Fiber Optic Uses

By: CableOrganizer®

What Do We Use Fiber Optics for Anyway?

More Like, What Isn’t It Used For?

Fiber optic technology has grown tremendously over the years and today can be found in many surprising places. In fact, fiber optics are an essential part of our everyday lives, often without us even being aware of it.

As we mentioned in another article on optics, Alexander Graham Bell experimented with transmitting voice signals over optical “beams,” so it's fitting that one of the first fiber optics appearances was for the telephone. That technology revolutionized long distance calls because it has been considered more secure with less electrical interference than copper wiring. The role of 5G networks has expanded the prominence of fiber optic cables in places like backhaul connections for base stations. The most recognized place where fiber optics are found today by far is the internet, with information sent digitally across the entire world. Massive undersea fiber optic cables wrapped in layer upon layer of insulation and protection traverses the Earth's ocean floors. These enable people from all over the planet to communicate with one another and perform every online task possible, from shopping to uploading food photos on Instagram or Facebook posts.

But that's just one of many applications employing fiber. Let's check out some others.



The military today is a place where fiber optic technology is in high demand. They're strong, lightweight, and can generally be found outdoors in harsh environments. It’s where cables have been tested rigorously, with the military deciding they were perfect for many applications. Secure and encrypted communications are a necessity with fiber the medium. It assists with eavesdropping detection, and alarmed sensors to alert of system breaches. Fiber optic cables offer better performance, more bandwidth, and greater security for their signals. Optical cabling has been and continues to be an excellent choice for the military's retrieval and deployment applications. Radar systems and missile launchers additionally rely on fiber optics. A single pencil-sized optical fiber replaces miles and pounds of copper wiring in equipment control systems. Fighter jets, unmanned aircraft, avionics systems, and military aerospace applications are other places where fiber optics are present. This type of cabling is found in military ground transportation, including vehicle-to-vehicle communications. It plays a role on the battlefield to connect troops, vehicles, command centers, reconnaissance vehicles, drones, intelligence centers, and ground control among them.



The fast-paced transportation system has become a continually growing market for fiber optics, especially as transportation evolves. With the increase in traffic and more demand for efficiency, “smart highways” have begun to adopt fiber into things like automated toll booths, traffic signals, and changeable message signs. “Smart cities” connect a destination’s various elements including transportation, traffic management, and urban planning, with fiber optics a part of this too. There are Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that aid in managing traffic with fiber optic tools like traffic surveillance cameras and traffic signal control. Sensors using fiber optic technology monitors structural issues that occur on infrastructure, including roadways, bridges, and tunnels. Wi-Fi, like the type on public transportation vehicles, also become quicker and more efficient with fiber optic cables.

While fiber optics are not typically wired in gas powered or electric vehicles, automotive manufacturers include them inside various systems for building cars and trucks. Optical fibers are in lighting systems, robotic automation on the assembly lines, quality control, and other processes. EV charging stations may, however, integrate fiber optic cabling for networking chargers, which will help with functions such as payment for a recharge.

Electric trains are equipped with fiber as a transmission medium, whether it’s for communications among railway personnel or passengers using high-speed communication systems as they travel. Railway systems implement optical fibers for various purposes as smart highways and cities do, including for signaling, control centers, monitoring the lines for safety, and assessing surrounding structural infrastructure and conditions.

Aviation is another transportation sector that relies on fiber optics to keep the industry safe and efficient. It is important for data transmission between the cockpit and air traffic control.

The maritime trade has fiber optic cabling as well in vessels to communicate, for surveillance, and for navigation, with these cables a medium even in that harsh type of environment.

The supply chain and logistics sector integrate fiber optics too in the movement of goods from destination to destination. Among tasks, it is employed in real-time tracking of shipments, inventory management, and “smart warehousing” (robotic picking systems, automated conveyor belts, and similar equipment).



Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and drones are both applications for fiber optics. The UAV is piloted, remote piloted, or flown autonomously. Drones are only operated remotely. UAVs are often utilized in military reconnaissance, mapping, agricultural monitoring, and many other industries. Drones are a type of remote-controlled commercial or recreational UAV for photography, videography, delivery, firefighting, disaster response, communications, public safety, farming tasks, and other applications. Each kind may have fiber optics in them for data transmission, communications, control systems, and power transmission.



These two technologies are immersive experiences, with Virtual Reality (VR) offering a computer-generated “virtual world” in place of the real world. Augmented Reality (AR) features the real world with digital elements. Fiber optics hold a role in it to move high-speed data, preventing low latency (or the delay in downloading data), which is a crucial part of both experiences. Tethered VR headsets, for example, incorporate fiber optics in the tether cable, while they help feed the high bandwidth to AR glasses.



Fiber optics are supporting renewable energy resources more frequently. The fiber technology expends less energy itself overall. This syncs with the overall mission of renewable resources, which lower the reliance on traditional energy sources. They help monitor solar and wind energy, as well as smart grids (the digital communications in electrical utilities). Solar power systems have fiber optics in place to increase the system’s efficiency. Optical fibers are utilized to perform various functions in energy management, geothermal, and biomass systems. Hydropower plants implement them to monitor conditions in the water flow, turbine performance, and other parameters.


Ultimately, what has been discussed here is only the tip of the iceberg. Fiber is within countless other applications, including decorative lighting for Christmas trees, signs, and art. Showcases displayed in boutiques have optical fibers illuminating from different angles with a single light source.

Special optical fibers are additionally within sensor applications for areas that involve oil well monitoring and fire or leak detection.

The extra bandwidth offered enables cable television to transmit signals to their subscribers faster and more efficiently. Fiber frequently shows up in research and learning institutions, as well as in the aerospace, biomedical, and chemical industries.

It is assimilated in the Internet of Things (IoT) too. These are the technologies inside everyday objects, which may include smart appliances, home security systems, robot vacuums, smart watches, and tracking devices among them.

The bottom line? Fiber optic technology continues to grow rapidly and is fast becoming an essential part of our everyday lives.

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