Our current age of technology is the result of many brilliant inventions. And discovers, but it is our ability to transmit information. And the media we use to do it, it that is perhaps most responsible for its evolution. Progressing from the copper wire of a century ago to todays fiber optic cable, our increasing ability to transmit more quickly and over longer distances has expanded the boundaries of our technological development in all areas.
Toadys low-loss glass fiber optic cables offer almost unlimited bandwidth and unique advantages over all previous developed transmission media. The basic point-to-point fiber optic transmission system consists of three basic elements: the fiber optic cable and the optical receiver and the fiber optic cable.
Optical communications date back two centuries to the opical telegraph that French engineer Claude Chappe invented the 1790s. His system was a series of semaphores mounted on towers, where humans operators relay messages from one tower to the other. It beat hand carried messages hands down, but by the mid-19th century was replaced by the electric telegraph, leaving a scattering of Telegraph Hills as it almost visible legacy.
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In the intervening years a new technology slowly took root that would untimely solve the problem of optical transmission, although it was a long time before it was adapted for communications. It depended on the phenomenon of total internal reflections, which can confine light in material surrounding by other materials with lower refractive index, such as glass in the air. In the mid 1840s, Swiss physicist Daniel Collodon and French physicist Jacques Babinet showed that light could be guided along jet of water for fountain display. British physicist John Tyndall popularized light guiding in a demonstration he first used in 1854, guiding light in a jet of water flowing from a tank. By the turn of the century, inventors realized that bent quartz rods could carry light, and patented them as dental illuminators.
Optical fibers went a step further. They are essentially transparent rods of glass or plastic stretched so they are long and flexible. During the 1920s, John Logie Baird in England and Clarience W. Hansell in the United States patented the idea of using arrays of hollow pipes or transparent rods to transmit images for television or facsimile systems. However, the first person known to have demonstrated image transmission through a bundle of optical fibers was Heinrich lamm, than a medical student in transmitting the images of light bulb filament through a short bundle.
Mean while telecommunications engineers were seeking more transmission bandwidth. Radio and microwave frequencies were in heavy use, so they looked to higher frequencies to carry loads they expected to continue increasing with the growth of television and telephone traffic. Telephone companies thought video telephones lurked just around the corner and would escalate bandwidth demands even further. The cutting edge of communications research was millimeter-wave systems. In which hollow pipes served as wave guides to circumvent poor atmosphere transmission at tens of gigahertz, where wavelength were in the millimeters.
Fiber optics is currenty the best long distance communications method because it provides much faster data transfer speeds when compared to the traditional interconnection media such as copper wire.
Fiber optics has become a very important part of modern day communication. Over the next few years, fiber optics will continue to replace copper as the communications standard. With the development of the 20 dB/km fiber, fiber-optics became a feasible method of transmitting data. With its high-speed data transfer rates, which can out, perform copper wire, optical fiber will certainly become the new standard for transmitting data.
Fiber-optic technology is constantly improving and one of the biggest hurdles is trying to lower the attenuation of the cable. As the attenuation goes down, the longer a single piece will be without a repeater. This in turn will offer a faster transmission rate. To help cut down the problem with cable, all the cable are covered with cladding to help prevent power loss and to protect the cable. Outside of the cladding a buffer coating which serves to protect the cable and add to its strength to prevent breakage. As the manufacturing processes improve, the newer, high-grade optic fibers will begin to replace the current copper cable networks.
As new optical fibers are being strung, many telecommunication companies are joining forces to share the cost of laying in the optical networks. With the television and telephone companies joining together, new technologies will begin to show up. Video phones, and video conferencing will likely become common in many households. Shopping at home, and television on demand will replace the current cable television systems of today.
Telecommunications is not the only application of fiber optics. Many companies have been putting fiber optics in their assembly line computers. This is for the simple reason that light does not have problems with electromagnetic interference that such a problem for copper wires. Optical fiber is also being used for security, and measurement of a system like the changing temperature and wind velocity on a bridge in real time. With all of these possible applications of fiber optics, it will become one of the most active and important technologies for this decade and many to come.
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