Basic Elements of a Fiber Optic Communication System

Basic Elements of a Fiber Optic Communication System

When are fiber optic communication systems necessary?

If you need to transport large quantities of data (think gigabytes, terabytes and beyond) over a long distance, then the implementation of a fiber optic communication system is not only advised but likely necessary. This is due to the way that fiber optics work, as an almost lossless system that works at high speeds. It's particularly efficient when transmitting data, voice, video or telemetry internationally.

How does a fiber optic communication system work?

Unlike other forms of communication system, this particular set-up transmits signals via light that passes from one point to the other through cables. The sending end emits the light, which travels down the fiber optic cable to be transferred back into electronic data by the receiving party. Additionally, unlike alternative systems such as copper, a fiber optic communication system uses circuitry that both transmits and receives, as well as detector devices and a light source.

A breakdown of the basic fiber optic communication system elements

Fiber optic communication systems are comprised of many different parts. The first major part is the compact light source, which emits the light used to pass data from point to point. These can come in differing forms dependent on needs in terms of range, speed and cost, but in any fiber optic system, the light emitter is key.

A fiber optic system also needs a low-loss optical fiber, to transfer the light. With layers of protection the light, and thus data, lost through transfer is kept to a minimum. This makes fiber optic data transfer reliable while retaining the speed kept from the quick light-based transmissions.

Finally, a photodetector is required to convert the light signals back into electrical charges. A computer can't present light as data, so whilst the rest of the system is good at transferring data the photodetector is vital to allow any computer system actually to present the information.

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