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FIBRE OPTIC CABLES

WHAT ARE FIBRE OPTIC CABLES ?

  • Optical fibres are made of thin cylindrical strands of glass.
  • The diameter of a typical fibre is close to the diameter of a human hair.
  • These fibres can carry information, such as text, images, videos, telephone calls, and anything that can be encoded as digital information, across large distances almost at the speed of light.
  • Optical waves allow a high data­transmission rate, up to several terabits per second in a single fibre.
  • Unlike radio or copper­cable­based communication, fibre cables are also insensitive to external perturbations such as lightning and bad weather.

WORKING MECHANISM OF OPTIC CABLES:

  • When a beam of light falls on a glass surface, it passes through partially while the rest is reflected away.
  • When it passes through, its path bends because the refractive index of glass is different from that of air.
  • The refractive index is the property of a medium that determines how fast light can travel in it.
  • When a beam travels in the reverse direction, that is from glass to air, it’s possible that it won’t enter the air. Instead, it will be completely reflected back within the glass.
  • This phenomenon, known as total internal reflection, is the basis of guiding light across long distances without a significant loss of optical power.
  • With proper adjustments, the light can be kept bouncing within the glass with very little escaping outside.
  • This is how signals encoded as electromagnetic waves can be fed into one end of an optical fibre, and they will reflect and bounce many times between the glass walls as they traverse several kilometres bearing the information in the signals.

PARTS OF OPTICAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM:

  • A fibre optic communication system consists of three parts :
  • a transmitter which encodes information into optical signals (in the form of rapidly blinking light pulses of zeros and ones)
  • an optical fibre that carries the signal to its destination
  • a receiver which reproduces the information from the encoded signal.

Main element of Fiber Optics:

  • Core: It is the central tube of very thin size made of optically transparent dielectric medium and carries the light transmitter to receiver and the core diameter may vary from about 5um to 100 um.
  • Cladding:It is outer optical material surrounding the core having reflecting index lower than core and cladding helps to keep the light within the core throughout the phenomena of total internal reflection.
  • Buffer Coating:It is a plastic coating that protects the fiber made of silicon rubber. The typical diameter of the fiber after the coating is 250-300 um.

ADVANTAGES OF FIBRE OPTIC CABLES:

  • Fiber optic cables are commonly used because of their advantages over copper cables.
  • Some of those benefits include higher bandwidth and transmit speeds.
  • Fiber optics is used for long-distance and high-performance data networking.
  • It is also commonly used in telecommunication services, such as internet, television and telephones.
  • They are less susceptible to interference, such as electromagnetic interference.
  • They can be submerged in water.

  • Fiber optic cables are stronger, thinner and lighter than copper wire cables.
  • They do not need to be maintained or replaced as frequently.

DISADVANTAGES OF FIBRE OPTIC CABLES:

  • Fiber optics is often more expensive than copper wire.
  • Glass fiber requires more protection within an outer cable than copper.
  • Installing new cabling is labor intensive.
  • Fiber optic cables are often more fragile. For example, the fibers can be broken, or a signal can be lost if the cable is bent or curved around a radius of a few centimeters.

GOVERNMENT STEPS:

  • With a goal to securing communication and promoting quantum science, the Government of India announced a national mission in the Union Budget of 2020. The proposed budget for this
  • ‘National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications’ is ₹8,000 crore over a period of five years.
  • The possibilities of fibre optic networks are growing at an accelerated rate, reaching all the way into our homes.
  • Along with quantum optics, fibre optic communication stands on the cusp of a new era.

SYLLABUS: MAINS, GS-3, S&T

SOURCE: THE HINDU

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