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Blog posts tagged with 'Optic'

The Ways We Use Fiber Optics

Fiber optic cables play a pivotal role in our every day’s lives and particularly within the telecommunications industry. This is mainly due to the advantages they have over regular copper network cables in terms of bandwidth, distance, security and reliability.

Fiber Optics

The range of fiber optic cables can vary greatly depending on the type used and the applications hey are designed for.

Internet Connectivity

Simply put, fiber optic cables have a massive advantage over traditional copper cables in this sphere as they can carry much larger amounts of data at far greater speeds. Because of this they are used throughout the industry and online space.

Computer Networks

In recent years it has become far easier to transfer data between computers across a network by using fiber optic cables. This allows for massive time savings and improved efficiency within the work place. A notable example of the use of fiber optic cable within networks would be within modern stock exchanges as these require data transfers within the shortest times possible.

Telephone

Long gone are the days of telephone operators transferring customers calls. Over the last few decades fiber optics have become the standard in telephonic communication, replacing the now equally as dated copper based systems of the past. This has led to revolutions in our daily lives with everything from clearer telephone conversations to full on video chats that we make use of on a now regular basis.

Medical

Being light weight and flexible makes fiber optics ideal for use within medical applications. The need for minimally invasive surgery is a major component in the success of fiber optics, mainly in the area of small and compact medical instrumentation. These devices are primarily used within the aforementioned surgeries as well as in diagnosing patients.

Automotive

Within the automotive industry fiber optics primarily take on the function of providing lighting to both the interior and exterior of vehicles. That being said, fiber optic cables within cars can play a vital role in safety systems such as traction control and airbags by reducing the time it takes for these systems to kick-in.

Military, Defense and Space Exploration

It almost goes without saying that fiber optics play a vital role in modern military, defense and space exploration systems. They are deployed throughout these applications to reduce communication times for data transmissions as well as provide greater security and confidentiality.

Lighting and Decorating

While perhaps not being seem as ground breaking or vital as the previously mentioned applications, fiber optics have really cemented their place as a convenient and cost effect solution within many commercial industries. Everything from street lighting to birthday parties these days tends to make use of fiber optics.

 

Fiber Optics in Florida

Fiber optics in Florida grows as Fibertronics expands by 10,000 square feet at its Melbourne location and adds new division to build metal-box enclosures that house fiber optics.

Florida Skyline

The technology sector of the small-business market, especially, it seems, located in a hub around the North Drive area in Melbourne, is buzzing with growth. And some of these businesses have taken giant steps expanding their square footage, which means their employment base is growing, they are creating jobs, and their product is being well received by their customers. Existing small businesses and startups are the economic engine in America.

Fibertronics, which specializes in fiber-optic cable assemblies for the telecommunications industry as well as network products, is an example of a small business that has cut a path of success since it was started five years ago by area entrepreneurs Doug and Barbara Larson.

They saw a niche locally and created a company to fill it. Their business has grown from their two-car garage to 25,000 square feet at a facility on North Drive owned and managed by West Melbourne-based CIA Developers Inc. "We started in our garage and my wife was the 'terminator,' the person who terminates or builds the cables," said Doug Larson.

"Soon, our daughter started helping, as did our son. Then one of our daughter's friends came aboard the operation. The business was growing. We said 'this is not going to fit in the garage anymore.' We also had some personal belongings stored there, so we rented a 2,000 square-foot building." After one year in that building, Fibertronics needed more space and rented another 4,000 square feet. The business outgrew that space, too.

Doug Larson said he then contacted Aaron Anderson of CIA Developers. Anderson showed him a 15,000 square-foot building on North Drive. It's one of a number of facilities CIA Developers owns in that area. Fibertronics moved in and set up its operation.

Recently, the company leased another 10,000 square feet that is connected to the original unit that CIA Developers owns, bringing Fibertronics to 25,000 square feet at the North Drive facility. "We have doubled our business every year over the last five years and we're on track to do it again," said Doug Larson, whose company has grown from two to 27 people, including their son Mitchel Larson and their daughter Evelyn Vogt.

