How Fiber Optic Internet Works

Understand what technology is and how it promises a faster connection than by ordinary copper wires.

iber Optic is a technology associated with high performance for Internet connections. While tests and research with even superior techniques are already under development , fiber optics still offers the most advanced connectivity for the consumer.

Next, you’ll understand what the Fiber Optic Internet is and how it works. See how this type of cabling compares to common wire-based networks and learn why the connection tends to be so much faster and more stable than the telephone cable networks.

Scientists test fast, wireless Internet that can replace fiber optics

Optical fibers carry more information and are more reliable (Photo: Divulgaon / Verizon)

The great advantage that makes the use of fiber optics attractive to connections is the fact that this technology allows the wires to account for a much larger volume of data. Cables of the type, with diameter in the house of microns, can transmit 2.5 million phone calls. A conventional copper wire would need to have a diameter of six meters, and consume an absurd amount of energy, to transmit that same volume of data.

In addition, immune to interference, fiber optics allows Internet network signals to be distributed without wobble and signal failure.

What is the speed difference between technologies?

Networks with copper wiring infrastructure, such as common DSL connections, offer transfer speeds between 768 Kbps (kilobits per second) and 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) on average. Ideally, networks of this type can reach 7 Mbps.

In optical fiber, the average speeds are between 50 and 100 Mbps, with ideal situations of maximums between 1 and 10 Gbps.

The reason for this big difference lies in the fact that by transmitting pulses of light instead of electricity by wiring , the optical fiber can reach much higher frequencies than the electrical signals of copper wires. This higher frequency, which you can understand as “greater amount of light pulses per unit of time”, is what explains the higher speed of this type of cable. However, the advantages go even further.

Why fiber optics is better?

As we have seen, fiber optics has much greater information transmission capacity. But there are still other advantages in technology, which, added, help explain why it is better.

Since the material used in cables is not copper, but glass, these cables are less prone to electromagnetic interference. This preserves signal quality, prevents oscillations and loss of speed.\

Another important aspect is the fact that, unlike copper from ordinary wires, the optical fiber has a larger coverage area. The effects of the degradation of the luminous signal, that travels taking information inside the cable , only begin to be perceived after 40 kilometers. In the case of copper wires, the signal loss begins to be noticeable after 100 meters.

Another surprising advantage of fiber optics is resistance. It may seem counterintuitive, but the glass threads of the thickness of a hair within the cables may exhibit greater damage and durability than copper wiring, subject to oxidation wear and the effect of temperature changes of the metal.

In addition, fiber optics is safer. Because intercepting the transit of information in optical cables is much more difficult than in copper wires, the data exchanged in these networks end up gaining an extra layer of protection.

Are there disadvantages?

The problems of optical fiber are concentrated, above all, in investments. For the adoption of this technology, operators need to invest in the installation of new networks. This ends up concentrating the offer of the technology to large centers, or the operators of more localized coverage and specialized in this type of technology.

On the other hand, Internet networks via DSL or cable TV are widely available because these services use an infrastructure already available in cities. For the consumer, there are also adoption costs, since fiber optics may require new home installations and new routers that are compatible with the optical signal.