What is Fiber Optic Internet?

learn about the technology that is speeding up our world and businesses

fiber internet

Fiber optics, the future of broadband. Fiber optics is reaching network speeds that can be as fast as 1000Mbps (1Gbps). Broadband is essential to our modern world – powered by fiber optic technology, fiber Internet is blowing its competitors out of the water. This guide will cover everything you need to know about fiber internet, and challenges faced with using it as well.


Depending on where you live you may see it spelled either FIBER or FIBRE


How Fiber Optics Work

We use “fiber” to mean fiber optic Internet, a form of fiber-optic communications. The process involves sending a beam of light through the glass fibers and transferring information.


Optical Fibers

When an optical fiber is made, it has a coating to protect it from environmental damage and pull together light waves. There are also two parts to an optical fiber: the coating and the actual optical fiber.

The core is the most important part of the fiber, where light passes through. Usually this is made of glass.

The “Cladding” is made of a thick layer of plastic and is often wrapped around the core.

These together create a phenomenon called total internal reflection. Total internal reflection is how light moves through the fibers, without escaping. Light travels in and out of the glass at an extremely shallow angle, less than 42 degrees and reflects as if they were reflecting against a mirror. The cladding keeps the light in the core because the glass/plastic has a different optical density or lower refractive index. 

Data is transported in ones and zeros, which are translated into binary code made up of bits. These codes make up everything we see on the Internet, in light pulses that travel 60 miles before any signal degradation occurs.



Fiber Optic Internet and The Last Mile

The signal is converted from light to electrical pulses over a long distance through optical fibre until it reaches its destination. This final stretch of fibre is what is known as the “Last Mile”, and it ultimately connects your devices to the Internet.

Fiber optic cables, which have been in use since the early days of the internet, are making it possible for people across the globe to connect via the internet. Fiber optic Internet may seem like brand new technology, but it has been around since the early days of the Internet. In 1988 fiber optic cables were laid under the ocean to connect the U.S. and Europe. They were the first submarine lines to be laid, and today they have expanded to crisscross the entirety of the ocean floor.

The backbone is a core piece of the internet. When you connect to a website, no matter what device you’re on or where the destination is, multiple steps are being taken to get there. This all connects back to the backbone.



Different Types of Last Mile Connections

There are a few types of fiber-optic internet service providers (ISP), each with different variabilities in terms of the pureness of the connection. They are referred to as “Fiber to the x”, where x is the area where they end, and vary in their level of purity. 

Fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP), fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), fiber to the business operating at the desk (FTTB), and fiber to the desktop (FTTD) connections are direct connections, with no copper cables involved. They are the most expensive for ISPs in this list. 

Fiber to the Building (FTTB) allows for speeds at about 80% of that for fiber to the home (FTTH). This type of connection is democratic, as it distributes high speeds across the building using lower-cost copper lines.

FTTC/FTTN/FTTS: Fiber to the cabinet/curb, neighborhood, or street are the most common fiber connections. Fiber is delivered to a street cabinet and then redistributed via copper cables. It is the cheapest connection for ISPs because they don’t have to spend on expensive infrastructure to individual premises and can redistribute when/if new housing or businesses move in.


Fiber and ISPs

Despite the concerns involved, many ISPs have dedicated themselves to fiber optic Internet deployment. Some ISPs have even committed to only building fiber infrastructure going forward and are actively working to replace existing copper


Contact us today for all of your fiber optic questions and needs!

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