Optical Fiber Working and Its Applications

The communication using optical fiber cable can be a technique of transmitting data from one location to another by transmitting light pulses. At present, these cables are used for communication like sending images, voice messages, etc. The designing of these cables can be done with plastic or glass so that the data can be transmitted effectively and quickly than copper cables. These cables changed the telecom industry by playing a key role in data transmission. So these cables replaced the copper cables. Nowadays, the world is connected to the internet. So by using a light beam of a fiber optic cable, it is possible to make a phone call, video download and website checking, etc.

What is Optical Fiber?

A cable which is used to transmit the data through fibers (threads) or plastic (glass) is known as optical fiber cable. This cable includes a pack of glass threads which transmits modulated messages over light waves. There are many advantages by using these cables over other types of communication cables like bandwidth of these cables is high, less vulnerable than metal cables to interference, less thin, lighter, and the data can be transmitted in the form of digitally. The main disadvantages of these cables are installation is expensive, more delicate and difficult to fix together.

These cables are essential for LANs. So, telecommunication companies are replacing the telephone lines by these cables. One day, all communications will use fiber optics. The design considerations of these cables mainly include appearance, ruggedness, durability, tensile strength, flammability, size, range of temperature, and its flexibility.

Working of Optical Fiber

The working principle of optical fiber is the transmission of the information in the form of light atoms otherwise photons. The cores of the fiberglass & the cladding have a special refractive index to twist inward light at a particular angle. Whenever light gestures are transmitted through the optical cable, then they do not reflect the cladding & core within a sequence of zigzag bounces, sticking to a method is named as total internal reflection.


An optical fiber is a lengthy, thin thread of plain material. The shape of this cable is similar to a cylinder. The core of this cable is located in the center, and the outside of the core is named as cladding. Here cladding works like a protective layer. These two are made with different types of plastic otherwise glass. So the traveling of light in the core can be very slow then transmits into the cladding.

When the light within the core strikes the border of the cladding in a less than 90oangle, then it bounces off. No light run away until it approaches the fiber end if not, the fiber is twisted sharply or extended. The cladding of the cable can be damaged once it gets scratch. So, a plastic coating like buffer protects the cladding. This buffered fiber can be located in a tough layer, which is known as the jacket. So the fiber can be used easily without damaging it.


Types of Optical Fiber

The classification of optical fiber can be done based on the materials used, refractive index, & mode of propagation light.

The optical fiber cables are classified into two types based on the used materials which include the following.

  • Plastic optical-fiber cables use polymethyl methacrylate can be used as a core material for light transmission.
  • Glass fibers include very excellent glass fibers.

The optical fiber cables are classified into two types based on the refractive index which include the following.

  • A step-index fiber includes a core which is enclosed by the cladding. It includes an only uniform index for refraction.
  • In graded-index fibers, once the refractive index of the cable reduces, then the radial distance will be increased from the fiber axis.

The optical fiber cables are classified into two types based on the mode of propagation light which include the following.

  • Single-mode fibers are mainly used for transmitting signals for long distances.
  • Multimode fibers are mainly used for transmitting signals for short distances.

The four combinations of optical-fibers can be formed by the refractive index as well as the mode of propagation which include step-index single-mode, graded-index single-mode, step-index multimode and graded-index multimode.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of optical fiber include the following.

  • Bandwidth is higher than copper cables
  • Less power loss and allows data transmission for longer distances
  • The optical cable is resistance for electromagnetic interference
  • The size of the fiber cable is 4.5 times better than copper wires and
  • These cables are lighter, thinner, and occupy less area compare with metal wires.
  • Installation is very easy due to less weight.
  • The optical fiber cable is very hard to tap because they don’t produce electromagnetic energy. These cables are very secure while carrying or transmitting data.
  • A fiber optic cable is very flexible, easily bends, and opposes most acidic elements that hit the copper wire.

The disadvantages of optical fiber include the following

  • The optical fiber cables are very difficult to merge & there will be a loss of the beam within the cable while scattering.
  • The Installation of these cables is cost-effective. They are not as robust as the wires. Special test equipment is often required to the optical fiber.
  • Fiber optic cables are compact and highly vulnerable while fitting
  • These cables are more delicate than copper wires.
  • Special devices are needed to check the transmission of fiber cable.

Thus, this is all about an overview of optical fiber. The applications of optical fiber mainly involve transmitting the data in the place of metal cables due to the capacity of high-transmission and data transmission. Nowadays, these cables are used for different purposes in a variety of industries like communications, broadcast, industrial, military, and medical. These cables replace coaxial cables and copper cables. These cables are used in different applications due to their benefits like high speed and bandwidth. Here is a question for you, who invented optical fiber?