Optical fiber, undoubtedly, is the wonder and has created anxiety in the already accelerating world. The use of light signals in optical fiber has increased the speed of data along with the capacity of the data.
Optical fiber is one of the most significant inventions of the modern world. Optical means ‘related to light’, and fiber means ‘thread’. Hence, optical fiber uses the light signal to transfer the information from one place to another place. The thinness of optical fiber, shockingly, is less than a hair. In the past, radio waves were used to transfer the data instead of the light signal. But the efficiency of radio waves was less as much power loss occurred. It urged the scientists to invent a new technology through which the power loss can be reduced, and efficiency can be increased. Then light waves were introduced as the substitution of the radio waves. To carry light waves, a device, the optical fiber came to the horizon of the world.
The optical fiber is made up of glass having two parts: cladding and core. The outer layer of optical fiber is coated with plastic. Optical fibers are available in different sizes, in microns. The working principle of optical fiber is the total internal reflection and continuous reflection. Reflection is the process: when light strikes any surface, it transfers some of its energy to the striking surface, and then it comes back. When the light wave is incident at an angle where the reflection angle becomes less than 900 is called the critical angle. For the glass, it is 420. Therefore, when the light signal is reflected at an angle of 420 it will reflect completely into the optical fiber. Besides it, continuous reflection transmits the signal at a larger distance with less power consumption than radio waves. Moreover, there are two types of optical fiber: single-mode optical fiber and multimode optical fiber. The former is that in which single color is used and, in the latter, different colors of different wavelengths are used. Single-mode optical fiber is used in laser, and its capability of carrying data is higher than multimode optical fiber.
There are many advantages of optical fiber over copper wires because a copper wire was being used before the optical fiber to carry the data. Optical fiber is, in fact, the substitute for copper wires, which are much expensive. The high-power loss and, generally, data cannot transfer through a larger distance through the copper wires. On the other side, optical fiber can carry huge data from a large distance. The flexibility, small size, and low weight increase its preferences. Furthermore, it can carry the data 10 GB per second. The covering of optical fiber with plastic protects it from electrical conductivity. The flexibility also proves beneficial at the time of installation. Moreover, there is no need to retransmit the signal in optical fiber because of no power loss during transmission. Above all, an electrical connection is not required between receiver and sender. The light signal does not damage because there is no interference of electrical signals in it. It prevents the data even at a larger distance. Optical fiber is very concerned with security. In addition to it, the optical fiber can be molded into different forms: circular, triangular, etc. it is portable; and carry the data in gigabytes and terabytes. In the last, it is very difficult to steal data in optical fiber than copper wires.
Everything that has an advantage also has a disadvantage. In the same manner, optical fiber also has disadvantages. In the first, optical fibers are connected, and this is a very difficult task. The optical fibers are spread at a larger distance and their handling is a challenge. The bad handling can cause high attenuation, which can damage the data, as a result. Besides it, optical fiber has no electrical conductivity so there is a need for an electrical supply to move the power towards repeaters. Furthermore, it is very expensive than copper wires and, majorly, it needs an expert for its installation. Last but not least, as the light is unidirectional so to transfer data bidirectional can become costly. Consequently, instead of the disadvantages of optical fiber, it has become a source of ease for humans. Scientists are trying to overcome these demerits. It would lead the world in the new era of technology.