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Environmental Friendly Fiber Optic Communication Engineering Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Engineering
Wordcount: 2769 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Abstract - This paper introduces the basic concept of fiber optic communication and its environmentally friendly application. It will cover the charactypes of fiber optic. Besides, the process of fiber optic communication system is also described. The most important part of this article is its environmentally friendly used of fiber optic in communication in a real world. We also discussed on the advantages and disadvantages of fiber optic.

Keywords: Fiber optic; environmental friendly


Development of Fiber Optic

In the late 1800s, the first studies of fiber optic were made. Alexander Graham Bell is the one who came out with the idea of carry optical communications signal by using glass fiber. The practical development starts in the early 1960s and strongly develops until today. In the early 1960s, laser was invented and used for fiber optic. It is followed by the development of low loss optical fiber in 1970s. The production of the first very pure glass of fiber optic in 1970's has spurred the development of fiber optic. Fiber optics is developed rapidly in the 1980s where optical fiber amplifier was invented. In 1990s, in-fiber Bragg grating was invented.

Characteristic of Fiber Optic

Fiber optic is long, transparent, flexible fibers of glass or plastic. Optical cables are formed when hundreds or thousands of fiber optics are arranged in bundles. By using optical cable, light signals can be transmitted over long distances. Fiber optics which made of very pure glass are able to carry light over long distances ranging from a few centimeters to more than 160km with little dimming. Some measures of fibers are less than 0.004mm in diameter; they are even thinner than human hair.

Besides, fiber optic bundles can be either coherent or incoherent. In a coherent bundle, fibers are arranged so that images and illumination can be transmitted. Whereas, in incoherent bundles, the fibers are not arranged in any particular way and only illumination can be transmitted.

Structure of Fiber Optic

The structure of a fiber optic contains core, cladding and buffer coating. The core is the thin glass center of the fiber where the light travels. Cladding is the outer optical material surrounding the core which reflects the light back into the core to prevent light from leaking from the core. There is a plastic coating that protects the fiber from damage and moisture called buffer coating. A jacket which is the cable's outer covering has the function of protecting the bundles of fiber optics.

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1.4 Types of Fiber Optic

There are two classifications of fiber optics which are single-mode fibers and multi-mode fibers. In single-mode fibers, light follows a single path through the core and is suitable for high-speed signal long-distances transmission. They accept light only along the axis of the fibers. They have smaller cores and transmit infrared laser light. In multi-mode fibers, the light takes many paths through the core. They have larger cores and transmit infrared light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Normally, the multi-mode fibers are used for short-distances communication.

1.5 Fiber Optic Communication System

Fiber optic communication is a method which sending pulses of light to transmit information through a fiber optic from one place to another. In fiber optic communication system, the light propagates through the fiber based on the laws of optics. First of all, input information is fed so that information signal such as voice or video is converted into a form compatible with the communication medium. A coder or analog-to-digital converter (ADC) is used to convert input signals from continuous analog signals into a series of digital pulses which are used to flash a powerful light source off and on very rapidly. The light-beam pulses are generated and fed into a fiber optic cable for transmission. Once the light pulses entering one end of the fiber, the boundary of the fiber is stroked and reflected inward. When light pulses travelling through the fiber in the form of zigzag reflections until they reach the other end of the fiber. To detect the light pulses, a photocell or light detector is used at the receiver which then will convert the light pulses into electrical signal. The electrical pulses are amplified and reshaped back into digital form which then will feed to a decoder or digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to recover the original voice or video.


Fiber optic is widely used in several of fields. It is most popular used in communication system for data transmission purpose. For example, the telephone switching in office is linked with optical-fiber cable. Other than that, in order to provide information worldwide, many communication companies have installed large networks of fiber-optic cables across the continents and under the oceans.

