Fiber optic communication systems are revolutionizing our ability to transmit data, far surpassing conventional copper wiring and other transfer mediums in a number of ways. Utilizing lightwave technology to transmit data in the form of light, fiber optics are used to transmit voice, video, telemetry, and data over local area networks and long distances.
While typical copper wiring relies on the transmission of electrical pulses to relay data, fiber optic technology takes advantage of infrared light pulses that travel through optical fibers as their medium. When transmitted, the infrared light acts as a carrier signal, holding the data while travelling over long distances. As compared to copper wiring, fiber optics are well capable of handling very high bandwidths and are resistant to electromagnetic interference due to their operational characteristics. With the use of LAN technology, fiber-optic communication may be relied on for the means of transmitting voice, video, and telemetry. As such, fiber optics are commonly used for relaying telephone signals, cable TV signals, and Internet communication signals.
Beyond utilizing light as a signal carrier, fiber optics also take advantage of various networking components such as transmitting and receiving circuitry, a light source, and detector devices. When sending data over fiber optics, the signal initially begins in the form of an electronic pulse that is fed to a transmitter electronic circuit. From there, the data is converted into a light signal through the use of a light source. The source will typically be an LED or laser diode, that of which is well capable of maintaining an amplitude, frequency, and phase for optimal transmission characteristics.
Once converted by the light source, the signal will then be relayed through cabling until it reaches its destination. At the end of the fiber optic cable, the light will reach a receiver circuit that consists of a photodetector and circuit capable of determining the phase, magnitude, and frequency of the field. From then on, the data then leaves the receiver circuitry as output data that is readable or usable by connected devices.
Depending on whether the network is to relay data over short or long distances, the light source of the assembly may vary. It can be useful to consider the requirements of the application when choosing between sources, and special attention should be given to power, noise, speed, cost, temperature, and more. However, LEDs and laser diodes are the most popular. LEDs feature low power and bandwidth, thus are most commonly implemented within local area networks or low data rate applications. Laser diodes, on the other hand, are well capable of conducting operations over long distances where high amounts of data is being relayed. Despite this, such components are non-linear and are sensitive to fluctuating temperatures. Nevertheless, a number of advancements over the years have made both options a beneficial choice for varying fiber optic applications, allowing individuals to be confident in the use of LED sources for various systems.
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