‘Faster than the speed of light’ is a phrase you might’ve heard in sci-fi movies. Another area where this tagline comes up, again and again, is the domain of internet connectivity, where it is used in reference to the fiber optic technology.
Fiber optic technology has been around for a decade or two, and during that span, it has become a crucial part of the global area network. Before fiber internet, providers relied on other infrastructures to relay network signals to the masses. These alternatives included:
- Dial-Up – The oldest form of data connection, which uses the telephone line to transmit the internet to people’s homes with an average 56 Kbps speed. Though it is considered outdated, dial-up is still available in certain areas at extremely affordable rates.
- DSL – A high-speed data connection which also uses the telephone line to transmit internet to people’s homes. The difference with DSL is that it doesn’t trump the phone service, and offers speeds that range up to 15 Mbps. Around 90% of US residents have access to a basic DSL connection. Its upgrades such as VDSL (with speeds up to 70 Mbps) are also available.
- Coax – Also known as ‘cable internet’, this data connection uses the cable TV line to transmit the internet to people’s homes. Its speeds transcend the 100 Mbps average rate, but being a ‘shared network’ it often creates bandwidth throttling issues in a neighborhood. However, some providers such as Cox, found on https://www.localcabledeals.com/Cox/Internet, have come up with a progressive solution to this problem in the form of HFC (Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial) infrastructure upgrade. These ISPs beam data signals from their end over super-fast fiber lines, which hop on to the coaxial wires just when they reach the neighborhoods. This fiber modification eliminates much of the latency but still has an asymmetrical delivery.
Despite the prevalence of these network types, fiber optic internet still manages to tip the balance in its favor by overcoming many of the recorded shortcomings.
Speed-wise, fiber internet relies on light pulses instead of radio waves, which travel must faster (around 186,000 miles per second) and supply symmetrical speeds (i.e. equal download and upload rate) up to 1000 Mbps. Hardware-wise, fiber network utilizes extremely light and sturdy glass-based wires, having the thickness of a human hair, instead of copper ones which are subject to wear and tear.
Due to its sophisticated makeup and 100% delivery, fiber has become the gold standard of residential internet connections and the backbone of the broadband market. The speeds it supports now can be expected to catapult to 20x in the coming years, making digital connectivity practically seamless.
Fiber’s Plausible Applications
Given its speed and stability, fiber optic internet promises to bring about a large-scale optimization in many societal structures, such as:
- Education – The acquisition of knowledge in and out of the classroom, and the testing of academic research can be hyper-realized with the aid of fiber-fast internet.
- Commute – The deployment of smart traffic regulation systems, which manage routes and minimize blockades by communicating over a high-speed internet, can be streamlined with the help of fiber.
- Healthcare – Performing critical surgeries in simulations, diagnosing illnesses and monitoring patients’ health with the help of IoT can be efficiently realized with fiber optic technology.
Even in agriculture, commerce and military ventures, fiber optics can lead to a revolutionary upheaval of the current procedures and introduce the cleanest, most advanced solutions for creating a futuristic society.
Fiber’s Future Implications
Does fiber have a future? Well, of course. Even though a fiber-optic investment sounds super-expensive and labor-intensive, still you can expect to find initiatives coming up in the distant years. Just take a look at San Francisco’s plan to lay down a city-wide fiber line with the purpose of making 1 Gig speeds accessible to all regions of the city.
Then, there’s the increased support for using PLCN’s trenched fiber cable infrastructure to link the city of Hong Kong with LA and dispense equilateral 144 TB data through it. 5G and other wireless technologies are now being backed by fiber and delivered by fiber optic providers such as Verizon. Such revelations show what we can do with fiber and how much potential this network technology carries for building a better world.