Thanks to optical fibre we have superfast broadband. How well do you know it?
For once, the marketing hype is right. Glass threads “thinner than a human hair” can carry almost unlimited data. And forget all you heard about light travelling in straight lines: fibre takes it round corners. Fibres go under oceans, around cities, and wherever we want them. If we’re lucky, and the gods of broadband delivery smile on us, they even come right to our homes.
Fibre’s only beginning
The record speeds on optical fibre keep going up – and they can get plenty faster. All you need is a more controlled light-source at one end, and a more sensitive detector at the other, and you can add another wavelength – sending signals using another light colour alongside the ones you’re using already.
Fibre took over the core of the world’s data networks years ago, and is now pushing out to the peripheries, with fibre delivering broadband to businesses and consumers in ever-more remote parts of the world. Broadband Delivery UK is the body charged with doing this for Britain, and TechWeek has watched it reach its destinations one by one.
Fibre has one other benefit – which might not be so obvious. Glass is cheap, and has little re-sale value, compared with the copper that’s used elsewhere in the network. Fibre networks ought to be theft-proof.
So, what do you know about fibre?
And if you like it, try some others…