Advantages of Optical Fibers Over Copper Wires

Optical fiber cables have clear advantages over their ancestor copper wire cables. Some of the advantages of optical fiber communication with respect to copper wire systems are:

Broad bandwidth
A single optical fiber can carry three million full-duplex voice calls equivalent to 90,000 TV channels.

Immunity to electromagnetic interference
Optical fiber itself is a dielectric medium. Silica glass does not conduct electricity that may cause loss of lives. Since optical fibers are dielectric, the transmission through optical fibers is unaffected by other electromagnetic radiations even present nearby. Since optical fibers are non-conductive, they do not act as an antenna to pick up electromagnetic signals. Information traveling inside the optical fiber is immune to electromagnetic interference, even electromagnetic pulses generated by nuclear devices.

Low attenuation loss
Attenuation loss can be as low as 0.2 dB/km at 1550 nm in optical fiber cables, allowing transmission over long distances without the need for repeaters. Nowadays, optical fiber manufacturers offer attenuation less than 0.18 dB/km at 1550 nm wavelength.

Long distance communication
Long distance communication is possible with optical fibers. Ultra long haul fiber optic systems run thousands of kilometers. The low levels of attenuation allow less number of repeaters and amplifiers.

Electrical insulation
Silica glass is a non-conductive material. Since optical fibers do not conduct electricity, problems with ground loops and the conduction of lightning can be avoided. Optical fibers can be installed outdoor on poles alongside high voltage power cables. All-dielectric self-supporting cables (ADSS) that have anti-tracking sheath are used near high voltage power transmission lines.

Material cost and theft prevention
News of thieves stolen communications cables is very often. Metallic cables are attractive to thieves as the cables utilize metal conductors. Thieves can make money by selling metallic cables in the market. Conventional cable systems use large amounts of copper. In some places, this copper is a target for theft due to its value on the scrap market. While this is almost true, in some markets, optical fiber cables are also subjected to stealing, not for metals, but for selling the cable as it is in the black market.

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