Fiber Optic

The Beginner’s Guide to Optical Fiber Infrastructure

The Beginner’s Guide to Optical Fiber Infrastructure

4 December 2014 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

What, how and why you need to know about Optical Fiber:

In the world of IP convergence, the need to support more applications, coverage and capacity will continue to put demands on your infrastructure selection.

One technology in particular is common in catering for these trends, that of optical fiber. As the network requirements in both the wired and wireless world fuel the need for high reliability, low delay, high bandwidth and extended distances, fiber optic solutions reach deeper and deeper into the network.

What is Optical Fiber?

For those that only know ‘fiber’ possibly as a marketing term to sell you the latest broadband service, an optical fiber is a solid strand of glass as thin as a human hair. It is designed to carry information, using pulses of light emitted by a light source (LED or Laser). There are increasingly compelling reasons to use optical fiber.

Why do I need to know about Optical Fiber Infrastructure?

Increased bandwidth allows fiber to deliver data rates spanning across the full range from kilobits to megabits to multiple gigabits per second. No other media provides the same cable plant longevity. Installing fiber today will support your network infrastructure needs far into the future.

How is optical fiber used?

Optical fiber provides broad applications coverage. Fiber is a media to support virtually all applications, from Enterprise LAN to Service Provider WAN, from Data Centers to Head Ends, from Broadband FTTx to Cellular Wireless networks. Products are available for a large variety of environments.

Historically, fiber technology had the image of being difficult to deploy and install but advances in fiber components now provide easy installation. Advances in connector and fiber coating technologies have dramatically reduced fiber termination time.

Fiber Connectivity Solutions are available that are optimized for the computer room or data center; an aerial or underground run between building; a run through high temperature; or a run through a rodent infested or corrosive environments. Usually a few key issues guide the choice including the intended applications, distance, data (baud) rate, and the difficulty and expense of retrofitting at a later time.

What are the Enterprise Network Preferences?

Multimode fiber has the capability to meet both the distance and data rate demands of most LAN networks today. Generally, multimode systems cost less than singlemode systems, since the optoelectronics that can be used with multimode fiber are less costly than those used with singlemode fiber.

What are the Broadband and Wireless Network Preferences?

In contrast to enterprise networks, singlemode fiber is virtually the only fiber used by wireless and cable television companies. These industries require the long distance capability and high information carrying capacity of singlemode fiber. The advent of RFoG (Radio Frequency over Glass) technologies means fiber optic infrastructures are becoming common place for feeds to base station antenna, deployments of active DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) and FTTx deployments.

Fiber and the future

It is certainly a really exciting time for fiber optic solutions. I certainly look forward to fiber optic infrastructure solutions addressing all aspects of technology from service providers to enterprises, from data centers to Fiber-to-the-location (FTTx).

In recognition of increasing importance of fiber optics, the CommScope Infrastructure Academy introduced a new online certification training resource – the SP4420 Fiber Optic Infrastructure Specialist course.

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