Fiber-Optic Internet: The Pros, Cons and Unknowns

fiber-opticFiber-Optic internet has taken over the telecommunications industry by storm. Countries are rapidly turning towards using internet connections made with Fiber-Optic cables and among them, Korea stands atop with 80.37% users on fiber internet.

The fiber-optic network has come forth as the fastest way to transfer and retrieve data. It has beaten the conventional cable internet that only added to agitation with its lagging and super-slow download speed. The fiber-optic network may sound like a gimmicky approach to advertise internet connections, but it’s not like that. It is a breakthrough in the telecommunications’ realm that has enabled users to carry out hefty tasks, in just a matter of a few moments.

Fiber Optics – When Did It All Start?

Okay, time for a history lesson. Robert Maurer, Peter Schultz, and Donald Keck are the brains behind the invention of Fiber-Optic wire. In 1970, the trio invented Fiber-Optic wire which could carry information that was 65,000 times more than an average copper wire.

Let’s have a look at the brief history that would give us a better insight into how Fiber-Optic expanded its global footwork. In 1977, the first-ever fiber-optic telephone was installed in Chicago, with a fiber cable that could carry around 672 separate voice channels, which was nonetheless a breakthrough of its time.

Subsequently, by 2000, almost 80% of the world had gone from using a mediocre cable internet connection to cutting-edge Optical fiber cables.

How Does The Fiber-Optic Wire Work?

The fiber-optic network uses an optical-fiber cable. This particular cable works on the phenomenon of Total Internal Reflection (remember you studied about this in the Physics class?) Fiber internet cables have several optical fibers in them, which are as thin as a tenth of the thickness of human hair. These optical fibers operate inside ‘Core’ which is encased inside ‘Cladding’ made with either plastic or glass.

The light then travels down the fibers as ‘Laser Pulse’. Laser Pulse travels at an extremely faster rate and carries binary data that eventually leads to the display of information that we see on the internet.

The binary data that travels in these pulses, consists of Zeroes and Ones, known as bits. A single pulse means one and zero is no pulse.

Data transportation across a bigger area is made possible when these laser pulses pass through optical amplifiers. Just as the name suggests, these amplifiers boost the signal and keep the flow of data consistent throughout the entire connection.

Pros and Cons of Fiber Internet connection

Here we’ve presented a fair, balanced analysis of the relative benefits and drawbacks of Fiber-Optic internet connections.

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The Pros

  1. Fiber-Optic cables provide unprecedented data transmittance. Unlike a typical electrical internet cable that gets damaged with time due to oxidization, Fiber cables only get damaged due to mishandling. Plus, Fiber-Optic cables provide a boosted signal strength, regardless of the long distances.
  2. Typical copper wires are highly at risk of having interference from the radio and electromagnetic waves in the surroundings. Interference causes these signals to disrupt. On the other hand, Fiber-Optic cables are ultimate winners, because these cables have a plastic or glass cladding that insulates the fibers from the unsolicited interference.
  3. Copper cable wires are highly prone to damage due to mishandling, as compared to Fiber-Optic cables. Fiber-Optic wires have a sturdy plastic/glass cladding around the fibers, thus, they experience minimum damage over time. When there is no interference in the signals, the flow of data is more efficient and uninterrupted.
  4. Fiber-Optic cables are highly scalable. These cables weigh lighter and are much easier to install than the copper wires.
  5. Fiber-Optic internet connections are highly secure. Just as we mentioned earlier that these cables don’t allow interference through them, there won’t be any breaches either. Even if a breach does happen, they can be very easily identified and resolved.

The Cons

  1. Even though Fiber-Optic is stronger than coaxial cable, it can still get damaged. The Fiber-Optic cable Core is extremely delicate, which means, the wires could get damaged by chance. Fiber-Optic cables can be very easily mishandled. A single cut or damage in one fiber can cause the entire connection to end up being interrupted. Not to mention, Fiber-Optic cables are also at a high risk of ending up with damage caused due to high radiation and chemical exposure.
  2. Fiber-Optic connections require an arm and a leg for installation and these costs only add up when maintenance is required. Also, installing fiber-optic internet is not a regular cable internet providers’ cup of tea. The process requires expertise and skilled knowledge about the Fiber-Optic network. Therefore, only professionals can ensure that no damage happens due to mishandling.
  3. Fiber-Optic networks are also prone to fiber fuse. This is a type of damage that occurs when Fiber-Optic cables get exposed to too much light. Sometimes, this damage might occur due to an imperfect fiber, which might even lead to the entire network of cables being destroyed, literally in just a matter of a few minutes.
  4. Lastly, Fiber-Optic cables possess a unidirectional propagation, which implies that the light inside these cables can only project in one direction. This acts as a bottleneck when there is a bidirectional flow of information required. Therefore, to achieve bidirectional flow in the fiber-optic network, another set of cables must be installed, in concurrence with the existing cables, to maintain and promote bidirectional communication. And you know what happens when installation-situation arises? The bills – those costly, heavy-on-the-pockets and never-ending bills.

So When Are You Upgrading To Fiber Network?

Although there are a few pros and cons associated with the Fiber network, we cannot overlook the fact that in the coming years, fiber network and its industry is only going to expand.

However, the good thing in this situation is the cost. Chances are, in the coming years, fiber networks and their costs will only decrease. So that ultimately means that upgrading your existing cable internet connection to a Fiber-Optic one is no more a far-fetched idea.

The fiber-optic internet industry is expected to see a rise of 9.8% by 2021. Big and small businesses, as well as households across the world, are opting for Fiber-Optic internet connections, for its unprecedented speed.

So if your existing internet connection has been bugging you too much lately, then you know what to do! Just get in touch with Fiber-Optic network providers in your area and get your connection upgraded, without further ado.