In medicine, physicians may work out with tiny incisions to look and work inside the body of patients instead of having to perform surgery. Endoscopes instruments which have fiber optic are used for viewing the hollow organs in the body. Normally, there are two sets of fibers in endoscopes where the outer ring of incoherent fibers function as light supply while the inner coherent bundle transmit the image. For instance, an arthroscope is used by physicians to examine shoulders, knees, and other joints. There is a third set of fibers which are found in some models which used to stop bleeding or to burn away diseased tissue by transmitting a laser beam. Another example is that fiber optic can be used to measure body temperatures. Besides, a quick and accurate analysis of blood chemistry also can

Fiber optic also plays an important role in scientific research and manufacturing industries. Optical-fiber coils used as sensing device in some instruments. It can measure the parameters such as pressure, temperature, acceleration, and voltage. When the parameter changes during the transmission of light over the fiber, it will cause a measurable change in the properties of the light. Fiber optic devices also helpful in transmitting light to or from places where human difficult to reach or dangerous, for instance, hazardous areas, vacuum chambers, and confined spaces within machines.

Advantages of Fiber Optic

There are a number of advantages of fiber optic communication system. First of all, it provides wider bandwidth because fiber optic cables have higher information-carrying capability. Next, fiber optic exhibits low attenuation, thus, signals can be transmitted over long distances. For instance, in subsea communications, signal can be transmitted distances up to 280km without the requirement for repeater or boosters. Another advantage is that fiber optic is much lighter, it is ideal for use in those areas where low weight is critical such as aircraft.

With the advantage of smaller in size or diameter of fiber optic cables than electrical cables, so that more can be contained in a smaller space. Fiber optic cable also can support more weight than electrical cables. Besides, fiber optic is highly secure in data transmission by reason of fiber optic cables do not radiate any signal which means that the optical signal is completely contained in the middle of the fiber. Military and government communications are suitable to use fiber optic for communication purpose due to enhance data security.

In addition, fiber optic communications cable does not carry electricity and also not prone to lightning due to its non-metallic cables. It also has greater immunity to external influences and interferences. Last but not least, fiber optics is environmentally friendly. Due to the lightweight, compact nature of fiber optic, there is little use of resource in manufacturing, transporting, and installing fiber optic cables.

Disadvantages of Fiber Optic

On the other hand, there are also shortages of fiber optic. Specialist skills are needed for the installation of fiber optic, especially in the testing and terminating phase. High cost of fiber optic cable is due to the difficulty of manufacturing it and installation. Therefore, costs will decline as methods improve.

Furthermore, if compare to sending an electrical signal down a copper wire, the costs for converting an electrical signal into an optical signal for transmission down a fiber and converting signal back into an electrical signal is higher. Besides, data transmission via fiber optic is vulnerable because of a large number of information carrying capacity of the fiber. This may lead to catastrophic loss of communication. The drawback of cannot carry electrical power by fiber optic has significant implications to the subscriber where electricity is need to make the telephone work so that wire is needed for power supply.


2.1 Submarine Fiber-Optic Communication Cable

The reseach on the environmental impact of submarine fiber-optic communication cables was executed by Craig Denovan. From his study, he found that only fewer resources needed to install per unit length than the underground terrestrial.

The advantages of using this optic cable are the data can be transmitting in an efficient manner and it has small environmental impact per unit of data sent.

This optical cable is an environmentally friendly because it was only release 7g of carbon dioxide equivalents for every gigabit of data sent along 10,000 km in an average 13 years of commercial lifespan. The upgrade terminal equipment will be increased the data capacity of the modern cable while the existing cable can still be use.

The 10Gbps of transmission data will be replaced by the 40Gbps data transmission. Thus, improve the environment performance and the number of possible connections per transmission increased. It is also would reduces its potential environmental impact as well as more data can be sent by extending 13 years of cable lifetime.

