One of the most improved-upon products in the IT industry is the network cable. Given that we need to be able to transmit more data at a faster speed across several platforms at once, the increase in demands necessarily leads to a profitable outcome for those who can create innovative and long-lasting solutions.
For the past 20 years or so, twisted pair wiring – both shielded and unshielded – has been the norm. With new categories created nearly every time a new benchmark in transmission speed is achieved, it seems like they will be here to stay for a long time. However, fiber optic products are a new emerging technology that could give twisted pair wiring a serious run for its money.
To understand why, it is important to look at the downsides of using twisted pair wiring. Although there are shielding mechanisms in place, cables using this wiring are still susceptible to electromagnetic interference from other wire pairs and nearby electronic devices. This can make data transfer somewhat unreliable, which is a major concern for IT companies worldwide.
Fiber optic cables work in a different manner. A cable can consist of multiple strands of optical fiber within protecting tubing, with each strand being coated by several plastic layers. Data is transmitted through pulses of light at the speed of light instead of using electricity. This allows for a speed of data transfer that far exceeds previous forms of cabling. You can purchase fiber optic cables that work over a short distance (multi-mode fiber) or a long distance (single-mode fiber.
So, what kind of fiber optic products currently exist? It turns out that fiber optics technology is expanding far beyond the reaches of the IT industry. Telephone companies are currently seeking to replace their traditional telephone lines with fiber optics for faster and interruption-free communication. Fiber optics are also seeing heavy use in the transmission of data for the latest high definition televisions. Lighting products are using fiber optics to create lighting that is brighter while using less power, making them the ideal choice for holidays and festivities.
The lighting, however, can do more than look pretty on a house. Surgeons and medical professionals are using fiber optics to conduct risky operations that require bright lights in order to achieve the level of precision that is necessary. Cars will use fiber optics to light up both the exterior and interior while providing lighting-speed data transmission between all of its working parts for a safer and more responsive driving experience.
There are some potential downsides to fiber optic products that you should be aware of. For one, they are far more expensive in their price when compared to other types of products. Depending on your budget, you might choose to hold off on purchasing these products until later.
Another factor to consider is that there are many more variations that exist. This increases the odds that an IT team might grab the wrong variation to set up their network. Extra caution will have to be taken when purchasing. Finally, they are more difficult to splice than copper wire, and they are far more fragile to handle.
Although fiber optics appears to be on the path to replacing the current technologies used for data transmission and lighting, it will be a while before this happens. Advancements will need to be made in order to reduce the price and fragility of fiber optics while improving their performance at the same time. However, given that we have been able to maximize our use of every other piece of technology that came before it, there is no reason to think that fiber optics won’t become the norm in the future.