Enjoy this instructograph on installing the Quirky Plug Hub!
Want to learn how to do something? Need a quick way to do it? Well check out the latest craze: “instructographs”! A infograph mixes graphs with information in order to effectively display a message; therefore, an instructograph mixes graphs and instructions in order to help you do something. With this said, the below instructograph will help you install and operate “Quirky Digits“:
This is the second part in the F4C series. It will cover the more persuasive material regarding fiber optics as opposed to the descriptive and informative nature of the previous entry. If you missed part 1, then click here to view it.
IV. Convince Me
Now that you understand what Optic Fiber is, the remainder of this document will convince you why you’ll need it.
The main reason why you should look into Optic Fiber is because it is very high performing.
Going by the numbers, we can see some of the outstanding performance metrics of optic fiber:
- For Single-mode optical fiber, data rates of 10 Gbit/s over 80 km (or 50 mi) are to be expected. With state of the art technology, thousands of kilometers can be traversed at that data rate and hundreds at the rate of 40 Gbit/s
- For Multi-mode optical fiber, typical speed/length performance can be broken down into: 100 Mbit/s at 2 km (1.24 mi), 1 Gbit/s at 1000 m (0.62 mi), and 10 Gbit/s at 550 m (1804 ft).
- While optic fiber doesn’t suffer from interference (such as EMI and other such problems) it does have attenuation–the amount of signal loss over distance (km); however, this happens to all transmission mediums:
- Single-mode fiber have an attenuation, at 850/1300nm, of 0.4/0.25 dB/km respectively.
- Multi-mode fibers have an attenuation, at 850/1300 nm, of 3/1 dB/KM respectively.
The main drawback, or the reason why it isn’t as popular to the average consumer, is because of initial costs. While competition and demand have brought costs down to near that of copper wires, the added equipment needed to properly install a fiber optic structure will initially be high.
Although initial cost is a drawback, the cost and the drawback are both only observed at the beginning. The demand for faster networks is making optic fiber cheaper, and since the demands for speed aren’t going to go down, those who invest in fiber can and will end up saving over time. Case in point, switching over to optic fiber now and incur the high costs or purchase more copper wires to fulfill the growing demand now, only to shift to fiber optic in the end when it becomes the dominant transmission medium.
V. Ok, So What?
Regarding the previous information on performance, cost and future proofability, what do these things translate to the customer?
Optical fiber has many uses, but its most popular is surely for telecommunication and computer networks. The reason for this is because of how superior it is to its competitor in this arena: copper cables. Many telecommunication companies have made the switch long ago or are in the process of doing so currently. Also, computer networks looking to capitalize on users’ ever increasing demand and usage of bandwidth and data has allowed those who can connect faster and with less errors the opportunity to productively use this speed advantage; e.g. in stock trading. Some other uses for optic fiber include using fibers as sensors for plotting and measuring, and in the medical field for sensitive instruments; e.g. endoscope and microscope.
Some examples of fiber optic usage are in the following:
- “Medical – Used as light guides, imaging tools and also as lasers for surgeries
- Defense/Government – Used as hydrophones for seismic and SONAR uses, as wiring in aircraft, submarines and other vehicles and also for field networking
- Data Storage – Used for data transmission
- Telecommunications – Fiber is laid and used for transmitting and receiving purposes
- Networking – Used to connect users and servers in a variety of network settings and help increase the speed and accuracy of data transmission
- Industrial/Commercial – Used for imaging in hard to reach areas, as wiring where EMI is an issue, as sensory devices to make temperature, pressure and other measurements, and as wiring in automobiles and in industrial settings
- Broadcast/CATV – Broadcast/cable companies are using fiber optic cables for wiring CATV, HDTV, internet, video on-demand and other applications”2
Since optic fiber is actively competing with copper wire for mainstream dominance, a quick comparison between the 2 will show how you should see one over the other:
“So the phone system is mostly fiber optics beyond the short subscriber link. Fiber links offer over 1,000 times as much bandwidth over distances over 100 times further. Specifically, you can have:”
|Copper||2.5 km||1.5 Mb/s||24|
|Fiber||200 KM||2.5+ Gb/s||32,000 +|
“Depending on the application, fiber costs are typically 1-5% as much as copper in the backbone.
In the subscriber loop, where one connection only is used, the economics are quite different. A drop to the home is less than $100, while a fiber to the home would cost over $1000 and require an onsite way to power the transceivers. So fiber to the home is a non-player, except in rural areas where the line is long and would require a repeater.”
“CATV systems are using this coax for everything, (television signals, Internet connections, and even telephones) but it too is quickly converted to fiber, which provides the backbone connectivity due to lower loss (and subsequently longer runs between repeaters) and much greater reliability. Both those features translate into cost savings, of course. And the fiber backbones are bi-directional to allow for all the new services being offered.
