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How Have We Revolutionized Long Distance Communication

1146 words - 5 pages

Shardul BansalMr. Hunter Physics 24/09/14How have we revolutionized long distance communication?Coaxial cable communication lines use electricity to transfer large amounts of data throughout the globe. Coaxial cable wires are practical in electrical wiring since they have high conductivity, high tensile strength and are extremely ductile. This makes it great for electrical applications but when transferring large amounts of data throughout the globe, these advantages become obsolete. They pose several problems on top transferring data slowly and inefficiently. Some of these problems are that coaxial cables must be placed a fair distance away from the electrical wires since electricity might act as interference. Due to their conductivity, coaxial cables need to be placed indoors since they attract lightning (Weaver, 2014). Again, due to their conductivity property, coaxial cable wires can pose a threat of injury from fire and electrocution. They are not efficient for large distances between continents because of the loss in data. In addition to this, with more people having access to phones and internet, there was a need for faster network communication.The solution to the problem lied in fiber optic cables. Fiber optic cables provide a safer and a faster method of transferring data in large quantities. This is done by using light as a source of data transfer instead of electricity. This is done by sending LED's or lasers through the fiber optic cable so that the light can be received at the other end.A fiber optic cable usually consists of 4 elements, as seen below; the core, which is covered by the cladding, which is then covered by the buffer and finally a jacket (Hanson, 2013). These layers are used to prevent the refraction of light. However, there are more ways to prevent the refraction of light. Normally, Infrared Light is passed through the core and it is received through the other end of the cable. Light travels along inside the core through the phenomenon of total internal reflection. Usually, when a beam of light is bounced off a mirror or a piece of glass, most of it is refracted and some of it is reflected back. However, if the single beam of light is directed towards the glass at its critical angle as seen in the image on the right, 99% of the light will be reflected back and hence virtually no loss of light will occur (Hammock, 2011). This is important in a fiber optic cable because light is essential communication data and the loss of light will lead to a loss of data transfer. To maximize the transfer of light, only very highly reflective materials such as glass and certain plastics are used. In the end, this gives a result of only 5% light loss in a 50km distance.Figure 1: The diagram above shows how total internal reflection works. At the point of the light hitting the surface at the critical angle, virtually no refraction occurs. (Hammock, 2011)Figure 2: A cross-section of a fiber optic cable. The cable's thickness usually does...

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