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General

  • An optical fiber cable is a cable containing one or more optical fibers. The optical fiber elements are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube suitable for the environment where the cable will be deployed.

  • A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves. There are three types of fiber optic cable commonly used: single mode, multimode and plastic optical fiber (POF).

  • Fiber optic cable functions as a "light guide," guiding the light introduced at one end of the cable through to the other end. The light source can either be a light-emitting diode (LED) or a laser.

Process

  • An optical fiber is manufactured from silicon dioxide by either of two methods. The first, the crucible method, in which powdered silica is melted, produces fatter, multimode fibers suitable for short-distance transmission of many light wave signals. The second, the vapor deposition process, creates a solid cylinder of core and cladding material that is then heated and drawn into a thinner, single-mode fiber for long-distance communication.

  • Optical fibres in a cable are normally protected in one of two ways, either being tight buffered or contained in loose tubes. When tight buffered the individual optical fibre is covered directly with a layer of thermoplastic material or one or more fibres can be contained within a loose tube which is filled with a thixotropic gel. These processes are performed on specially equipped extrusion lines.

Application

  • Today, a variety of industries including the medical, military, telecommunication, industrial, data storage, networking, and broadcast industries are able to apply and use fiber optic technology in a variety of applications.

  • Fiber optic cables are not sensitive to electromagnetic fields or atmospheric conditions that can degrade signaling in wireless and copper. This advantage prevents data loss and data from being obtained from the fiber itself.

  • Today's telephone companies use optical fiber throughout their system as the backbone architecture and as the long-distance connection between city phone systems.

  • Power companies are an emerging group that have begun to utilize fiber-optics in their communication systems. Most power utilities already have fiber-optic communication systems in use for monitoring their power grid systems.

Market

  • India has become the world's fourth largest market for optic-fibre cable after Japan, the US, and China.
    The demand for optical fiber cable has increased dramatically over the last two years. While demand began decreasing in North America and Europe in late 2000, India was experiencing a boom.

  • A worldwide shortage of optical fiber is slowing the construction of new telecommunications networks and forcing even big buyers to renegotiate supply agreements. Meanwhile, the shortfall is proving a bonanza for the small fraternity of fiber manufacturers as prices that fell for years have stabilized and in some cases even increased.

  • Several companies around the world manufacture optical fibers. The large telecommunications fiber manufacturers are United States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe.

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