Fiber-optic Internet is the transmission of Internet data by light signals that travel on a fiber encased in a cable. The signal is known for being especially strong over large distances, and extremely fast. As such, fiber-optic Internet is quickly becoming a preference for many service providers, as well as businesses that rely on dependable, high-speed Internet usage. The fiber-optic components are sometimes used to bring the service to a general area, but could also be used to directly connect an end user to the Internet.
A cable that includes fiber-optics often has many fibers that are bundled together. These fibers each have a core, a cladding that helps reflect light back into the core, and an outer layer known as a buffer coating to protect it from moisture and other physical problems. The fibers are made of glass, and are responsible for transmitting digital signals made of light from one location to another. While the signal can degrade over great distances, most of the time the fiber-optic network operates within its intended distance parameters adequately.
A true fiber-optic Internet connection is one that goes directly to the home, which is known in the industry as fiber to the home. Traditionally, fiber has only run to the curb, amplifier, or node. In these cases, the final connection to the home was made via a coaxial cable or twisted pair line. This cut down many of the speed benefits of fiber-optic for many individuals, but did provide a stable platform for delivery from the service providers.
Costs, reliability, and speed are all benefits of a fiber-optic Internet connection. Generally, it is cheaper to run fiber-optics than copper lines, which is one reason why the use of fiber-optics in telecommunications has been increasing. The reliability is built into the system because of the strong signal from origin to destination. The speed of a fiber-optic connection is also one of its key selling points.
Many service providers are moving forward with plans to connect more homes with fiber-optic Internet. The service is not available in all markets because of the considerable infrastructure costs involved. As more companies see the value, and attempt to remain competitive in the quality and speed of service offered, fiber-optic Internet is expected to become more widely available to the home and business user alike.