Fiber optic cables are your fastest option to keep your business connected, but how do they work? And how are they so much faster than other cables? Let’s break it down.

If you ripped open a fiber optic cable, you would find several optical fibers made of a flexible and transparent kind of high quality glass or plastic. For glass optical fibers, the glass must be heated up to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit, and as it’s stretched out, it’s guided by a microlaser to ensure the diameter remains consistent. What these fibers do is create a “light pipe” that transmits light from one end of the cable to the other.

Why transmit light? When you get down to the very basics of how a computer operates (and modern telephones), everything is transmitted in 0s and 1s. From the new music album you just downloaded to the white paper eBook you’re reading, everything all breaks down into 0s and 1s. Light is transmitted down the fiber optic cable in a Morse code fashion to represent the binary system of 0s and 1s (light on for 1; light off for 0), and it transmits these pulses at extremely high speeds.

Fiber optic cables are highly sought after because the signal does not degrade over long distances like it does in many other types of cable. The maximum length is roughly 6,000 feet for fiber optic cabling — compare that to the maximum length of CAT5 Enhanced, which is 300 feet. That means it can maintain its high speed over long distances.

How fast are fiber optic cables? You can get up to 2,000 MB/second under the right conditions. CAT5 cables that most data networks and offices use get up to 100 MB/second.

If you’re interested in learning more about fiber optic cabling, give us a call at 707-442-1123.