Ding! Another email?! Yes, you can thank fiber optics for your flooded inbox.
By now we’ve all heard of fiber optics and know that they are responsible for our internet communications. But how do fiber optics work?
We’ve laid out an explanation that will give you insight into this unseen system that we all so heavily rely on. So read on to learn what makes up a fiber optic cable and how it sends our message from point A to B in an instant!
What’s in a Fiber Optic Cable?
To learn how fiber optic cables work, we need to first look at their construction. The main component is the fiber optic core. The core is comprised of thousands of strands of glass, that bundle around a central steel strand for strength.
Equally as important is the strand’s encasement. The material surrounding the core is called the cladding and without it, the strands would not be able to transmit light. More on this later. The cladding is then surrounded by a bundle of steel cables for added strength.
The next layer in a fiber optic cable is usually a plastic jacket that protects the inner layers. The cable is then wrapped in a copper tube, to protect it from the elements, or withstand ocean pressure. Take a look at the construction of the TAT-8, which is the first fiber optic cable to span the Atlantic ocean. It lies on the ocean floor and runs from New Jersey to England and France!
The cable is finally wrapped in a high-density polypropylene tube to protect it from external impacts and decay.
How Do Fiber Optics Work?
This is where the magic happens. Well, it’s not magic at all really, its physics and technology!
Fiber optics move light. If you were to shine a laser pointer in one end of a fiber optic cable, it would shine out the other end around all the twists and bends. The light moves through the glass fibers and is reflected off of the cladding. The cladding increases the reflectivity which carries the signal all the way to the other end…at the speed of light!
How Does It Transmit Data?
You still must be wondering how does light transmitted through glass tubes become an email or an image? The information is broken down into a series of ones and zeros and the light will flash for a one and not flash for a zero.
We use programming and coding to decode this series of flashes on the other end which enables you to see all of the cat pictures you’d like. This technology is what providers like shentel.com rely on to provide incredibly fast internet service.
Fiber-Optics at a Glance
Fiber-optic communication is fast and efficient. We rely on it for so much of our communication today, but it is only one more notch in the history of communication through cable. Now you have an understanding of the technology and are no longer wondering how do fiber optics work. Woohoo!
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