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Over the past few years, fiber optic cable has become more affordable. It's now used for dozens of applications that require complete immunity to electrical interference. Fiber is ideal for high data-rate systems such as FDDI, multimedia, ATM, or any other network that requires the transfer of large, time-consuming data files.
Other advantages of fiber optic cable over copper include:
can run fiber as far as several kilometers.
Single-mode or multimode?
In fiber cable, light is carried down the core. The larger the core, the greater the amount of light paths or modes. In fiber cable, the light source emits photons down the fiber core. Each photon carries the same signal down the path (or mode). But only one photon is required for an optical signal to be received.
In multimode fiber, multiple photons (or modes of light) travel down the fiber core. However, in long cable runs (greater than 3000 feet [914.4 m]), multiple paths of light can cause signal distortion at the receiving end, resulting in an unclear and incomplete data transmission.
In single-mode fiber, the reduced core size allows only a single photon (or one light mode) to travel down the core. Single-mode fiber gives you a higher transmission rate and up to 50 times more distance than multimode, but it also costs more. The small core and its single lightwave virtually eliminate any distortion that could result from overlapping light pulses, providing the least signal attenuation and highest transmission speeds of any fiber cable type.
Testing and certifying fiber
Basic fiber optic testers function by shining a light down one end of the cable. At the other end, there's a receiver calibrated to the strength of the light source. With this test, you can measure how much light is going to the other end of the cable. Generally, these testers give you the results in decibels (dB) lost, which you then compare to the loss budget. If the measured loss is less than the number calculated by your loss budget, your installation is good.
Newer fiber optic testers have a broad range of capabilities. They can test both 850- and 1300-nm signals at the same time and can even check your cable for compliance with specific standards.
When to choose fiber optic.
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CPCS Technologies - Defense and Public Safety Technology Consulting Services
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PO Box 5243
Cary, NC 27512-5243