aligned at light sources (launching end), fiber-to-fiber connecting points (splice points), and at receivers. Micro-level precision is required to achieve high-quality performance. Fiber ends shall be protected from mechanical and environmental damages. Also, the fiber ends must be protected from dust. Damage and dust will result in signal loss and malfunctioning of the system.

4. Optoelectronics

Optoelectronics is the components that made optical transmission possible. Their function is to convert the signals. The electrical signals coming from the devices must be converted to optical signals in order to transmit through optical fibers. This is done at the transmitter end. At the end of the communication link, the optical signals need to be converted to electrical signals before passing to the end devices. This is done by the receivers. If the communication link is long, the signals need amplification and regenerations. All these are achieved by using optoelectronic components.

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