Fibre Optics | High-Speed Internet

Fibre Optics: A Quantum Leap in Long-Distance Communication

It’s estimated that humans developed speech around 500 000 years ago, adding alphabetic systems in about 1 700 BC, but we could never have anticipated advances like fibre optics. Nevertheless, even in ancient times, the need to communicate was considered important enough to develop ways to convey messages between people when no longer within hearing range. The first written letter is believed to have been sent in 500 BC and appears to have been a handwritten love letter from the Persian Queen, Atossa.

On land, signal fires and smoke signals provided some primitive communities with a partial solution to the distance problem. However, following the development of ocean-going vessels, travel, trade, and, frequently, war between nations spurred the need to develop faster communication methods than the written word to cope with the vast distances involved. In May 1844, Samuel Morse provided the solution when he transmitted the first telegraph message from the US Capitol building in Washington to his assistant in Baltimore using his iconic code of dots and dashes.

In 1876, the telephone, generally attributed to Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell, finally put long-distance communication in the public domain. Despite subsequent advances, in 2022, there were over 884 million fixed-line installations worldwide. Next, in 1936, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  launched the world’s first regular TV channel, but probably never anticipated the incredible advances that the use of digital electronics technology would bring.

The Role of Fibre Optics in the Digital Age

Few inventions have had a broader or more transformative impact on human lifestyles and activities than the computer. The first-generation models employed vacuum tubes and were the size of a large room, requiring punched tape instruction and producing their output in the same format. Subsequent generations became smaller, graduating successively first to transistors, then integrated circuits and microprocessors, while artificial intelligence and cloud computing appear to be the future.

However, in the business world, most computers form part of a local- or wide-area network and rely on some form of interconnection to function as intended. There are currently three ways for a network engineer to achieve this:

  • Copper Cables:

Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity and is heat resistant, ductile, and malleable. It is widely used for all forms of electrical wiring, from domestic power supplies to medical equipment. However, it has some potential drawbacks when used to connect computers in a network, including:

  • Copper cables are prone to electromagnetic interference from nearby sources like electrical wiring, which can cause instability and signal degradation.
  • Copper cabling is subject to signal attenuation, which means that the signal strength decreases as the length of the cable increases. Thus, signal attenuation limits the viable distance between connected computers without the use of signal boosters or repeaters.
  • Wireless Connectivity:

At first glance, WiFi seems like the ultimate solution. It’s cost-effective, scalable, and easy to deploy. It eliminates cable clutter, supports simultaneous connection with multiple devices, and allows users to move freely, untethered by cables. However, for networking purposes, it has almost as many disadvantages. The latter includes susceptibility to interference, security and privacy issues, and speed and bandwidth losses due to multiple users. Unlike cabling, it lacks built-in redundancy and is more vulnerable to failure.

  • Fibre Optics: 

This invention, developed by Corning Glass researchers in the 1970s, might be the single most significant advance in communications, given that these glass cables can carry 65 000 times more data than a copper wire. They have largely replaced copper in medical equipment, vehicles, subscription TV services, and defence and space applications. However, their low latency and resistance to interference make fibre optics the connectivity solution of choice for computer networks and high-speed internet access.

Join the Fibre Optics Age

We at CCI Technologies are a leading supplier and installer of fibre optic network solutions. Don’t settle for slow speeds, dropped connections, signal degradation, and data losses. Contact us about transforming your business with a bespoke turnkey solution.

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