Glass fiber is the foundation of modern fiber optic technology. Traditionally made from silica, glass optical fibers offer very consistent transmission across a variety of wavelengths and can be used over vast distances. They have changed the face of communications.
How has this relatively recent advancement in materials science revolutionized the telecommunications industry? Let’s take a look at the technology behind today’s connected world.
Why Glass is an Ideal Telecommunications Component
The throughput of glass fiber optic cables is over ten times more than that of traditional copper wires. Copper wire transmits electrical currents; fiber optic cable actually sends pulses of light through the fibers themselves. The higher the frequency range of a cable, the more data it can transmit. This gives today’s optic cables an edge in the sheer volume of data that can be transmitted at once, paving the way for incredibly high-speed internet.
Glass is superior to materials such as metal because it greatly reduces loss, improving the quality of data transmitted. Fiber optic cables provide video and other high-bandwidth applications with better performance. In addition, glass cables are immune to electromagnetic interference which is a common problem for their metal counterparts.
The “joining” of glass fibers for telecom is more complicated than that for other materials. Complex fiber optic cables require careful cleaving of the glass and exact alignment of the fiber cores to ensure light can be transmitted effectively. Fusion splice and mechanical splice are common means of achieving this.
Better Glass Means Better Performance
Glass fibers have fast become the preferred material for long stretches of transmission cable. Better glass quality means that light signals can transmit farther before they need to be regenerated. Material improvement also makes room for multiple colors of light to be transmitted at once, allowing for more than one channel on a single strand of fiber.
In instances of high impact, fiber optic cables can be reinforced with glass yarns or other aramid fibers as a means of intermediary strength. Adding glass yarn also protects cables placed in exterior locations from threats such as rodents and termites.
Today’s internet speeds are exponentially greater than those just a decade ago. There is no doubt that speeds will only continue to increase in the future; faster connection has myriad implications for industries such as medical, government, and even for the practice of telecommuting. The faster telecommunications networks become, the more they can be used to do.
B&W Fiberglass is a producer of custom glass fiber products. Our telecommunications clients are advancing the scope of technology one fiber optic cable at a time. We’re proud to say our solutions have been implemented in some of the most innovative communication projects today.
To find out more about our technical capabilities, reach out to our experienced team today.