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What is a Fiber Bundle?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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Also known as fiber optic bundles, fiber bundles are groups of optical fibers that are used to carry electronic communication signals from a point of origin to a point of termination. A fiber bundle has the capacity to transmit more inbound and outbound signals simultaneously than any other form of communication available today. In addition, the use of fiber optic technology provides more efficient transmission of the data, delivering a superior quality in voice communications.

The origins of the fiber bundle are traced back to the early years of the 1950s. Experiments undertaken by Narinder Singh Kapany, a physicist, led to the creation of the first glass fibers in 1952. These early fibers had the capability to carry light for distances that were not possible to manage with the common technology of the day. Within a decade, this early design for the optic fiber had been enhanced with a clear cladding that allowed the refractive qualities of the fiber bundle to be magnified. This innovation led to a revolution within the telecommunications industry that in turn led to most major telephone service providers incorporating the use of the bundles into their communication networks.

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While the earliest uses of the fiber bundle were focused on providing mass voice communications over long distances, the visual capacity of the fiber was not overlooked. Research into the use of fiber optics for visual transmissions began as early as 1956. Video conferencing in the last two decades of the 20th century became increasingly efficient due to the use of fiber optics, with both speed and clarity improving incrementally over the years.

As with voice signaling, the modern fiber bundle is capable of transmitting large volumes of visual imaging in a real-time format. This has led to modern online communications that allow for video web conferences that are relatively free of any type of delay in the sync between voice and visual transmissions. The creation of the fiber bundle also led to the change from analog to digital signaling over the years, most recently culminating in the conversion of most television broadcasts around the world to a digital format rather than relying on the older analog signals.

When a fiber bundle is damaged, the effect is almost immediate. Should a portion of the individual fibers in the bundle be cut, the remaining fibers will assume part of the load, but normally are not able to maintain the same level of efficiency. Fortunately, communication providers are usually able to locate and repair a cut fiber quickly, restoring full integrity to the network within as little as thirty minutes.

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