Fiber optic networking is a technology used to transmit information in pulses of light over long distances along glass or plastic fibers. Fiber optic applications have been shown to be more advantageous than the traditional usage of metallic wires. It provides high speed, high bandwidth, high reliability, high security, low latency, long-distance transmission, and good electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Since their introduction to the market, fiber optic networks are widely applied in various industries.
Application of Optical Fiber Networks in Various Industries
Optical fiber networks applied in various industries provide higher performance than copper cables, allowing long-distance transmission, high transmission rate, high reliability, high bandwidth, high temperature resistance, anti-electromagnetic interference, low attenuation, and thinner and lighter. Fiber-optic networks cover a wide range of applications in industries, let’s see in detail.
The implementation of fiber optic networks enables people to establish connections more quickly in both long-distance and short-distance environments. The fiber optic network emits a strong signal continuously to ensure clear communication throughout the connection. The telecommunications industry uses fiber optic networks to transmit telephone signals. Applications in this industry include the Internet, CATV, HDTV, video on demand, and others. Optical fibre facilitates domestic and international phone calls, which is a considerable benefit. The usage of fiber optic connectivity enables rapid connection and uninterrupted, crystal-clear discussions with no lag time. In recent years, the usage of optical fibre cables for transmitting and receiving communications has increased dramatically. Their enhanced speed and bandwidth make them ideal for transmitting HDTV signals (high-definition television set). Compared to conventional copper wire, the cost-effectiveness of fiber optic cable is another significant benefit.
- Computer Network
One of the most significant applications of optical fibre is as a “medium” for computer networking. This is because it is flexible and can be readily joined into wires. Computers connected using high-speed fiber-optic networks make it easier to transfer data. This can effectively save time and improve overall office efficiency, and anyone who uses a computer does not need to spend too much time waiting for critical data transmission. For example, modern stock exchanges rely heavily on the fiber-optic cables used in their computer networks because they need to transmit large amounts of critical data in the shortest possible time.
Fiber optic networks are used in the automation industry to provide highly reliable network equipment that will not fail, thereby maintaining production revenue and worker safety. It also provides effective solutions to common industry problems such as electrical noise, temperature fluctuations, high vibrations, chemical spills and cable bending.
- Smart Sensing
Fiber optics are being used for sensors. Using sophisticated techniques, fiber can be made into microphones, electrical (voltage and current) sensors, chemical detectors and intrusion systems for perimeter protection. Fibers can even be embedded in concrete structures such as bridges or buildings to monitor stress and detect internal cracks. The supposed benefit of optic fiber sensors is no electrical power to the sensor, a long offset distance to the sensor, complete electrical isolation, freedom from electrical interference of any kind, and wide temperature range.
Optical fiber networks are used in the transportation industry to monitor and control system communications for railways, subways, highways, waterways, automobiles and aerospace. It also improves overall safety by providing real-time data control and traffic monitoring equipment with increased bandwidth. Several new fiber optic networks using plastic optical fiber (POF) have been adopted by automotive manufacturers. In 2014, almost 5 million devices where connected with POF were installed in vehicles. Nondestructive testing also uses endoscopes to visually inspect hard-to-reach areas such as the inside of engine cylinders, pipes or even sailboat masts. You may have encountered this when working around engines, pipelines or pumps.
- Energy and Utilities
Fiber optic networks play an important role in energy and utilities to expand renewable energy (wind, solar), fossil energy (oil, gas), nuclear energy, power transmission (HVDC utilities, onshore and offshore high voltage facilities), etc. Alternative energy and power distribution (substations, switchgear, smart grid). Additionally, the fiber optic network facilitates hotspot detection and location as well as ampacity (real-time thermal rating).
- Oil and Gas
In the oil and gas industry, fiber optic networks provide more bandwidth in a smaller footprint, saving space, weight and installation time. Additionally, it aids in the detection of material fatigue, oil reservoirs, leaks and blockages in flow lines, and hot oil recovery.
Maintaining communication in the harsh mining environment is extremely important for workers. Optical fiber networks help to improve the reliability and security of communication in harsh mining environments. At the same time, the optical fiber network can also provide high-speed data, low latency, anti-interference, waterproof, flexibility, process control and real-time monitoring of conveyor belts for the mining industry.
In addition to providing the function of temperature sensing in the military industry, the optical fiber network will also use the optical fiber network as a means of communication and signal transmission. Commonly used on aircraft and submarines to help improve the response time between command input and vehicle response.
- Smart City
As the construction and layout of urban areas become more and more complex, the demand for smart systems in cities is gradually increasing. To help public administration and improve people’s quality of life, smarter solutions are needed. In smart cities, fiber optic networks extend FTTH and are used for services such as school interconnection, hospitals, traffic light systems, public safety systems (civil defense, firefighters, police), etc. Fiber optic networks provide smart cities with the communication and networking infrastructure to transmit large amounts of data to cloud systems.
- Smart Lightening
Fiber optic lighting has many advantages over conventional lighting that often justify its higher cost. Probably the most obvious application is lighting swimming pools and fountains. Because fiber acts as both a light pipe and an insulator, the actual light source can be remotely installed, well away from the water, removing any hazard of electrical shock. Individual fibers can be filtered for spectacular color effects. In museums, it is used as a source of “cold” light to protect delicate artwork. Fiber optic lighting is easily directed and focused, allowing even small objects to be brilliantly lit. Since the light source is remote so is the heat, and the source can be filtered to produce pleasing light that is not harmful to the valuable item being lit.
Fiber optic networks are used in various medical tools. It allows nonsurgical viewing of the internal human body for diagnosis. Using bundles of fibers, some of which transmit light into the body and others that capture an image for viewing, endoscopes have become one of medicine’s everyday tools.
Many industries have profited from the use of optical fiber networks. Optical fiber network has a tremendous capacity for transmitting data at a rapid rate. Its versatility, precision, and speed make it excellent for performing, testing, and researching in the majority of sectors.