What’s a Fiber-Optic Cable?

Fiber optics are made up of incredibly thin threads of plastic or glass that transmits light signals over a certain distance. Because data is carried at the speed of light, a fiber-optic cable allow for efficient communication. A network of multiple fiber-optic cables can provide households and businesses with reliable Internet, television service and a digital phone line.


Three parts of a fiber-optic cable

One thread of an optical fiber has three parts. The first is the core. This is the very center of the cable that the light travels through.

Surrounding the core is the cladding. This is made of optical material and reflects light into the core.

The buffer coating encloses the cladding and the core. This protects the materials from any damage and moisture.


Two types of fiber-optic cables

Both the multimode fiber and single-mode fiber are types of fiber-optic cables. Compared to the single-mode fiber, the multimode fiber carries less bandwidth and travels less distance, but has a larger core. As the names imply, the single-mode fiber allows one data stream to travel while the multimode fiber allows multiple.


Many service providers are switching to fiber optics

Many Internet, TV and home phone line service providers are making the switch from copper to fiber, although the cost of labor and materials is extremely high. While it is rather expensive to build, fiber-optic cables are able to handle greater bandwidth and data demands.

These cables provide many additional benefits for Internet, TV and phone line subscribers and providers. Here are a few of the perks of fiber optics:

  • Fiber does not create as much heat as copper, and therefore less energy is used by data centers’ cooling systems.
  • Fiber offers secure communication for Internet and home phone line users, as tapping the fiber could cause damage to the glass in the cable.
  • Fiber-optic cables have a longer lifespan than copper cables.