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Tag Archive: optical fiber

  1. When Optical Fiber Arrives

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    Using optical fiber networks, people can access and share information at an amazing level. They can communicate, work and learn from virtually anywhere there’s an Internet connection. For people in rural communities that lack wireless or broadband services, their ability to obtain information is clearly unequal. Even getting a signal for a cellphone or laptop can mean driving miles to a more populated area. Life is much easier with an available high-speed optical fiber network.

     

    Leveling the Playing Field

    Implementing optical fiber helps to “level the playing field” by providing more equal access to information and opportunities for rural residents. In reality, optical fiber and wireless services can transform rural communities.

     

    When optical fiber arrives, one obvious plus is being able to access a cell signal from home. That wireless service requires optical fiber, which acts as the nervous system of a network. Fiber to the Tower and Fiber to the Building lay the actual groundwork for wireless communications including LTE and 4G, and soon to come 5G. The benefits of this connectivity can be seen in three distinct areas as follows.

     

    Rural Healthcare

    Digital revolution through high-speed optical fiber Internet helps medical facilities provide better treatment for patients in rural areas in a number of ways, including:

    • Physicians can search files, consult with specialists and use remote diagnostics and alternative healthcare delivery methods;
    • Healthcare professionals may use connected devices to directly monitor and care for patients;
    • Patients practice “self-care” by accessing health-related information on the Internet.

    Education

    Teachers need optical fiber connectivity for video lectures and e-learning that can be widely shared. Students also need access to home Internet to complete homework and expand their learning. Colleges and universities require high-speed optical fiber Internet access to stay competitive and ensure their degree programs stay relevant.

     

    Growth in Rural Communities

    With 25% of rural residents lacking Internet access, fiber optic infrastructure build-outs are still needed. More people move into rural areas when they can maintain their standard of living. When optical fiber connectivity is optimal, existing or new businesses can reach and attract highly-qualified employees no matter where they live.

     

    In rural areas where high-speed Internet is available, even small businesses and farms can benefit. The Internet of Things (IoT), another product of this digital revolution, makes Smart Farming possible. By applying sensing technologies through Smart Farming, farmers can practice more precise and scientific agriculture that results in increasingly bountiful, high-quality harvests.

  2. Need Premises Fiber Optic Cable? Go Small and Dense!

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    When you need a fiber-dense yet compact cabling solution for high-bandwidth, high-density applications, look to the R-Pack™ Rollable Ribbon (RR) Backbone Fiber Optic Cable. As the newest member of our award-winning Premises Rollable Ribbon cable portfolio, this cable marks a key step forward in premises building cable innovation.

     

    Doubling the Density

    Combining plenum-rated materials with OFS rollable ribbons creates a very compact, yet robust and fiber-dense cable. By featuring rollable ribbons, the latest OFS optical fiber technology, the R-Pack RR Backbone Cable offers twice the fiber density when compared to a traditional flat ribbon premises cable. The result is a reduced diameter, fiber-dense cable that helps customers to substantially improve fiber routing and save on space in congested pathways.

     

    What are Rollable Ribbons?

    To form rollable ribbons, 250 micron fibers are partially bonded to each other at intermittent points. Rollable ribbon cables offer the advantages of both loose fibers and traditional flat fiber ribbons in one fiber optic cable. These ribbons can be rolled and routed similarly to individual bare fibers and can also be spliced like traditional fiber ribbons.  Rollable ribbons promote efficient and cost-effective mass fusion splicing while also offering easy breakout of individual fibers. These capabilities can help simplify cable installation, save on splicing time and costs and get a new data center or building deployment up and running quickly.

     

    Versatile Cable

    While the R-Pack RR Backbone Cable meets stringent Telcordia GR-409 standards for horizontal backbone applications, its plenum construction also meets NFPA 202 requirements for use in a number of demanding building applications, such as routing through ladder racking and raceways.  This fiber optic cable can also be used in numerous other application spaces or even to construct assemblies.

     

    Featuring 24, 48 or 72 optical fibers in a versatile design, the R-Pack RR Backbone Fiber Optic Cable is a natural choice for use in Data Centers, Central Offices and Fiber-to-the-Business applications.

