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Wednesday, 6 December 2023 12:00

Range and speed of Fiber Optic Transmission

Factors that affect speed and range of the fiber optics transmission include attenuation, dispersion, amplification, and transmission technology. 

Fiber optics transmission is a data transfer method that uses fiber optic as a medium to transmit an optic signal. Fiber optic is made from glass or plastic that has an ability to deliver light efficiently.
In the fiber optic transmission, the data signal is converted into the optic signal using the source light such as laser or LED. This light then sends through the fiber optic by reflecting the light internally with the total reflection principle. The optical signals contained in this light can contain digital information that represents data.

The main advantages of fiber optic transmission are high transmission capacity and speed. Fiber optics can transmit data at gigabit to terabit per second speeds, far exceeding the transmission capacity of traditional copper cables. In addition, the transmission distance that can be achieved by optical fiber can reach thousands of kilometers without requiring signal amplification.

Fiber optic transmission also has high reliability because optical fiber is not affected by electromagnetic interference or electrical interference. This makes it an excellent choice for telecommunication network applications, internet, long distance communication systems and other industrial sectors.
Overall, the fiber optic transmission has revolutionized the way we access and send the data with high speed and reliability, enabling the technology growth and better global connectivity.

What is the Range and Speed of Fiber Optic Transmission?

The speed and range of fiber optic transmission depends on the factors such as types of fiber optic cable used, the network infrastructure, and applied transmission technology. In general, fiber optic can transmit the data with higher speed and long range.

In the modern telecommunication network, the speed of fiber optic transmission can reach dozens to hundreds gigabyte per second (Gbps), even higher. In some cases, the speed terabyte per seconds (Tbps) can also be reached by advanced technology such as Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) or Coherent Optical Communications. 

On the other hand, the transmission range of the fiber optic can reach thousands of kilometers without requiring signal amplification. However, the reached range can also be affected by the factors such as signal attenuation, type of cables, and physical environmental conditions.

The Factors that affect the speed and range of fiber optic transmission.

There are some factors that affect the speed and range of fiber optics transmission. In the practical implementation, combinations from these factors need to be considered carefully to ensure optimal range and speed of the fiber optics transmission. Here are some main factors:

1. Types of fiber optics cable

Some of the fiber optic cables have different characteristics, such as single-mode fiber (SMF) and multi-mode fiber (MMF). SMF usually has a longer transmission range than MMF. Many factors that can affect the range and speed transmission in this type of fiber optic cables. For example, the optic characteristics such as the quality and cable type, fiber optic connector, and the integration techniques that are used in the cable installation. All play a role in determining transmission performance. Transmission speed can also be affected by the transmission technology used, such as DWDM or Coherent Optical Communications.

2. Attenuation

Factors that influence the range and speed of fiber optic transmission, one of which is attenuation. Attenuation is a phenomenon in which the strength of an optical signal weakens as the signal traverses an optical fiber. The lower the attenuation, the farther the transmission distance can be achieved.
The quality of the optical fiber itself can affect the attenuation level. Optical fibers with dirt or physical defects can cause increased signal attenuation. Therefore, the use of high quality optical fiber with low attenuation is very important to support longer transmission range.

3. Dispersion

Dispersion is a phenomenon in which light pulses are distorted as they traverse an optical fiber, limiting transmission speed and range. Dispersion can occur in the form of modal dispersion in MMF or chromatic dispersion in SMF. Cables with low dispersion characteristics can support higher transmission speeds and range.

To minimize the impact of dispersion, optical fibers can be designed with characteristics that reduce this phenomenon, such as selecting optical fibers with an appropriate refractive index or using dispersion compensation techniques such as fiber Bragg grating (FBG) or dispersion-compensating fiber (DCF). By reducing dispersion, transmission speeds and range in fiber optic systems can be increased, enabling faster data transfers and longer transmission range.

4. Amplification Power

Factors that influence the range and speed of fiber optic transmission also include signal amplification. Amplification is necessary to compensate for the attenuation that occurs as a signal traverses an optical fiber and expands the transmission distance possible.

One of the commonly used fiber optic amplifier devices is the Erbium-Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA). EDFA works by utilizing optical fibers that contain erbium ions which can provide reinforcement to the optical signal that is passed through the fiber. When an optical signal passes through an EDFA, energy from an amplifier source (usually a laser diode) is injected into the optical fiber, and erbium ions in this fiber provide amplification to the signal.

5. Transmission Technology

The utilization of transmission technology such as Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), Coherent Optical Communications, or Optical Time-Domain Reflectometry (OTDR) can upgrade the capacity and the speed of fiber optic transmission.

By adopting advanced and effective transmission technology, the speed and distance of transmission in the fiber optic system can be improved significantly. The utilization of DWDM, coherent optical communications, FEC, and amplification technology of fiber optic can be an essential factor in ensuring optimal performance inside fiber optic transmission.

6. The physical environment

Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, pressures, and vibration can affect the performance of fiber optic and limit the transmission speed and range. In designing and building the fiber optic system, it’s important to consider the environmental factors and take the right steps to maintain the stabilization of the environment and be compatible with the fiber optic specification. This will help in minimizing the environmental distraction and maintain optimal performance of the fiber optic within desired speed and range.

Read also: 5 Important Fiber Optic Components and Their Functions