Optical Fibers

Optical fibers are the best solution in transmission media as they have a very large bandwidth thus achieving high speeds.

Advantages-Disadvantages

Optical Fibers currently seem as the best solution in transmission media as they have important benefits when compared to other media.
Optical fibers have a very large bandwidth thus achieving high speed transmission (class of Gbps )
Usual transmission speeds are those of 2 and 10Gbps, while systems of 20, 40 and 50 Gbps have, also, been developed.
In case of multiplexing with wave length division, speeds of a few Tbps may be achieved.
Also, they are not affected by electromagnetic fields and their use is therefore recommended in industrial environments and areas with high noise levels.
The signal attenuation is less than in copper and coaxial cables, so the distances between amplifiers or other active elements range from a few to some hundred kilometers, depending on the technique and the transmission rate.
The interception or the interference of information is difficult to be achieved, making optical fibers the safest transmission media.
Also, their weight and their volume are significantly lower than the corresponding sizes of other conduits.
It is worthy to mention that, as an example, a copper cable with 1000 pairs and a length of 500 meters weighs about 4000 kg, while an optical fiber of the same length, containing the same number of channels, weighs only 45 kg.
Moreover, optical fibers are not sensitive to humidity, where copper cables may cause short circuits. As optical fibers don’t transmit electrical signals, they are preferred in areas of high explosion risk from sparks (fuel areas, flammable gases etc.)
In conclusion, we should mention that optical fiber cables have the same mechanical properties as coaxial, but they are lighter in weight, with a smaller diameter and the distance between repeaters is greater.
One of the main disadvantages that optical fibers present, is the difficulty to achieve connections, as high adjustment and alignment of the light source is required, so that dispersion may be avoided and losses reduced.
However, the technological progress of the last few years in the domain of optical fibers, has successfully confronted the above difficulty, making their use in connections from one point to many others possible.
Nevertheless, their use on such connections is not yet widely spread, because of the high cost of such systems.

In conclusion:

AdvantagesDisadvantages
High Capacity of Gbps classDifficulty in connecting, thus requiring skillful installers
ith new multiplexing techniques using wave length divisions (Wave division Multiplexing) speeds of Tbps are achievedDifficulty in connecting multiple users on a cable
Small size and weightExpensive for small distances
Low attenuation-
Unaffected by environmental interference-
High security – difficulty in interception-
Large facilities reduce the cost-
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