     

  3. The Incredible Shrinking, Double-Density Fiber Optic Cable

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    As everyone uses more bandwidth than ever before, today’s networks require more optical fiber in less space. To help address this need, OFS introduced Fortex™ 2DT Fiber Optic Cable, the newest addition to the completely gel-free Fortex DT Cable product line.

     

    Fiber Optic Cable: Getting Smaller and More Dense

    Fortex 2DT Cable is the industry’s first fully Telcordia GR-20-rated, totally gel-free, loose tube fiber optic cable to feature 200 micron (µm) optical fiber. This fiber literally doubles the fiber count in the cable buffer tubes, significantly increasing fiber density. And, by using AllWave®+ 200 Micron ZWP Single-Mode Fiber, this fiber optic cable also offers more efficient use of network pathways.

     

    Just as importantly, the Fortex 2DT Cable design reduces cable outer diameters by up to 18% and areas by up to 32%. This smaller outer cable diameter increases the efficient use of duct and subducts. Plus, cables with reduced outer diameters allow longer continuous cable reel lengths, which can result in fewer splices needed. In a deployment over long distances, less splicing can help create substantial cost savings.

     

    Lighter is Better

    The Fortex 2DT Cable is also lighter in weight. This lower weight can help to reduce cable pulling tensions which can increase cable pulling lengths. These increased pulling lengths can, in turn, help to save on installation time and costs. For aerial deployments, a lighter-weight cable can also decrease the loads on poles.

     

    A Fiber Optic Cable Design for Your Application

    The Fortex 2DT Cable product line features single jacket, light armor and armored cable options. These cables are available with up to 288 fibers in Telcordia GR-20 Issue 4 compliant cable designs. While the single jacket cable is an excellent choice for duct, lashed aerial and general outside plant (OSP) installations, the light armor and armored cables feature a layer of rugged electrolytically chrome-coated steel (ECCS) armor. The armored cable also includes an inner polyethylene (PE) jacket. With these added features, the light armor and armored cables offer extra durable crush resistance for more demanding OSP applications, including direct buried in challenging environments.

     

    >> View our complete line of Fiber Optic Cable

     

  4. Choosing the “Right” Optical Fiber – Single-Mode or Multimode?

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    A huge increase in digital devices, cloud computing and web services have helped fuel the tremendous demand for increased bandwidth while also pushing datacom rates to 100G and beyond. With these faster speeds and greater use, system designers might assume that single-mode optical fiber holds a growing advantage over multimode optical fiber for premises applications. However, it’s critical to remember that increased Ethernet speeds don’t necessarily mean that single-mode fiber is the best choice.

    While it’s true that single-mode fiber holds bandwidth and reach advantages, especially for longer distances, multimode fiber easily supports most distances needed by data center and enterprise networks, and at a significant cost savings over single-mode fiber.

    What’s the Difference?

    These two optical fiber types were primarily named for the different ways that they transmit light. Single-Mode optical fibers have a small core size (less than 10 microns) and allow only one mode or ray of light to be transmitted. These fibers were mainly designed for networks that involve medium to long distances, such as metro, access and long-haul networks.

    On the other hand, multimode fibers have larger cores that work to guide many modes at the same time. These larger cores make it much easier to capture light from a transceiver, helping to control source costs.


    View our Single Mode vs. Multimode Fiber Guide

    WHICH Multimode Fiber?

    Today, network designers and end users can choose from OM3, OM4 or OM5 grades of 50 micron multimode fibers. At one time in the 1980s, as data rates increased, 62.5 micron fiber was introduced because it allowed for longer reach to support campus applications. However, with the advent of gigabit speeds, users moved back to 50 micron fiber with its inherently higher bandwidth. Now 50 micron laser-optimized multimode OM3, OM4 and OM5 fibers offer major bandwidth and reach advantages for short-reach applications along with low system costs.

    The Future

    Industry standards groups such as IEEE (Ethernet), TIA, ISO/IEC and others continue to recognize multimode optical fiber as the short-reach solution for next-generation speeds. In fact, TIA issued a new standard for the next generation of multimode fiber called wide band (OM5) multimode fiber. This new version of 50 micron fiber can transmit multiple wavelengths using Short Wavelength Division Multiplexing (SWDM) technology, while maintaining OM4 backward compatibility. This capability lets end users gain greater bandwidth and higher speeds from a single fiber by simply adding wavelengths. The OFS version of this fiber is LaserWave® WideBand (OM5) Optical Fiber.

