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Fiber Optic Terminology

Fiber optic is a technology used in the transmission of telephone, internet, and cable television signals. During transmission, this signal is usually in the form of light within the carrying medium. This technology is becoming very popular nowadays because of its advantages: It has very low loss of signal during transmission, it does not have ground currents, and it carries high capacities of data. There are many fiber optic products available at FireFold.

Some technical terms are associated with fiber optic technology. The following are some of these terms and their meanings:

The first term is analog to digital converter, which is commonly referred to as ADC. An ADC converts analogue (continuous) signals into digital (discrete) signals. This conversion is usually very important in the transmission process.

Another important fiber optic term is absorption, which is the loss of part of a signal being transmitted due to its conversion from an optical form into heat. Such losses are usually very minimal in optical transmission and are caused by impurities with the transmitting medium.

Next, an active device is one that can only operate if it is supplied with some power. Moreover, it usually has an output that depends on signals within the transmitting medium at an earlier stage before getting to the device. An example of an active device is an amplifier. An amplifier is a device that increases the strength of an optical signal in order to minimize absorption effects. An amplifier is usually placed between a transmitter and a receiver.

A receiver detects and converts optical signals at the end of a transmission line. This device also converts a signal from its optical format to an electrical format. A device that complements a receiver is the transmitter. It is found at the source of a signal and has driving capabilities in order to ensure that signals are sent to their intended destinations. One of its main functions is to convert electrical signals into an optical format. Another important term in fiber optic communication is channel. It refers to a path that signals follow from a transmitter to a receiver.

Associated to a channel is the term channel coding. Channel coding is a technique used in maintaining the integrity of data being transmitted, which is achieved by encoding of the data and error correction.

The material used to transmit optical signals usually has cladding. Cladding is the material that surrounds the part of fiber optic cables that carries signals (core). Cladding has to have a lower refractive index than the core in order to enhance internal reflection. Internal reflection is important to ensure that an optic signal remains within the core during its transmission. Refractive index is a number associated with materials’ ability to allow light to pass through them. It is a ratio of light’s velocity within free space to its velocity within a certain material.