"We pride ourselves on quick turnaround, short lead times, and we are really pushing quality." He added that the company is growing at a "steady pace and we don't see any signs that it's going to slow down. Our growth is based on the Internet's growth. And the Internet is still growing at a radical rate. The Internet runs on fiber optics. So I would say the key to the success and growth of our company is the performance of the industry, which is fiber-optic communications."

According to the "Accenture Technology Vision 2015" report, in the rapidly growing "Internet of Things," companies are using "digital ecosystems" to offer new services, reshape experiences, and enter new markets. By 2020, there will be a "quarter billion" connected vehicles on the road, enabling new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities, according to Gartner Inc. During the next five years, the proportion of new vehicles equipped with this capability will increase dramatically, making connected cars a major element of the Internet of Things.

Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion "connected things" will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.

John Chambers, the president and chief executive officer of Cisco Systems, said in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that he sees the value of the evolving Internet of Things at $19 trillion, and gave a number of examples in support of his forecast.

Meanwhile, Fibertronics is well positioned to grow because its core customers include Fortune 200 companies that purchase in big volume from the company. "They tell us what they want, and we custom build it for them," Doug Larson said.

Doug Larson has owned a number of service-type businesses over the years. One day, he learned there were defense contractors in the region wanting to buy fiber-optic cables in a more timely fashion than what was currently available. Companies were having to wait a month or longer. "Coming from a service-business background, I couldn't imagine taking a month or so to do anything. So I started looking into what is involved in building fiber-optic cables." He continued, "Yes, it is kind of intense. But it takes hours to build a cable, not months. That's when I said, 'I think I have something.' Now we build cables for many defense contractors, though that is not our core customer."

Fibertronics, whose customers are mainly from out the state, builds small cables that have a lot of power because they contain fiber optics. "For example, we build 40 gigabyte and 100 gigabyte cable assemblies. We'll build as many as 1,000 cables a day. That's normal. We constantly strive to stay on the cutting edge of quality." Barbara Larson is a hands-on businesswoman with an eye on quality. "I like to build the cables in the back of the facility and work right among the employees to make sure everything flows smoothly." Fibertronics hired at least 10 people last year and three more recently. "We try to provide our employees with very good benefits because we want to retain them. They can grow along with company," she said. "We pay 100 percent of our employees' health insurance," added Doug Larson, "and that has nothing do with the mandated Affordable Care Act. We don't want turnover, which is costly to a business. We like to train new hires the company's way and give them the opportunity to advance up the ranks."

As it continues to grow, Fibertronics has expanded with a new division dedicated to building sheet-metal boxes - known in the industry as "enclosures"- that house the fiber optics. "A lot of the fiber-optics assemblies we build are installed in these metal boxes," he said. "So now, we are starting to make those cabinets for customers. We can now offer them a full network solution, including the fiber, all of the adapters, and so forth." He added, "When we ship the product and they receive it, all the customer has to do is plug it in." With the new division, Fibertronics has positioned itself to be a full-service firm. The company has made a significant investment in new machinery to build the enclosures and be able to offer a customized solution for its customers. "The customer can call one company - Fibertronics - and we're able to provide them with a whole solution. This new division fits perfectly with our core product and our market niche," Doug Larson said.

Brevard Business News

How to Fusion Splice Fiber Optic Cable

Fusion Splicing is simply joining two optical fibers together by making use of heat. The two optical fibers should be fused in such as way as to allow light to be passed through them without scattering or reflecting light back at the point of the splice.

Cable Stripping

 

The heat used to fuse the two fibers together is usually in the form of an electric arc, however it can also be achieved using a laser or even gas flame, but these methods are considered dated and inferior . This very simple Fusion Splicing guide should help to explain the process without getting too technical.

