What are Fiber-optic Cables Made of in 2023?

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What is Fiber-optic cable made of

ADSL connections through the copper line are being left behind, giving way to fiber optic connections. 

While electrical signals travel through the copper network, light signals travel through fiber optic cables.

As a result, much higher speeds can be offered at much further distances with minimal loss. 

However, do you know what fiber-optic cables are made of in 2023?

Is Fiber Optic a Copper Cable?

The benefits that these installations create further drive deployment in areas that still do not have coverage since it far exceeds the capacity of its predecessor, copper. 

So, no. Fiber optic cables are not the same as copper cables.

Is Fiber Optic Cable Only Made of Glass?

One or more fiberglass strands reinforce this cable, each fiberglass consists of:

  1. Central fiber core with refractive index.
  2. A shell surrounding the core, of similar material, with a slightly lower refractive index.
  3. A wrap that insulates fibers and prevents interference between adjacent threads while providing core protection. 

Each of them is surrounded by a coating and reinforced to protect the fiber.

But not all of its entirety is made of glass…

Can Fiber Optics Be Plastic?

Yes. There are Plastic Fiber Optic cables. Plastic optical fiber, POF, is a new, cheaper type of optical fiber that guarantees a speed of up to 1 Gbps with a coverage of 50 meters. 

This type of fiber is immune to noise, so we can use it together with electrical cables, and instead of using glass, it has a plastic core, so it is cheaper and more difficult to break.

This type of fiber, although not yet widespread, is a superior solution to glass core fiber types, but only for very short distances, for example in offices and homes.

What are Fiber-optic Cables Made Of?

Optical fiber is a dielectric waveguide that operates at optical frequencies.

Each filament consists of a central core of plastic or glass (zinc silicon oxide) with a high refractive index, surrounded by a layer of similar material with a slightly lower refractive index (plastic). 

When light reaches a surface that borders with a lower refractive index, it is reflected to a large extent, the greater the difference in indexes and the greater the angle of incidence, we speak of total internal reflection.

Inside an optical fiber, light is reflected against the walls at very wide angles, in such a way that it practically advances through its center. In this way, light signals can be guided without loss over long distances.

Also, a fiber cable consists mainly of two parts: the cable and the connector. And each of these parts has its subparts, or components, that give it shape.

Currently, there are 4 types of optical connectors that we can find in FTTH cables.

SC – Acronym for the square connector (in English, Square Connector). It is the most popular connector type. It offers a quick adjustment, is very easy to integrate into all types of network devices, and offers losses of about 0.25 dB.

LC – Follow the small connector (Little Connector). It is smaller than SC and offers a fit similar to RJ-45 cables. It is also more secure since it prevents unwanted disconnections by having a top tab. It offers losses of 0.10 dB.

FC – This connector was one of the first to appear on the market, although it is now almost out of use. In English, Ferrule Connector is a threaded fixing connector that is highly resistant to vibrations. It offers losses of up to 0.3 dB.

ST – This straight-tip connector (Straight Tip) is similar to coaxial cable BNC connectors. It is usually used, above all, in business environments where you want to fix the cables in the best possible way. It offers losses of 0.25 dB.

In addition, each type of connector consists of different parts. For example, the parts that make up an SC-type connector (the most common) are:

  • Protector: the furthest layer that is responsible for protecting the cable to prevent it from bending at the point closest to the connector.

  • Crimping ring: a ring, usually made of aluminum or metal, that we must crimp to fix the cable.

  • The inner body of the connector: the part that goes into the inner part of the connector and serves as a union between the cable, the crimp ring, and the external parts.

  • Ferrule: a ceramic point where the glass or plastic core of the optical fiber ends.

  • Connector body: external part of the connector that separates the internal elements. It is in charge of hooking the connector.

  • Protective cap: protects the fiber core.

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