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By :

Subash Chandra Samal


SDE, RTTC, Bhubaneswar.

Introduction :
Communications using light is very old process.
In old days they used hand, smoke, fire signals for
conveying messages.
An optical telegraph was built by Claude Chappe in
1790s in France.
In 1870, John Tyndall demonstrated the principle of
guiding light through internal reflections.
In 1880, Alexander Graham Bell invented the photophone, which used unguided light to carry speech.

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Simple optical communication systems such as blinker


lights for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore links,
automobile turn signals and traffic lights used lamps.
All the optical systems described above have low
information capacities and their range of working is
limited in distance.

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With the invention of laser in 1960, high capacity optical


communications was achieved. (It was a Major
breakthrough)
In 1966, Charles K.Kao at Standard Telecommunications
Laboratories, England fabricated a low loss glass fibre
giving a loss of 1000 dB/Km.
Such a fibre could transmit light for a short distance only.
But Kao suggested that purer glass materials would
permit the use of fibre for longer transmission lengths.

Kao had shown that it would be possible to transmit light


signals over long distance using glass fibre and
modulated infra-red light.
In 1970 Corning glass works, USA developed a low loss
fibre giving a loss of 20 dB/Km. (It was second
breakthrough)
By 1972, losses were reduced to 4 dB/Km. Today the best
fibers have a loss of < 0.2 dB/Km.

A basic communications system consisting of a transmitter,


a receiver and an information channel is shown in figure.

TX

MEDIUM

RX

The transmitter generates the messages and converts it


into a form suitable for transmission.
The information travels from the transmitter to receiver over
the information channel.

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Here are basically two types of information channel


1. Unguided channels
2. Guided channels
Atmosphere is an unguided type of channel over which
waves can propagate.
Guided channels are those which guide the
electromagnetic waves through them.
Two wire lines, coaxial cable and waveguide are the
examples of Guided Information channels.
Guided channels have the advantages of privacy, no
weather dependence, and the ability to convey
messages.
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Fiber is a guided line.


An optical fiber is a thin strand of glass or plastic serving
as the transmission medium over which the information
passes.
The basic fiber-optic system is a link connecting optical
transmitter and receiver.

TRANSMITTER

DRIVER

SOURCE

RECEIVER

FIBER

DETECTOR

REG

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FIBRE OPTICS :
Optical Fiber is new medium, in which information (voice,
Data or Video) is transmitted through a glass or plastic
fiber, in the form of light, following the transmission
sequence given below :
Information is encoded into electrical signals.
Electrical signals are converted into light signals.
Light travels down the fiber.
A detector changes the light signals into electrical
signals.
Electrical signals are decoded into information.

Transmitter :
It converts an electrical signal into a light signal.
The source is either a light-emitting diode or laser
diode which does the actual conversion.
The drive circuitry changes the electrical signal fed to
the transmitter into a form suitable for the source.

Fiber-Optic Cable :
It is the medium for carrying the light.
The cable includes the fibers and its protective coverings.

Receiver :
It accepts light and converts it back into an electrical signal
by photo detector.
The generator amplifies, reshapes the signal before
passing it on.

The name associated with various regions are shown in


above table.
Frequency and wavelength are related by f = c / , where
c=3 x 10 8 m/s.
The range of frequencies or wavelengths that interests us
in the visible region extend from o.4 micrometer to 0.7
micrometer.
The visible range is not suitable for light transmission
through glass fiber.
In this range, the waves are attenuated to such an extent
that only short transmission links are possible.
Losses in the ultraviolet region are even greater.
It is the infra-red region from 0.8 micrometer to 1.6
micrometer which is used for fiber optic transmission.

Advantages of Fibers :
Wide Bandwidth:
The information carrying capacity which increases
with the bandwidth of the transmission medium, is very
large in fibers.
The bandwidth available on a pair of single mode
fibers is in the order of several GHz.
Thus, thousands of circuits can be carried on the
fibers whether the information is voice, data or video or
a combination of these.

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Low Loss :
Bandwidth is an effective indication of the rate at
which information can be sent.
Loss indicates how far the information can be sent.
As a signal travels along a transmission path, be it
copper or fiber, the signal loses strength.
This loss of strength is known as attenuation.
In a copper cable, attenuation increases with the
modulation frequency : the higher the frequency of
the information signal, the greater is the loss.
In an optical fiber, attenuation is flat : loss is the
same at any signaling frequency until a very high
frequency.
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Severe attenuation requires repeaters at intermediate


points in the transmission path.
For copper cable repeater spacing, in general,
decreases as operating speed increases.
For fibers, the opposite is true; repeater spacing
increases along with operating speeds, because at high
data rates very efficient , low-loss fibers are used.
Low loss of fibers permits repeaters at long intervals
leading to fewer intermediate repeaters.
Fewer repeaters means less costly systems.

