Fibre Optic Cables, your Complete Guide to the Types and Uses

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Fiber Optic Cables are becoming essential for quick data transfer. Get the facts in this complete guide to the types and uses of fibre optic cables.

Let’s imagine you’re playing an online video game and victory is in your grasp, with only one other player left standing. You meet this opponent face-to-face. Streaming stalls! The result is an instant defeat! No second chances.

A solution exists! You will never have to face internet frustrations like this again. The solution is simple, fibre optic cables. What are these cables, and what can they do for you? Great question.

It’s time to dive into this complete guide of the types and uses of fibre optic cables! Let us explain!


Fibre Optic Cables and How They Work

Fibre optic cables are cables that transfer light signals from the Internet to the user’s device and back by using glass fibers (less thick than a piece of a human hair). These glass fibres have a core and a cladding. The cladding helps refract the light bouncing around the cable back into the core.



Due to this refraction, the signal travels at around 70% the speed of light or 209853.63 kilometres per second.

A secondary coating called buffer is then laid over the top to protect the fibre. Strengthening fibres are added for even more protection before the final exterior of the cable goes on.

Special devices called converters or switches are used to let the signal transfer between light and electrical signals. These both keep the signal strong enough to travel and ensures your computer or other devices can accept the signal. As they don’t recognize any light-based signals.

Fibre optic cables carry signals faster and over larger distances compared to their traditional copper counterparts. They also offer far more transmission security, as light is immune to any electromagnetic shenanigans (think an EMP) and doesn’t allow for people to eavesdrop on the signal.

Fragility is the main drawback of fibre optic cables. Bending them too much will break or damage the fibres inside. This will prevent the signal from transmitting, while metal-wired cables pack some more strength.


Fibre-Optic Cable types

The first type of fibre-optic cable is singlemode fibre, which means that each fibre within the cable carries only one type of light and does not alter from that form over a lengthy travel time.  Best suited for transmitting data quickly over large distances.

Multi-mode fibres, on the other hand, have fibres calibrated to receive many types of light. However, this type of fibre lacks the stamina to go long distances. As such, they are more suited to short stretches.

Another distinction in fibre-optic cables comes with whether the fibres are made primarily of glass or plastic. Glass fibres are more susceptible to damage from bending or coiling and more difficult to repair.

However, they pack an immense amount of power and longevity. They also have more durability when it comes to withstanding moisture or chemical damage.

Plastic fibres don’t have that same level of power. But, they do have a longer shelf life if you plan to coil them often and tend to carry a lower price tag than their glass counterpart.

While you can buy fibre-optic cables to use indoors, the cables all those phone companies keep boasting about to you are miles and miles of cable laid underground or underwater. A special lubricant or gel is added to these cables to allow easier installation in their respective environments.


Some Bonus Gear

When purchasing fibre-optic cables, you may find a large number of extra pieces that can attach to the cables to assist in their function. One of the most common types is the coupler or adaptor. These allow you to join two cables together. You can also get a media converter to attach fibre optic cables to your Ethernet, allowing you to juice up the speed and potential distance of any Ethernet ports you have.

If you’re concerned with cable problems, then a fiber cable tester is the tool for you. This bad boy measures the power of your cable and looks for faults so you can diagnose any problems you’ve got.



The Many Uses of Fibre-Optic Cables

But what other uses do fibre-optic cables have besides delivering high-speed Internet around the world? For starters, these cables are seeing more and more use in the medical field. The fibres from the cables can go inside medical needles or catheters to allow for surgeries that would been more invasive before. They also help certain machines that provide “maps” of the human body to get more accurate readouts than before.

Another use of these cables has come with the rise in the popularity of LED lights. Since fibre-optic cables transmit high-quality signals, they provide strong sources of light that don’t waver.

And if you couple that with their ability to portray light across a vast number of different colors?  Well, you’ve got an instant recipe for great Christmas lights, porch lights, etc.

The implementation of fibre-optic cables into cars to keep their computerized systems running well without interference has gotten a lot of traction. Some companies have even found ways to use fibre optic cables as ways to detect weaknesses or stress in their machines. They do this by bouncing light around an area that then gets converted to an electrical signal by a receiver.


Never Lose a Game Again​

And there you have it! Now that you know all about the different types of fibre-optic cables and what they’re used for, you’re ready to get out there and get some for your own! This way, you’ll never lose an online game due to bad connection again!

And if you want to learn more about these cables (or are looking to purchase some), give us a shout and let us know how we can help!