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How does fiber optic internet works?

stead of traditional copper wires or satellite signals, Fiber cables are used to provide Fiber optic Internet to the users.

Each strand is about 1/10th the size of a single human hair. The transmitting data in Fiber Internet is done with the help of pulses of light. The pulses of light travel at speeds nearing the speed of light.

Over the last few years, fiber internet connections have become easily available across the country positioning fiber optic communication to become the new standard in the field of high-speed Internet.

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But how does fiber internet works and what are the advantages and disadvantages of fiber optic cable? This article will help you get more information on fiber internet and answers all the questions related to it.

What Is Fiber Optic Technology?

Optical fibers, popularly known as optic fibers are long, thin strands of glass or plastic, thinner than a single strand of human hair. Fiber optic internet cables help in transmitting light signals over very long distances.

At the source of transmission, these light signals are coded with data. This is the data that we see on our computer screen. Data is transmitted in the form of light through the optical fibers.

When the light signal reaches the destination or receiver end it is decoded back as data. In simple words fiber internet cables act as a medium of transmission, they are like pipes carrying signals over long distances at very high speeds.

Fiber optic internet cables were initially developed for doctors in the 1950s. During the ’60s the same technology was incorporated by telephone engineers for receiving and sending telephone calls at the “speed of light”.

The speed of light is around 186,000 miles per second in a vacuum, it slows down to two-thirds of this speed when passed through a cable.

How does fiber optic internet works?


How does light travel through fiber optics? When light signals pass through the fiber optic cables, it repeatedly bounces off the walls.

Every tiny particle of the light bounces down the cable like a sledge going down the ice. You may think that a beam of light that travels through the glass strands may leak out of the edges.

However, the fact is that if the light hits the glass at an angle less than 42 degrees it will reflect back as if the glass was a mirror.

This phenomenon of light reflecting back is known as total internal reflection. This phenomenon ensures that the light does not leak and remains inside the glass strand or pipe.

The other factor that helps keep the light inside the pipe is the structure of the cable. The cable is made of two separate parts. The middle part of the cable through which light passes is called the core.

The core is wrapped by another layer of glass that is called cladding. The cladding‘s job is to ensure the light signals remain inside the core. The cladding is made from glass which has a low refractive index.

Equipment needed for fiber optic internet?

Below mentioned are the equipment required for installing a fiber optic internet connection:


Traditional DSL internet connections used copper wires for transmitting data. You cannot use these copper wires for transmitting fiber optic internet.

Fiber optic internet transmits data through light signals, hence it requires specialized fiber optic cables which are made of glass strands. To receive fiber optic internet at your home or office, you will need install fiber optic cables.


Fiber internet cannot be used by people who have traditional cable and DSL modems. The cable or DSL modems can convert analog signals to digital.

But they cannot translate the light signals received from fiber optic cables into digital signals. These modems are usually provided by the fiber internet company.


Other than investing in a fiber optic modem to handle the fiber optic signals, you will also require a new wireless router.

How does fiber optic internet work over distance?

As seen above, the internet signals passed through fiber optic cables can travel much farther than the electrical signals passed over copper cables.

Internet signals pass through the optics without losing quality, making fiber Internet the best option for transmitting data over long distances.

How does fiber optic internet work in adverse conditions?

Unlike copper wires used in Cable or DSL internet connections, the fiber optics do not rely on electricity for transmitting data. That means that in case of power outages there will no effect on the fiber optic Internet quality.

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