Electromagnetic Immunity :
Optic fibers, glass or plastic are insulators.
No electric current flows through them, either due to the
transmitted signal or due to external radiation striking the
fiber.
For these reasons, fibers do not radiate or pick-up
electromagnetic radiation as in copper cable.
Any copper conductor acts like an antenna, either
transmitting or receiving energy.
Since fibers do not radiate or receive electromagnetic
energy, they make an ideal transmission medium.
Fibers offer very high standards in error free transmission.

Small size :
Fibers are hair thin in size.
Fibers covered with protective coverings are still smaller
than the equivalent copper conductor.
A 125 micrometer diameter optical fiber in a jacket of 0.7
cm in diameter, can replace a 3 inches bundle of 300
pairs of copper wire.
The small size of fiber optic cable makes them attractive
for applications.

Light Weight :
A glass fiber weighs considerably less than a copper
conductor.
A fiber-optic cable with the same information carrying as
a copper cable weighs less than the copper cable.
A typical single-conductor fiber-optic cable weighs 14
Kg/Km.
A comparable coaxial weighs nine times as much, about
120 Kg/Km.

Greater Safety :
Fiber does not carry electricity.
If the cable is damaged, it does not present any spark or
fire hazard, so it cannot cause explosions or fires as a
faulty copper cable can.
Moreover, it does not attract lightning.
The fiber-optic cable can be run through hazardous
areas.
It is possible to run a fiber directly through a fuel tank.

Higher Security :
Fiber optics is a highly secure transmission medium,
because the fibers do not radiate energy that can be
received by a nearby antenna without getting detected.
It is also extremely difficult to tap a fiber.

Optical Fiber Cable :


An optical fiber consists of a core of optically transparent
material usually silica or borosilicate glass surrounded
by a cladding of the same material but a slightly lower
refractive index .
The surrounding cladding provides difference in
refractive index that allows total internal reflection of
light through the core.
The index of the cladding is less than 1% lower than
that of the core.
Typical value of refractive index of core is between 1.48
to 1.5 and the index of cladding is between 1.46 to 1.48.

Light injected into the fiber and striking core to cladding


interface at greater than the critical angle, reflects back
into core, since the angle of incident and reflection are
equal, the reflected light will again be reflected. .
The light will continue zigzagging down the length of the
fiber.
Fiber size are usually expressed by first the core size
followed by the cladding size e.g 50/125.
The diameters of the core and cladding are as follows :
Core (m)

Cladding (m)

125

50

125

62.5

125

100

140

Electromagnetic Spectrum :
Light is an electromagnetic wave having a very high
oscillation frequency.
The frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum are
given below :

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Wavelength

Designation

Transmission Media
Media

10-6 m

Ultraviolet
Visible

Application

Frequency

Telephone Data , Video

1015 Hz

Wave
Laser beam

Optical Fiber

Infrared

Millimeter wave
1 cm

Super High
Frequency (SHF)

10 cm

Ultra High
Frequency (UHF)

1m

Very High
Frequency (VHF)

10 m

High Frequency
(HF)

100 m

Medium Frequency
(MF)

1 Km

Low Frequency
(LF)

10 Km

Very Low
Frequency (VLF)

100 Km

Audio

1014 Hz

Waveguide
Microwave radio

Coaxial cable

Business
Amateur radio
International
Citizens band

10 KHz
Wire pair

Navigation
Satellite-to-satellite
Microwave relay
Earth-to-satellite Radar

100 GHz
10 GHz
1 GHz

UHF TV
Mobile, Aeronautical
VHF TV and FM
Mobile radio

100 MHz

10 MHz

10 MHz

AM broadcasting

1 MHz

Aeronautical
Submarine cable
Navigation
Transoceanic radio

100 KHz

Telephone Telegraph

1 KHz

10 KHz

Optical Transmitters :
In optical line systems we need light sources in the infrared spectrum part.
The wavelengths used are in one of the following
windows of optical fibers, i.e. 850nm, 1300nm, 1550nm
Only 2 semiconductor devices approach for ideal source
for fiber optic communication :
Light Emitting Diode (LED)
Semiconductor LASER (Light Amplification by
Stimulated Emission of Radiation)