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fiber optics

fiber opticsA technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data. A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.

Fiber optics has several advantages over traditional metal communications lines:

  • Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data.
  • Fiber optic cables are less susceptible than metal cables to interference.
  • Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires.
  • Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically.
  • The main disadvantage of fiber optics is that the cables are expensive to install. In addition, they are more fragile than wire and are difficult to splice.

    Fiber optics is a particularly popular technology for local-area networks. In addition, telephone companies are steadily replacing traditional telephone lines with fiber optic cables. In the future, almost all communications will employ fiber optics.

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