    In Short…

    Generally, 50 micron optical fiber continues to be the most cost-effective choice for enterprise and data center use up to the 500-600 meter range. Beyond that distance, single-mode optical fiber is necessary.

    The OFS LaserWave FLEX Multimode Optical Fiber family offers full performance range and has better optical and geometric specifications than standards require. However, if the network’s transmission distance requires the use of single-mode optical fiber, consider bend-insensitive, zero water peak (ZWP) full-spectrum fibers such as the OFS family of AllWave® Optical Fibers.

  5. Optical Fiber: When the Heat and Pressure Are On

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    Many land and oceanic oil operations use temperature sensing to help improve safety and functionality in harsh environments. Optical fibers used in these conditions are routinely exposed to high temperatures and pressures, along with ionizing radiation and aggressive chemicals in the surroundings.

     

    Given these extremes, companies are increasingly using silica-based optical fibers for both acoustic and distributed temperature sensing. These fibers offer advanced properties including superior thermal stability and mechanical robustness. They are also able to transmit optical power with minimal added attenuation or signal loss.

     

    While researchers have thoroughly studied the mechanical strength of optical fibers under ambient conditions, they have rarely examined fibers after exposure to elevated temperatures and/or liquids. In fact, to the best of our knowledge, there is no systematic data documenting the mechanical strength of optical fibers placed under high temperatures and pressures such as those experienced in temperature sensing.

     

    That’s why when Andrei Stolov of OFS decided to perform an experimental study, he was operating in somewhat “unknown territory.” Before beginning the experiment, Stolov realized that a number of factors would influence whether optical fibers could survive the harsh conditions found in oil operations. These aspects include the type of fiber coating, environment, temperature, pressure and usage time.

     

    When optical fibers are used at elevated temperatures or in aggressive environments, the most frequent indications of failure are added attenuation or loss of mechanical strength. In Stolov’s study, he used strength degradation as his criteria for failure.

     

    In his experiment, Stolov submerged a range of optical fibers with various coatings into four high-temperature/high-pressure fluids, namely (1) distilled water; (2) sea water; (3) isopropyl alcohol (IPA); and (4) paraffin oil. Undersea and downhole applications primarily drove his choice of fluids. In these situations, fibers can be exposed to these or similar environments.

     

    To learn more about the study and the results, please go HERE.

     

  6. New Ways to Twist and Shift Light

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    The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) recently conducted photonics research that may lead to new quantum technologies and telecom systems. The researchers discovered unexpected qualities in light that could, in the long term, lead to completely new electronic devices and applications.

     

    Light is frequently used in electronics involved in telecommunications and computing. One good example of this is how light is used in optical fiber. Optical fiber and fiber optic cables are used to transmit many types of communication around the world, including telephone calls and internet connections.

     

    As mentioned in Physical Review Letters, the NPL researchers studied whether and how light can be controlled in an optical ring resonator. This resonator is a tiny device that can store extremely high light intensities. In an optical ring resonator, wavelengths of light resonate around the device. A comparison would be how some “whispers” can travel around a  “whispering gallery” and be heard on the other side.

     

    In a first-ever study, the researchers used optical ring resonators to pinpoint the interaction of two kinds of spontaneous symmetry breaking. The team displayed new ways to manipulate light by (1) studying how time varied between pulses of light and (2) how the light was polarized.

     

    Typically, light follows what is called “time reversal symmetry.” This principle means that if time is reversed, light should return to where it started. However, in the NPL research, at high light intensities, symmetry was broken within the optical ring resonators. A lead scientist on the project noted that, when the ring resonator was seeded with short pulses, the circulating pulses inside the resonator would arrive either before or after the seed pulse. However, they would never arrive at the same time. This discovery could be potentially used to combine and rearrange optical pulses in telecommunications networks.

     

    The researchers also learned that light can suddenly change its polarization in ring resonators. A related example would be you picking a guitar string in a vertical direction, but then having the string begin to vibrate in either a circular clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. The researchers believe that the results of these experiments will not only help to direct the development of improved optical ring resonators (such as for atomic clocks for exact time-keeping). They also feel that these findings will also help scientists to understand how they can control light in photonic circuits in sensors and in quantum technologies.

