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Optical Fiber Communication

Optical Fiber Communication

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Published by: kodalianilkumar on Sep 25, 2008
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12/07/2012

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Optical Fiber CommunicationOverview:
An
optical fiber
is a glass or plastic fiber designed to guidelightalong itslength bytotal internal reflection.
Fiber optics
is the branch of applied scienceandengineeringconcerned with such optical fibers. Optical fibers are widely used infiber-optic communication, which permits digital data transmission over longer distancesand at higher data rates than electronic communication. They are also used to formsensors, and in a variety of other applications.
The operating principle of optical fibers
applies to a number of variantsincludingsingle-mode optical fibers,graded-index opticalfiber, andstep-index optical  fibers. Because of the physics of the optical fiber, special methods of splicing fibersand of connecting them to other equipment are needed. A variety of methods areused to manufacture optical fibers, and the fibers are also built into different kinds of cablesdepending on how they will be used.
History
The light-guiding principle behind optical fibers was first demonstrated inVictorian times, but modern optical fibers were only developed beginning in the1950's. Optical fiber was developed in
1970
byCorning Glass Workswithattenuation low enough for communication purposes (about 20dB
 
 /km), and at thesame time GaAssemiconductor laserswere developed that were compact andtherefore suitable for fiber-optic communication systems.After a period of intensive research from 1975 to 1980,
the first commercialfiber-optic communication system
was developed, which operated at awavelength around 0.8µmand used GaAs semiconductor lasers. This “firstgeneration” system operated at a bit rate of 45 Mb/s withrepeaterspacing of up to10km.
The “second generation”
of fiber-optic communication was developed forcommercial use in the early 1980’s, operated at 1.3µm, and used InGaAsPsemiconductor lasers.
Third-generation fiber-optic systems
operated at 1.55µmand had loss of about 0.2-dB
 
 /km. They achieved this despite earlier difficulties withpulse-spreading  at that wavelength using conventional InGaAsP semiconductor lasers.
The fourth generation of fiber-optic
 
communication systems
usedoptical amplificationto reduce the need forrepeatersandwavelength-division multiplexing  to increasefiber capacity.The focus of development for the
fifth generation of fiber-opticcommunications
is on extending the wavelength range over which a WDM systemcan operate.In the late 1990s through2000, the fiber optic communication industry becameassociated with thedot-com bubble. Industry promoters and research companiessuch as KMI and RHK predicted vast increases in demand for communicationsbandwidth due to increased use of theInternet.
 
Types of optical fiber:
SINGLE-MODE FIBER 
has a narrow core (eight microns or less), and the index of refraction between the core and thecladding changes less than it does formultimode fibers. Light thus travelsparallel to the axis, creating littlepulse dispersion. Telephone and cabletelevision networks install millions of kilometers of this fiber every year. 
STEP-INDEX MULTIMODE FIBER 
has a large core, up to 100 microns in diameter. As a result, some of the light raysthat make up the digital pulse may travel a direct route, whereas others zigzag asthey bounce off the cladding. These alternative pathways cause the differentgroupings of light rays, referred to as modes,to arrive separately at a receiving point. Thepulse, an aggregate of different modes,begins to spread out, losing its well-definedshape. The need to leave spacing betweenpulses to prevent overlapping limitsbandwidth that is, the amount of informationthat can be sent. Consequently, this type of fiber is best suited for transmission overshort distances, in an endoscope, for instance.
GRADED-INDEX MULTIMODE FIBER 
contains a core in which the refractive indexdiminishes gradually from the center axis out toward the cladding. The higher refractiveindex at the center makes the lightrays moving down the axisadvance more slowly than thosenear the cladding. Also, rather than zigzagging off the cladding,light in the core curves helically because of the graded index,reducing its travel distance. The shortened path and the higher speed allow light at the periphery to arrive at a receiver at about the same time as the slow but straight rays in thecore axis. The result: a digital pulse suffers less dispersion.
BASIC CABLE DESIGN
Two basic cable designs are:
1- Loose-Tube Cable:
Loose-tube cable, used in the majority of outside-plan installations in NorthAmerica, and tight-buffered cable, primarily used inside buildings.The modular design of loose-tubecables typically holds up to 12 fibersper buffer tube with a maximum percable fiber count of more than 200fibers. Loose-tube cables can be all-dielectric or optionally armored. In aloose-tube cable design, color-codedplastic buffer tubes house andprotect optical fibers. A gel fillingcompound impedes waterpenetration. Excess fiber length(relative to buffer tube length)insulates fibers from stresses of installation and environmental loading. Buffer tubesare stranded around a dielectric or steel central member, which serves as an anti-buckling element.The cable core typically uses aramid yarn, as the primary tensile strengthmember. The outer polyethylene jacket is extruded over the core. If armoring is
 
required, a corrugated steel tape is formed around a single jacketed cable with anadditional jacket extruded over the armor.
2-Tight-Buffered Cable
With tight-buffered cable designs, the buffering material is in direct contact with thefiber. This design is suited for "jumper cables"which connect outside plant cables to terminalequipment, and also for linking variousdevices in a premises network.
Multi-fiber, tight-buffered
cables oftenare used for intra-building, risers, generalbuilding and plenum applications.The tight-buffered design provides arugged cable structure to protect individualfibers during handling, routing and connectorization. Yarn strength members keepthe tensile load away from the fiber.
Communication Applications
Fiber-optic cable is used by many telecommunications companies to transmittelephone signals, internet communication, and cable television signals, sometimesall on the sameoptical fiber.
Communication System Using Optical Fiber
Modern fiber-optic communication systems generally include an opticaltransmitter to convert an electrical signal into an optical signal to send into theoptical fiber, a fiber-optic cable routed through underground conduits and buildings,multiple kinds of amplifiers, and an optical receiver to recover the signal as anelectrical signal.
Components of the Transmission System:Transmitters:
The most commonly used optical transmitters are
semiconductor
devices such as
(LEDs) and
. The differencebetween LEDs and laser diodes is that LEDs produceincoherent light, while laserdiodes producecoherent light. Semiconductor optical transmitters are compact,efficient, and reliable, operate in an optimal wavelength range, and can be directlymodulated at high frequencies, making them well-suited for fiber-opticcommunication applications.

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