Fiber Optic Sensor

There is a number of applications utilize remote sensors, coaxial cable, transducers and other communication devices that subject electronic to high RF, EMI or magnetic fields very high voltage levels. It can cause a waste energy power and not environment friendly using the tranditional communication system. However, almost all engineering try to increasing the use of renewable resource materials while decreasing reliance on petroleum - based materials in new construction is a major concern of todays. In order using the right strategies to improving energy efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions, improving indoor environmental quality and protecting the natural resources of the world. There are a few internationally recognized certification organizations dealing with these issues because it becomes so important in construction. Besides that, architects are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce electrical and fuel consumption, increase air quality and use more eco-friendly materials in building construction to address these concern. By using Motorola's Passive Optical LAN, an all-fiber LAN solution that operates on a gigabit passive optical network is a leading alternative to the traditional LAN network that enables architects and design engineers to increase the use of eco-friendly materials while significantly reducing energy consumption and significant costs associated with traditional LAN architectures.

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Passive Optical LAN

Motorola offers another choice for LAN solution to copper-based systems. This system was known as Passive Optical Lan. It based on proven Passive Optical Networking technology that is expanded by leading provides around the world. It play important role to give better service to subscribers. This system also provides enterprises with fiber optic connectivity to any Ethernet end point such as end user devices, access points and wireless controllers, application serves and printers. It makes great replacing copper - based cables and device in the traditional LAN setting with fiber optic equipment. The Passive Optical LAN network consists of a high density aggregation device in the main telecommunication room that delivers converged service over a Gigabit Passive Optical Network. It extends to the desktop terminates at a Work Group Terminal. The Work Group Terminal provides 10/100/1000 Base Ethernet connectivity equipment such as desktop computer or laptops. Passive Optical Lan provides small passive fiber optic splitters which are allocated in a building. It require no power, produce not heat has typically 2 to 4 cubic feet in size. The POL system also reduces overall power and cooling requirements and reduces the need for construction materials that are not environmentally friendly. This allows design engineer to reduced cost on structure and interior with extra advantages to both the customer and environment. For examples, research facility using POL system will results in a reduction of 8,000 pounds less plastic versus category 6 copper infrastructure and 28,000 pounds less plastic to a category 6A copper infrastructure. Therefore, design engineers enables to design a building with a 50% reduction in power consumption for the overall computer network using POL system. This POL system will benefit to architects to design a building with lower installation cables, maintenance and equipment cost.

Figure 1. POL system architectural inside a building

Meanwhile, fiber optic sensors is was a better choice replacement for existing sensors where the fiber sensor offer greater performance, safety and cost advantages to the end user. The fiber optic sensor has huge demand in new market whereby it still in development and deployment new technology to replace older technology. For example, fiber sensors were developed to support process control in manufacturing field. The selling points of advantages having these sensors are improvements in environmental ruggedness and safety, especially in areas where electrical discharges could be hazardous. In other way, fiber optic sensors are being mass-produced in the field of medicine where they are being used to measure blood gas parameters and dosage levels. Patient safety is guaranteed as they will not expose from electrical shock treat due to fiber optic sensor is passive to electricity. Therefore, fiber optic sensor technology was not applied in the automotive industry, construction industry and other relative users of sensors because of cost considerations. This can be expected to change as the improvements in optoelectronics and fiber optic communication continue to expand along with the continuing emergence of new fiber optic sensors.


The primary reason on using fiber optic communication is it is can be used to transfer data in a long distances. The fiber optic cable is much better than conventional cable in terms of wider bandwidth, lower loss, light weight, small size, strength, security, interference immunity and safety. It is also have a weakness which is hard to work with because it's small size and brittleness. Moreover, fiber optic cables are made from glass which has the lowest loss but is brittle and also made from plastic which is cheaper and more flexible, but has high attenuation.

Due to the reasons of fiber optic has more advantages over conventional cable in data transmission; copper wire communication has been largely replaced by fiber optic in network.

For future technologies, there is one new machine designed by Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Germany that can produce fiber optic film sheets. This fiber optic film sheets can be apply widely including displays, architectural lighting, and automobile interior lighting.

Further development of fiber optic cable in communication should be continued since it is more environmental friendly compare to the conventional communication cable. Other than having greater bandwidth of information transmission, we also can reduce impacts to the environment.


Thanks to Dr. Sevia Mahdaliza M. Idrus for giving us guidance and advises to complete this project. We are also thankful to our friends and classmates for providing information which is useful to this project.


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