     

    According to Pascal Del’Haye, NPL Senior Research Scientist, “Optics have become an important part of telecom networks and computing systems. Understanding how we can manipulate light in photonic circuits will help to unlock a whole host of new technologies. These include better sensors and new quantum capabilities, which will become ever more important in our everyday lives.”

     

     

  7. Lighting Up Dark Fiber

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    Last month, internet speeds in Jackson, Mississippi, jumped from 1 Gb to 100 Gb. This leap forward is part of the city’s work to light up “dark fiber” in the robust fiber optic network that it owns.

    The Origin of Dark Fiber

    The term “dark fiber” refers to unused or underused fiber optic infrastructure (optical fibers, fiber cables and repeaters). Because it’s expensive to deploy cable (especially under oceans), companies typically install more fiber than they will need. This fact was especially true during the dot.com boom of the 1990s. However, after the bust of the early 2000s, many companies either went bankrupt or merged. The result is that today, in addition to “lit fibers” (fibers currently transmitting data by light), there are many “dark fibers” (unused fibers) within the same networks.


    Cities Lighting UpBecause it’s possible to buy or lease these fibers, some cities and companies see using dark fiber as an appealing way to save money or create a new revenue stream. However, there are other factors to consider because using dark fiber isn’t straightforward. Buying and managing a fiber network takes skills that many organizations simply don’t have. Also, when a group starts selling network bandwidth, it takes on the role of becoming an ISP.

    And on top of this, success isn’t always guaranteed. Take the example of California’s Santa Monica CityNet. In 2014, CityNet became the first 100 gigabit municipal network in the country. However, in its efforts to lease dark fiber, CityNet has signed up less than 2 percent of the business market since 2006. It has also collected only about $2.1 million in revenue over that time.

    Other Uses

    At least for now, dark fiber still has staying power. One factor driving its use is cloud computing which requires greater bandwidth. However, dark fiber could face greater competition as cities get “smarter” and 5G wireless communications roll out.

    Ironically, dark fiber’s strength may come through uses besides connectivity. At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dr. Jonathan Ajo-Franklin is using dark fiber to measure seismic signals. Dr. Ajo-Franklin’s team gained permission to access a section of a dark fiber network between Sacramento and Calusa, California. During a seven-month experiment, the team collected about 300 terabytes of data. Ultimately, they found that the same dark fiber installed for communications was also useful in making distributed measurements. These measurements included seismic wave fields, temperature, strain and vibrations that can affect infrastructure (such as the number of cars on a road). In other words, an unused fiber installed for a telecom network might also be used in sensing.

    What’s more, by using dark fiber, the team saved a substantial amount of money by replacing a critical, huge array of thousands of individual point sensors with an existing, installed fiber optic cable.

  8. 5G: What’s All the Hoopla About?

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    5g and Fiber Optics There’s been lots of excitement and even some “hype” around the idea of 5G. But what is it really? Does it mean just faster internet? Will it really be that much better than 4G? Many people are asking these questions as the FCC begins to auction the first licenses for the airwaves that will carry 5G service.

     

    What Is 5G, Really?

    5G will be up to 100 times faster than today’s cellular connections – and even faster than many home fiber optic broadband services. But it’s not just about speed. Networks will have greater capacity and respond faster than earlier wireless services. More people and devices will work at the same time on the same network without slowing it to a crawl. And it will do all of this with lower latency. Latency is the time delay between a device contacting the network and receiving a response.

    This improved latency will help to bring about some of the most amazing tech trends on the horizon. And while 5G may not change your life right away, it will certainly bring some totally new technologies to life. For now, here are a few of the most exciting apps and technologies that 5G will enable.

    Promising 5G Applications

    Self-driving vehicles – Self-driving cars will be a common sight with the next generation of wireless service.  And 5G will make vehicle-to-vehicle communication happen – where cars can almost instantly share information between them on their location, speed, acceleration, direction and steering. Many experts believe that this feature will become the greatest lifesaving advance in the auto industry in more than a decade. Using this, cars will know before their drivers when another car moves into your blind spot or when a dump truck that’s six vehicles ahead suddenly stops.

    Telesurgery – Remote surgery isn’t new. However, 5G could make a huge difference in providing medical care to millions in distant locations, along with training doctors remotely in surgery and other specialties.

    Virtual Reality – For truly realistic virtual reality (VR), a wireless network must carry tons of data. And while it must be fast, the network must also handle this data deluge to create a life-like VR experience. It will take 5G to make this happen.

