A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. They’re designed for long distance, very high performance data networking and telecommunications.
Compared to wired cables, fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances.
Fiber optic cables support much of the world’s internet, cable television and telephone systems.
Fiber optic cables carry communication signals using pulses of light generated by small lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The cable consists of one or more strands of glass, each only slightly thicker than a human hair. The center of each strand is called the core, which provides the pathway for light to travel. The core is surrounded by a layer of glass called cladding that reflects light inward to avoid loss of signal and allow the light to pass through bends in the cable.
The two primary types of fiber cables are called single mode and multi mode fiber. Single mode fiber uses very thin glass strands and a laser to generate light while multi mode fibers use LEDs.
Single mode fiber networks often use Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) techniques to increase the amount of data traffic that can be sent across the strand. WDM allows light at multiple different wavelengths to be combined (multiplexed) and later separated (de-multiplexed), effectively transmitting multiple communication streams via a single light pulse.