Optical Fiber - A Source of Revenue for Energy & Utilities Companies

Posted by Kevin Miller on Wed, Oct 13, 2021 @ 10:10 AM

Along with being highly regulated, energy and electric utilities companies have faced a transitioning business model with declining electricity use resulting from increased competition, distributed generation, and growing use of renewable sources like solar and wind. Consumers ultimately have more choices now than in past years, making it more challenging for these companies to achieve their revenue growth and profitability goals.

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Topics: optical fiber, fiber monitoring, electric utilities, broadband service, gas and electric

Radiation Hardened Optical Fiber

Posted by Gary Miller on Wed, Aug 18, 2021 @ 09:08 AM

Radiation hardened fibers are designed to handle applications and environments where there is greater exposure to radiation and the need for reliable data transmission in those settings. Circumstances where the potential of high levels of radiation exist include nuclear power plants or other nuclear-powered apparatus such as submarines, along with space applications, and high energy physics facilities. Optical fiber plays a critical role in each of these environments providing data transmission, gyroscopes, temperature sensing or diagnostics.

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Topics: optical fiber

Practical Applications of Graded Index Multimode Fiber

Posted by Jonathan Benfield on Tue, Aug 3, 2021 @ 09:08 AM

Communications engineers face many complicated decisions when selecting the most appropriate type of fiber optic cabling for their specific needs. Should the fiber be single mode or multimode? If it is multimode, should it be step index fiber or graded index? Those are just two of the multitude of questions that need to be answered when selecting the best fiber solution.

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Topics: optical fiber, multimode fiber

Understanding Submarine Optical Fibers

Posted by Kevin Miller on Tue, May 11, 2021 @ 08:05 AM

We’ve recently written about the importance of simulating submarine fiber networks in a lab environment for testing and training purposes, while highlighting the history and shifting investment dynamic in this arena.  A visit to Submarine Cable Map offers an interactive view of the breadth of fiber cabling crisscrossing the oceans of the world, demonstrating its critical importance to global communications.

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Topics: optical fiber

Key Differences Between Single Mode and Multimode Optical Fibers

Posted by Kevin Miller on Mon, Apr 26, 2021 @ 08:04 AM

When utilizing optical fibers for high-speed communications applications, there two primary categories that fibers are grouped into, based on their construction and intended applications. In this article, we will review both Single Mode and Multimode optical fiber classifications, providing a quick introduction to both types and their key differences.

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Topics: optical fiber, multimode fiber, single mode fiber

Hollow-Core Optical Fiber - A Potential Game Changer

Posted by Gary Miller on Thu, Apr 16, 2020 @ 16:04 PM

OFS recently made a splash when they announced a new hollow-core optical fiber optimized for low latency transmission.  While hollow-core fibers have existed for about 20 years, it is exciting to see such an innovative and promising fiber technology being more broadly applied to commercial applications. 

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Topics: optical fiber, latency, hollow-core optical fiber

Packaging Optical Fiber Spools to Optimize Space in the Test Lab

Posted by Kevin Miller on Tue, Feb 4, 2020 @ 08:02 AM

This year’s OFC conference in San Diego will be another showcase of innovative new and future technologies.  With fiber optic communication and networking equipment continuing to evolve, testing procedures and setups must also grow and change as part of the process.  Engineers are then often faced with a challenge - how can they continue to add and integrate new systems and the appropriate connectivity infrastructure in a finite amount of lab space?  While some may benefit from new facility expansions, the luxury of additional square footage and rack space isn't often the case for most.

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Topics: fiber optic testing, optical fiber, optical time delays

Is It Time to Review the Optical Fiber Setup in Your Test Lab?

Posted by Kevin Miller on Fri, Oct 25, 2019 @ 09:10 AM

As we enter the last quarter of the year, businesses are starting to or continuing to plan and budget for the upcoming year.  This may mean new investments, new equipment and other upgrades in technology or infrastructure to support and position the company to be competitive and successful in the upcoming year.  

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Topics: optical fiber, network simulation

Fusion or Mechanical: Which Is the Best Splicing Method?

Posted by John Kornegay on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 @ 16:02 PM

 

Figure 1: Fusion Splicer showing electrodes

When splicing together two lengths of fiber optic cabling, you have to choose between the two known methods - fusion splicing and mechanical splicing - which both essentially produce the same result - a secure connection between two formerly separate lengths of fiber.

However, how do you choose between them? Is one method better than the other? Well, in this article, we take a closer look at both, to provide some clarity on the subject. By reading to the end, you’ll know what the pros and cons are of each, how each connection is created and you’ll be in a better position to make a considered decision.

So, without any further delay, let’s begin.

Defining Mechanical & Fusion Splicing

The ultimate goal of cable splicing is to create a secure connection between two or more sections of fiber in a way that allows the optical signal to pass through with minimal loss. As we mentioned already, both mechanical and fusion splicing achieve this goal, but they do so in very different ways.

Fusion Splicing

Firstly, fusion splicing involves melting the two sections of fiber permanently together. This is achieved with an electrical device aptly known as a fusion splicer, and it’s something that not only melts the two parts together with an electric arc, but it is also able to align the fiber to create a good connection precisely.

Mechanical Splicing

One of the main differences with mechanical splicing is that it doesn’t permanently join the fibers together, instead of locking and aligning the pieces together with a screw mechanism. This method requires no heat or electricity at all.

The Fusion Splicing Steps

Figure 2: fusion splicer showing fiber positioning

With both mechanical and fusion splicing techniques, there are four distinct steps to the process. The first two steps for each are almost identical, but the final two are where the differences lie.

Fusion Splicing Step 1 - Preparation

To prepare the fiber for splicing, you need to strip away the jacket or sheath that surrounds the internal glass fiber. You’ll be left with bare glass when you’re finished, which should then be cleaned with an alcoholic wipe.

Fusion Splicing Step 2 - Cleaving

The next step involves cleaving the fiber, which shouldn’t be confused with cutting. Cleaving means that the fiber should be lightly scored and then flexed until it naturally breaks. To create a sound connection, you need a good, clean, smooth cleave that’s perpendicular to the fiber it’s being connected to in the fusion splicer.

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Topics: optical fiber

Benefits of Using Fiber Optic Attenuators with Doped Fiber

Posted by John Kornegay on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 @ 12:10 PM

Fiber optic attenuators are used in networking applications where an optical signal is too strong and needs to be reduced. There are many applications where this arises, such as needing to equalize the channel strength in a multi-wavelength system or reducing the signal level to meet the input specifications of an optical receiver. In both scenarios, reducing the optical signal strength is necessary or else system performance issues may arise.

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Topics: optical fiber