What Are Fibre Optics Used For?

Fibre optics allow us to hop online and leverage light signals to transfer data to and from our computers. Thanks to fibre optic cables that use light signals, you don’t have to think about calling IT support. Just browse, comment, chat, shop, and stream quickly without buffering issues.

The newer technology behind fibre optic cables ensures reliability and speed that far surpass cable internet and DSL. In fact, it remains the fastest communication technology on the planet.

Even with the proliferation of 5G technology, fibre optics continue to lead the pack. At present, 5G has trouble penetrating double glazing, foliage, and walls. Without a fibre optic connection on a highly resilient network on every mobile tower and cell site, 5G will remain somewhat limited. This is especially true for those living in rural areas.

However, the emergence of 5G presents new opportunities, and the fibre optics components market is forecasted to be worth over U$D 39 billion by 2027.

Fibre Optics Defined

Fibre optic cables are filled with glass filaments. These glass filaments carry lasers and light signals that send data back and forth to your computer. Fibre optic cables carry light very well over (relatively) long distances without weakening (much) or distorting the light signal.

In contrast, cable internet and DSL rely on copper wires to transmit and receive data. The data transmitted via copper wires significantly deteriorate over distances and distort the voltage signals they send.

How Does Fibre Optics Work?

Optic fibres are essentially hair-thin, flexible strands of glass that allow light beams to travel. These strands function as waveguides or a light tunnel that carries light between two ends of the fibre.

In this scenario, the light beams repeatedly bounce off the cable walls with an internal mirror-like reflection. If the light beam hits the glass at a 42-degree angle (or less), it’ll reflect back, creating a total internal reflection. As a result, the structure helps keep the light inside the cable.

Fibre internet connections achieve speeds of one gigabit per second or a hundred times faster than copper wire connections. This makes fibre optics critical to achieving faster data transfer, shorter load times, and high-quality streaming. You also won’t be hitting the reload button several times or picking up your phone to call IT support any time soon.

What Are the Different Types of Fibre Internet?

There are several types of fibre optics used to access the internet. The leading three fibre optic connections are listed below:

  1. Fibre to the curb (FTTC): This approach ensures that the fibre internet connection goes straight to the nearest pole or utility box (and not a concrete curb). Coaxial cables then send signals from the utility box (or the curb) to your house. So FTTC combines both copper wires and fibre optic cables to connect you to the web.
  • Fibre to the home or premises (FTTH or FTTP): This approach is often described as the “holy grail” of all fibre internet connections. It brings the fibre internet connection straight into your house. If your residence isn’t equipped to receive a fibre connection, your local internet service provider will drill holes or dig nearby to make it happen.
  • Fibre to the node or neighbourhood (FTTN): This approach provides a fibre connection to hundreds of customers located within a one-mile radius of the node. The remaining connection from the node to your property is often a DSL line that leverages pre-existing telephone cables.

Things get tricky when following the FTTN model because the farther you live away from the node, the more you’ll rely on the copper wire DSL lines to reach your house. As alluded to above, the longer the line, the slower the connection.

Fibre optics already handle massive amounts of data. This means they can also power applications that don’t even exist yet. In the future, fibre optics technologies are only going to get better. Are you getting the fastest internet speeds in Australia? Find out from our team of in-house experts.