Fiber optics technology has revolutionized this large world with its light carrying capability through a small fiber, which is slightly thicker than a human hair. The technology is offering its services in a myriad of applications in different sectors worldwide. This flow of light is touching almost everything from telecommunication in space to lighting the ocean. The development and applications of this technology are growing without any end in sight.
Before knowing the advantages and describing the applications, it’s important to know what makes fiber optics technology stand apart in comparison to conventional cabling systems. Semiconductor technology has played an important role in its dramatic implementation. It has developed necessary light sources, photo detectors and optical instruments that make it superior to conventional cable.
Some of these benefits are:
1. Optical fibers offer low transmission loss and wider bandwidths for transferring data in the form of light.
2. Their low weight and small dimensions are advantages over bulky copper and other cable systems.
3. They are immune to environmental electro-magnetic interferences because of their dielectric nature.
4. Since they are constructed from glass or plastic they offer complete electric isolation. This makes them secure for underwater applications.
5. Last but not least, there is an abundance of raw materials available for construction of fibers. This keeps their cost low in comparison to other cables.
Now we are aware of the things which make fiber optics the best available option. The second important thing to know is what advantages this technology is offering to the consumers. The advantages listed here are few, but there are far more advantages in reality. Some examples of these advantages are:
Non-conductive nature of fiber:
The cables are non- conductive in nature as they are made up of silica with several insulating protective layers over it. Thus they are resistive to lightning, rusting and degradation. This makes them suitable for underwater applications like pools and spa illumination.
Eliminate spark and shocks:
Electric signals are extremely dangerous in many applications. They cause sparks, create an electric current and can be dangerously accidental. Fiber optics is free from these problems as it doesn’t carry current.
Easy to install:
Conventional cables are thick, heavy and bulky which makes them very difficult to install. On the other hand optic cables are thinner, light and flexible which makes them easy to install in any location and they can be conveniently framed into any object.
Immune to electromagnetic interference:
This is the most beneficial quality of optical fiber in the telecommunication industry. This interference is a type of noise which reduces the quality of signal. Since optical fiber doesn’t carry current it is immune to this problem.
Safety and security:
The enhanced cabling technology and manufacturing process make optical fiber the most secure and safe means of transmitting signals or light. It is very secure in terms of data transmission and it is safe to utilize it in light and high temperature applications.
High bandwidth covering long distances:
Fiber optics technology is capable of carrying signals at high speeds or data rate, which makes them able to run over long distances without any repeaters or amplifiers. Fiber can reach beyond the normal range of any other cable type.
In short we can say that fiber optic cables are flexible, reliable, secure, safe, less prone to environmental hazards and above all easy to install and manage.
Fiber optics technology is the best practical solution for many cabling applications; however there are some difficulties which contribute to its disadvantages. There aren’t many but they require attention to overcome. These are:
High installation cost:
You can get fiber cables at a low cost, but the installation is quite costly. They require special tools and techniques which result in an increment of its overall expense.
They are also sensitive and should be handled with care. They are much more fragile than other cables, so any pulling and bending must be done carefully.
Fiber optics becomes opaque due to continuous use which reduces its efficiency and life.
Require special skills to install: fiber optic engineering
Their installation and handling needs to be done with new technologies and accessories which require skilled labor to install them. Although this is costly, you will know it is done right.
Area of uses:
The advantages and disadvantages of any system serve as the basis for implementing it for any application. Since fiber optics has lots of advantages to offer it also has a wider area of uses. The following are some examples of these possible uses:
Military projects: Any technology is considered to be tough and secure if it is used for military applications. This is the case with fiber optics as it offers high-speed and greater bandwidth.
Transportation: Smart highways, automated booths, and smart traffic lighting systems are possible because of this technology.
Telecommunication: This is the global sector which is upgrading with optical fiber. Higher internet data transmission rate, digitization of cable television, long distance communication, and computer networking are some of the common examples utilizing this technology.
Decoration and art lighting: This is the most attractive and user-friendly application area of fiber optics technology. The fiber cables installation ranges from shopping mall arcades to large water pools and spas. Their application is limitless and beyond imagination, though here are some of the interesting ones:
· Swimming pool lighting: Fiber optics lighting is pleasing, glowing and the only safe lighting for pools. It is safer because there is no danger of electric shock from illumination. It is adaptable to wet environments and never rusts. The latest color wheels and illuminator helps create different patterns and any desirable modern art in your pool.