Why are fiber-optic systems revolutionizing telecommunications? Compared to conventional metal wire (copper wire), optical fibers are:
- Less expensive - Several miles of optical cable can be made cheaper than equivalent lengths of copper wire. This saves your provider (cable TV, Internet) and you money.
- Thinner - Optical fibers can be drawn to smaller diameters than copper wire.
- Higher carrying capacity - Because optical fibers are thinner than copper wires, more fibers can be bundled into a given-diameter cable than copper wires. This allows more more data to go over the same cable, increasing capacity and speed. It makes things like HD video, video conferencing and other applications that require the rapid transfer of large amounts of data possible.
- Less signal degradation - The loss of signal in optical fiber is less than in copper wire.
- Light signals - Unlike electrical signals in copper wires, light signals from one fiber do not interfere with those of other fibers in the same cable. This means clearer phone conversations,TV reception or data degradation.
- Low power - Because signals in optical fibers degrade less, lower-power transmitters can be used instead of the high-voltage electrical transmitters needed for copper wires. Again, this saves your provider and you money.
- Digital signals - Optical fibers are ideally suited for carrying digital information, which is especially useful in computer networks.
- Non-flammable - Because no electricity is passed through optical fibers, there is no fire hazard.
- Lightweight - An optical cable weighs less than a comparable copper wire cable. Fiber-optic cables take up less space in the ground.