A Brief History of Fiber Optic Communication
Fiber optic communication is not new – it was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1880 for the Photophone. The photophone carried sound on a beam of light. The Photophone didn’t catch on because it didn’t work when it was cloudy. Here is a bit more on the history of fiber optic communication as itstarted to become more practical.
In 1975 Corning Glass invented the first viable fiber optic cable. Fast forward and starting in about 2000 companies began building massive fiber optic infrastructure. The first step was to use the fiber for major backbone traffic. The advantages of longer distances without degradation and the size of the fiber compared to copper were major factors. According to Mary Bellis on About.com more than 80% of long distance calls are carried in some part over fiber today.
The Modern History of Fiber Optic and Dark Fiber
As these networks were built, companies installed extra fiber to account for future growth. Often called “dark fiber” because it was not actively being used and was not “lite up”, dark fiber provides the opportunity for the larger companies to lease these same lines they use to other companies. This has resulted in a large number of companies offering fiber optic communication and over the past 10 years has resulted in a decrease in the overall costs.
According to National Geographic there are approximately 35 Million miles of fiber in place in America, and approximately 90 percent of that is dark. Communication companies long ago saw the need for increased bandwidth and they have built infrastructure to support it. Companies like NetFlix and Amazon delivering videos on demand consume mass quantities of bandwidth, and the need for corporate videos and so many other high volume data uses continues to grow.
AT&T delivers their U-Verse service using Fiber to the Node (FTTN) which means they run fiber through the streets to the neighborhood node and then distribute from there to the home via coaxial cables. The next step is Fiber to the Home (FTTH) which utilizes fiber optic cabling to go all the way to the home.
In business its referred to as Fiber to the Office or Outlet (FTTO). This end to end fiber can also be deployed as a dedicated connection or a shared connection. In all cases the advantages of fiber over copper wires are staggering. Reduced electronic interference, reduced signal degradation over distance, and a more durable physical product not subject to degradatioin over time. When you add it all up, you get 10 times the bandwidth in a more reliable delivery system at comparable prices it seems like fiber optic communication’s time has come!
Now that you know a little bit about the history of fiber optic communication, how can we help you make it part of your future? Be sure to click here to find out how LightMyFIBER can help you with an end to end fiber connection.