Fiber-optic systems use pulses of light traveling through an optical fiber to transmit data. This method offers many advantages over copper wire, some of which are not available with other technology:
- Complete input/output electrical isolation
- No electromagnetic interference (EMI) susceptibility or radiation along the transmission media
- Broad bandwidth over a long distance
- Light-weight, small-diameter cables
- Equal to the cost of copper wire and connectors (except when copper wire is already installed)
So let’s explain the fiber optic benefits and advantages in detail below:
1. Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
Because optical fiber transmits light rather than electrons, it neither radiates EM (electromagnetic) fields nor is it susceptible to any EM fields surrounding it. This is important in a number of applications:
- Industrial control, where cables run along factory floors in proximity to electrically noisy machinery. The optical medium permits the control signals to be carried error-free through the electrically noisy environment.
- Telecommunications equipment manufacturers use optical fiber because it eliminates cross talk between the telecommunication lines.
- Financial institutions and gaming equipment manufacturers require data security. Tapping into a fiber cable without being detected is extremely difficult.
2. High Bandwidth
Optical fiber has a relatively high bandwidth in comparison to other transmission media. This permits much longer transmission distances and much higher signal rates than most media. For example, all undersea long-haul telecommunications cable is fiber-optic.
This technology is allowing worldwide communications (voice, video and data) to be available mainstream. With new technologies, such as VCSEL transmitters, parallel optics and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), services such as video-on-demand and video conferencing will be available to most homes in the near future.
3. Voltage Isolation and Voltage Insulation
Fiber isolates two different voltage potentials. and insulates in high-voltage areas. For example, it will eliminate errors due to ground-loop potential differences and is ideal for data transmission in areas subject to frequent electrical storms, and presents no hazard to the field installer.
4. Weight and Diameter
A 100 meter coaxial cable transmitting 500 megabits of data per unit time is about 800 percent heavier than a plastic fiber cable and about 700 percent heavier than a hard-clad silica cable, all of equal length and transmitting at the same data rate.
The relative diameters of various types of fiber cable and coaxial copper cable for the same distance and data rate are shown in the illustration below.