Since fiber-optic data transmission was first made possible in 1970, it has become the most efficient method of online communication.  Fiber technology is now the backbone of the internet, moving data around the globe near the speed of light.

What is a fiber-optic cable and how is it made?

Optical fibers are strong and flexible.  Inch for inch, they are more durable than copper and stronger than steel.  

The optical fiber strands are created through a multistep process in a controlled environment.  First, thick cylinders of glass are made by using a ceramic rod that attracts silicon dioxide.   Then moisture is removed in a furnace.  Finally, the thick cylinders are heated and drawn out into thin stands and later coated in rubber.

How do fiber cables work?

Fiber cables have three parts, the core, cladding, and coating.

1. Core: The core is made of ultra-thin strands of pure glass glass with a high refractive index.  These allow light to transmit data and are the key component allowing data to travel at high speeds over long distances.  

2. Cladding: Also made of glass, the cladding propagates the signal along the line by continuously reflecting it and preventing the light from escaping.

3. Coating: The coating is made of a thin rubber layer, shielding the fiber from damage.

Because the light encounters some resistance in the glass, the signal travels at 70% the speed of light, making fiber the fastest method of sharing data, voice, and video.

Fiber for Last-Mile Connectivity

Though fiber-optic cables comprise the backbone of the internet, many of the last mile connections to homes and businesses still use copper.

Here are 5 reasons why fiber is best for last-mile connections:

1.  Fiber is faster for both upstream and downstream traffic.

2.  Fiber is more reliable.  Because fiber doesn’t use electricity to transmit information, it is less susceptible to electromagnetic interference and temperature fluctuations.

3.  Fiber is more cost-effective than copper.  Because fiber cables do not erode or rust, they last much longer.  This means that fiber infrastructure requires less maintenance and doesn’t have to be replaced as frequently.

4.  Fiber is more space efficient.  It can be bundled into large packages to transfer more information in a smaller space.  Copper, on the other hand, is limited because it is susceptible to electrical interference.

5.  Fiber is safer.  Because it doesn’t use electricity to transmit data, fiber has a lower fire risk.  Copper, on the other hand, is a higher fire risk because it uses a massive amount of energy to move data along copper wires.

With public and private investment in internet infrastructure, many of these old copper connections are being replaced with fiber.  Because of how it’s designed, fiber has the capacity to sustain the growing need for more bandwidth and speed, and that means the future is fiber.  

Hunter Communications is committed to delivering the best internet technology to residential and business customers throughout Oregon and Northern California.  That is why we offer fiber-optic internet on our award-winning network.