Fiber optics is becoming one of the most common type of media in networking applications. It could be called “fiber”, “optical fiber”, or “fiber optics media”, but all of these terms refer to the same media relying on light pulses to transport data.
Optical transmission is often referred to as “digital”, since it is evolutionary span from “electrical” voltage transmissions. Data is being set bit by bit with high frequency, where “no light” means zero, and “light” means one. Fiber’s core is made of glass or transparent plastic. Light is sent at very specific wavelength which is able to transmit signal longest without need of repeaters.
Signal is being encoded from electrical signals to optical, then transmitted by laser or LED over the fiber, where it reaches optical receiver, which is able to decode it back to electrical signals which are understandable by computer.
Optical fibers are able to support one or more wavelengths at the same time. However this kind of application requires multiple laser transmitters and multiple receivers together with WDM (Wavelength-Division Multiplexing) technology.
These Gigabit Fiber WDM media converters use 2 wavelenghts – 1310/1550 nm to split RX/TX path.
Primary wavelengths include but are not limited to 850, 1310, 1490, 1550, and 1625nm. Different wavelengths are used for different applications – such as 1625nm is used for PON for FTTH applications. It is relying on silica based glass for this applications, since it offers optimal transmission distances.
Laser is operating in the wavelengths which are close to infrared. One should remember that lasers are extremely hazardous to human vision.
When traveling long distances signal would eventually fade and would require repeaters. Installing optical equipment is very different from installing copper based devices. Every connector, if installed unprofessionally could result in signal degradation or complete signal loss. Installation tools for optical equipment is much more complicated than the copper cable tools. It should be only done by trained personnel since fiber components cost more than traditional components.