    Drones: 5G technology will let drones talk to one another, helping prevent overhead accidents while in flight.

    5G wireless networks can make many of the technologies, applications and experiences that we’ve been waiting for a reality.

  9. Smaller Endoscopes from New, Air-Filled Optical Fiber Bundles?

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    A new, air-filled optical fiber bundle could dramatically improve medical endoscopes. This technology could also help create endoscopes that produce images using infrared wavelengths. If so, this breakthrough would allow diagnostic procedures that aren’t currently possible.

     

    In the Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Letters, University of Bath (U.K.) researchers showed that these new fiber optic bundles (called air-clad imaging fibers) deliver resolution equal to the best commercial imaging fibers. And the bundles do this at twice the wavelength range of these fibers. Because of this, these air-clad imaging fibers could help create new, smaller endoscopes with even better resolutions.

     

    HOW ENDOSCOPES WORK

    Used in minor surgery and imaging, endoscopes use bundles of optical fibers to obtain images from inside the body. Light that falls on one end of the fiber bundle travels through each fiber to the far end. This process sends a picture as thousands of spots, much like pixels in a digital picture.

     

    TESTING THE BUNDLES

    Instead of using cores and claddings of two types of glass, the new bundles use an array of glass cores covered by hollow glass capillaries filled with air. These air-filled capillaries act as the fiber cladding.

     

    To test the imaging fibers, the research team created an air-clad fiber bundle. This bundle matched the resolution of a leading commercial fiber (with the same spacing between cores). The team then stacked multiple, smaller honeycomb structures to place more than 11,000 cores into the fiber.

     

    The researchers used the air-clad fiber bundle and the commercial fiber to image a standard test target image. And the result? The air-clad fiber performed well beyond the wavelength range that a visible camera could detect. And when the researchers switched to an infrared camera, the fiber created a clear image at twice the wavelength that the commercial fiber reached.

     

    REAL-WORLD USE OF FIBER BUNDLES

    Along with medical diagnosis and care, the new optical fiber bundles could be used for industrial applications. These uses include monitoring the contents of hazardous machines and viewing the inside of oil and mineral drills. These types of fibers are becoming more and more popular for a variety of purposes.

     

    OFS Laboratories, one of the world’s leading optical fiber research labs, and the research arm of OFS, has performed major work in this area. The development of Microstructure Optical Fibers (MOFs) is one result of this work. The MOFs created by OFS Labs are a new class of optical fibers that are substantially different from conventional optical fibers.

     

     

  10. Could “Twisted” Fiber Optics Create a 100 Times Faster Internet?

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    Researchers at Australia’s RMIT University recently discovered a new fiber optic breakthrough that could lead to 100 times faster internet speeds. This new development detects light that has been twisted into a spiral.

     

    According to research in Nature Communications, developers could upgrade existing fiber optic networks and boost efficiency using this discovery.

     

    HOW IT WORKS

    Fiber optic cables use pulses of light to transmit information. However, users can only store that data based on the color of the light and whether the light wave is horizontal or vertical.

     

    The RMIT researchers twisted light into a spiral and created a third dimension for light to carry information – the level of orbital angular momentum, or spin. Dr. Min Gu of RMIT compared it to the double helix spiral of DNA. According to Dr. Gu,  a greater amount of angular momentum allows an optical fiber to carry a larger amount of information.

     

    Researchers have used “twisted light” approaches and orbital angular momentum before. They encoded a greater amount of data in various degrees of twist using these “twisted” methods. In fact, researchers at Boston University and the University of Southern California developed an optical fiber that could twist light. However, the teams used detectors as large as “the size of a dining table.” The RMIT researchers created a reasonably-sized detector that reads the information it holds. The new detector is the width of a human hair.

     

    WHAT IT CAN DO

    Providers could upgrade networks around the globe with this new fiber optic technology. These companies include the NBN Co. NBN is deploying Australia’s national broadband network. The company expects to complete this network by 2020.

     

    NBN is “prepared for future demand.” However, they have also stated that fiber optic advances such as this one by RMIT need further testing and acceptance before being deployed. A spokesperson commented, “Laboratories continually test new communications technologies for many years before they are commercialized. Equipment manufacturers and network operators must accept these new methods on a widespread scale before they are ready to be deployed in the field.”