In both telephone and CATV systems, fiber and copper coexist, with each being used where the economics dictate.”
“So why are 99% of all desktops connected with copper? The comfort factor. Installers and customers are both more comfortable with that old familiar copper wire (even if what they install has little in common with their simplistic perception!) and they like the fact that they save $100 or so on every desktop with copper.
The majority of backbones in large companies are fiber. They want the bandwidth and reliability of fiber, and the networking equipment vendors recommend fiber for the backbone. They expect to upgrade to higher bandwidth in the future, and only fiber offers upgradeability.”3
As you can see from the information provided by this post and the last one, fiber optics is a great technology that will decrease in cost overtime allowing for speeds faster than those currently clocked with copper wires; also, interference and therefore lag time and other reduction in quality will be diminished.
Fiber optics is the technology that powers global telecommunications. Many people have heard about this technology, either in passing or decided to take a quick look into what it is, but have remained a little skeptical to its understanding or why it will be a bigger part of their lives in the future. This document will help those new and experience gain a better grasp of fiber optics, its applications, and what to expect in the coming years.
I. Is Fiber Technology New or Old?
“The first fiber optic link was installed in Chicago in 1976. By 1980, commercial long distance links were in use and fiber optic data links for RS-232 were available. Since that beginning, fiber has become very commonplace – one should say dominant – in the communications infrastructure.” 1
One of the first things people should know is that fiber optic technology is not “new” as people are want to believe. While its applications haven’t quite yet reached the popularity of other forms of transmission—namely, electrical transmission over copper wires; typically called Category 5E or 6 cables—it has been used extensively in telecommunications for most things up until the end point, where end-users connect their device to the network port in the wall. However, this is quickly changing as the data needs of these users increase.
II. What is Fiber Technology?
Fiber technology uses narrow strands of fiber—typically made from hair-thin, tubular glass—to guide a beam of light from point-to-point. Since the speed of light is the fastest measurable speed that is known to exist, the designers of this technology thought it’d be a good idea to use light waves as carriers for data. An optic fiber simply bounces a beam of light down its narrow channel all the way down to the end-point called Total Internal Reflection. An abstract of this concept would be bouncing a flashlight down a hall of mirrors. Each mirror will reflect the beam of light to another mirror, which in turn will bounce that light to another appropriately angled mirror, and so on, all the way down the hall.
III. What Should I Know?
There are several things that you should know about optical fiber:
A single-mode optic fiber is a strand of fiber that is characterized by a narrow core, allowing only a single stream of data at any one time. As there is only a single stream of light coming through the fiber, as opposed to multiple streams, and because the core is so narrow, a single stream of light—sent through a single-mode fiber—will allow pieces of information to be sent much faster than multiple pieces. This means that single-mode fiber transfers data faster than multi-mode fiber and keeps this speed advantage over distance, where light streams travel better via a single light stream.
A multi-mode optic fiber is a strand of fiber that is characterized by a wider core, allowing multiple streams of data (light) in at any one time. This characteristic allows for cheaper manufacturing with similar results, in regards to performance, to single-mode fiber. The noticeable drop-off occurs when these multiple light streams have to travel over distance and performance drops. For this reason multi-mode is used in shorter distances.
A simplex fiber is a single fiber that can be of the single-mode or multi-mode variety. The main characteristic of this type of fiber is that it is singular.
Duplex fibers consist of 2 fibers—either of the single-mode or multi-mode variety—and is necessary where data needs to be transferred both to and from.
Optic fiber, in order to easily and effectively be used in typical network environments, must be terminated so that it may connect to its intended device. In order to do this, there are a variety of connectors that you can find, but the most common are:
- SC Connector – SC stands for Subscriber Connector or Square Connector. It has a push/pull “snap-in” mechanism which is very flexible yet provides high repeatability when it comes to connecting and disconnecting. It has since replaced legacy connectors like ST. It is usually found in CATV applications.
- FC Connector – FC stands for Fixed Connection. It is attached by screwing the connector on to whatever it’s connecting. It is used for single-mode applications and is designed for high-vibration environments.
- ST Connector – ST stands for Straight Tip. It is an older style of connector is fixed with a quick release bayonet style connector similar to a latch.
- LC Connector – LC stands for Lucent Connector. They are similar to the SC connector but smaller, making them a preferred choice.
- MTRJ Connector – MTRJ stands for Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack. It is uses 2 fibers and integrates them into a single design that looks similar to the popular RJ45. It is also similar, yet smaller than the SC connector and is therefore preferred.
To Be Continued
Be sure to check out the rest of this document in part 2!