The History & Production of Fiber Optics

BY: Christina Hansen


In 1999, it was reported that an estimated $14.6 billion was spent on fiber optics items. These tremendous figures were greatly attributed to the growing trend of the Internet. But today, more and more companies are using fiber optics for other purposes as well - not just for the Web.

Some types of companies that use fiber optics today include computer offices, telemarketing networks, manufacturing plants, Internet broadband companies, online video providers, Ethernet users, medical offices, hospitals, financial institutions, communications companies, and many others.

Fiber Optic Set-Backs and Changes

Fiber optics has been used in many different applications over the past 10 years and went through a time period of amazing growth during the early 1990s. Unfortunately, there have been a few disadvantages of fiber optics that have held many companies back from applying this method.

One set-back has been the cost of initial set up and the time involved in changing over to fiber optics. Though future benefits might be enjoyed, many companies are just too busy or don't have the funds to make the change. Another disadvantage has been a lack of standardization in the fiber optics industry. Also, the loss of signal strength when bending the fiber optical cables around corners made this technology less appealing to companies that provide service to the homes or businesses of their customers.

These disadvantages, however, are quickly fading. Fiber optic manufacturers that provide fiber, cable, connectors, testing instruments, and cleaning supplies have been working hard to standardize the industry. More and more people are training in fiber optics to become engineers, installers, and network managers so a dose of healthy competition will likely bring fiber optic design and installation prices down.

Signal Loss Solutions for the Future

The problem with signal loss will also be minimized as fiber optic technology improves. Corning Incorporated, a major provider of fiber optics products, recently announced a new design that enables bending around very tight corners with virtually no signal loss. This new technology is called nanoStructures (TM) and will likely make fiber optics much more appealing to cable, Internet, and communications companies. The technology is also compliant with industry standards and can be installed using the same procedures as other fiber optics networks.

With new technologies such as nanoStructures, fiber optics can be used to deliver services to high-rise apartments and homes across the nation. Customers will be able to enjoy faster Internet, better quality content, and more interactive features than ever before.

Online Video and Fiber Optics

A popular trend in the Internet market today is online video. Google's YouTube and other similar services are taking the Internet by storm, and fiber optics is expected to play a big part in online video. Fiber optics will provide better, clearer pictures and will also expand the Internet's bandwidth capabilities.

The Internet today contains much more data than it did just a few years ago. More companies and individuals are using the Internet. More people have Internet in their homes than ever before. And, more people are downloading entire movies, which take up a lot of bandwidth. So, the need for bandwidth to handle all this data and activity is tremendous.

Cable modems are working great right now, but may not be able to keep up. Fiber optics may be the key to unlock the Internet's full potential.