July 5, 2022

For Internet users that want the fastest downloads AND uploads, look no further than fiber optic cables.

The technological innovation uses glass or plastic threads to transmit data. Consisting of bundles of glass threads which can transmit messages modulated onto light waves, a fiber optic cable has the capacity to carry a significant increase in fiber optic switch bandwidth than metal cables, thus carrying more data at each ‘delivery’ of information to a user. 

But an increase in bandwidth isn’t the only thing that has businesses clamoring to get a piece of fiber optics. Recently Internet service providers have released Internet service connections that utilize fiber optics, providing speeds that reach 10 to 16 megabits per second. This far surpasses the commonly used Asymmetrical Digital Service Lines (ADSL) or the Symmetrical Digital Service Lines (SDSL). To put it in perspective, compared to the fasted fixed Internet access points, such as ADSL or SDSL connections, which can only carry about two million bits per second, a single optical fiber can carry about three trillion bits per second.

As well, compared to metal cables, fiber optic cables are less susceptible to interference because they are dielectric. Because they have no metal components they can be placed in areas that have electromagnetic interference and not be affected. As well, they can be placed in areas of high lightning strike incidence. They are thinner and lighter and data can be transferred digitally instead of analogically. 

However, the main disadvantage of fiber optics is the cost, as the cables can be expensive to install, adding to thousands for some businesses in certain locations outside a main metropolis. As well, the fragility of the cables and difficulty to splice could prove to be an issue for installers. 

But that has not stopped the estimated four million people in the United Kingdom who are planning choose fiber optic cables for their Internet connection over the next five years. And even in Canada, Internet users are making the switch to fiber optic.  It is expected that in the future, all businesses will switch to fiber optics for communication. For now it remains a trend yet to be tapped into by those wishing to get ahead of the game with their technological standards.

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