What You'll Need

  1. Fiber Strippers
  2. Kevlar Cutter
  3. Splice Sleeves
  4. Alcohol Wipes
  5. Fiber Optic Cleaver
  6. Microscope (Not mandatory, but very useful for checking fiber ends)
  7. Fusion Splicer

 


 

Step 1: Stripping the Fibers 

Stripping FiberIt sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately this is not quite as simple as stripping the simple coating of your average house-hold copper cable. In this case you will first be removing the polymer coating by making use of Fiber Strippers, which are specially designed for stripping the coating off the fiber. Ideally 1 and half inches (40 mm) should be removed from each end of the fiber you are joining. This should be done incrementally and gently while ensuring the stripper is held at a slight angle during the process.

With the coating stripped from the fibers it is now time to simply clip away any excess, exposed Kevlar with your Kevlar cutter. Once completed slide one of your Splice Sleeves onto one of your fiber, you may not be able to do this once you have spliced the two fibers together so it is best to do it now.

 


 

Step 2: Clean, Cleave and Clean Again 

Cleave CableKeeping the fibers clean is of the utmost importance when it comes to fusion splicing. It cannot be repeated enough, ensure that the fibers you are working with are cleaned after every major interaction with them. You do this by gently wiping them down with Alcohol Wipes.

Once clean it is time to cleave the fibers. The fiber should ideally be cleaved using what is know as the score-and -break method, this is done to ensure that the end face is perfectly flat and perpendicular to the axis of the fiber. This is best done by making use of a quality Fiber Optic Cleaver. The closer the cleave angle is to 90 degrees on both fibers the better, this will result in less optical loss from the splice. After cleaving both fibers it is time to once again clean the ends with the Alcohol Wipes.

 


 

Step 3: Fusion Splicing 

Fusion SplicingIt is now time to make use of your Fusion Splicer, begin by placing each fiber into the guides on the Fusion Splicer and clamp them into places securely. Close the lid of the splicer and be sure to select the correct settings on the monitor and program in the correct fiber types into the Fusion Splicer. The fiber ends will be automatically moved into position, at this point a profuse cycle will begin and any remaining dirt on the fiber ends will be removed as preheating begins. Next the fusion splicer will attempt to align the two fibers by inspecting the cleaves, bad cleaves will result in misalignment and will be rejected. If the cleaves are good the fibers will be fused by an automatic arc cycle that heats the ends and feeds the fibers together at a controlled rate.

Once fusion has been completed the Fusion Splicer will inspect the splice and estimate the total optical loss of the splice. Should it need to be remade it will inform you. If all goes according to plan it is now time to remove the fibers from the guides and move the splice protector over the splice and shrink it to fit (Most splicing machines have a heating device for heat shrinking protective sleeves).

 


 

As previously mentioned, this is a very simple guide. There are many variables that must be taken into account when you are splicing different types of fiber. So while it is difficult to get down to specifics hopefully this guide should give you a good idea of the process as a whole and get you started. Just remember to take your time while splicing in order ensure a good clean splice, it will save time in the long run.

Need a Fusion Splicer? Check out the FS-8993 Core Alignment Fusion Splicer Kit.

How Do Fiber Optics Work?

These days fiber optic cables are used everywhere to connect our modern world and are able to send information across countries and vast oceans, but how do they work? Before we get too stuck in to the more technical stuff, why not check out the video below for a nice, simple summary of how it all comes together. 

 

How They Work 

Fiber optics are fairly simple to understand on a basic level. Essentially information in the form of light is sent from one place to another, this is generally done through fiber optic cable. The beauty of this comes from something known as Total Internal Reflection (TIR), what this means is that the light is able to be sent through a flexible fiber optic cable by simply ‘bouncing from one surface to another’ until it reaches it’s destination.

Internal Reflection Diagram
 

Reflection vs Refraction 

Any time light strikes a surface it can either be reflected from it (reflection) or pass through it (refraction). The key to transmission of light via fiber optics is to ensure that light hits the surface greater than the critical angle to ensure complete reflection and not refraction. This requires quite a bit of mathematics, but to simplify it one should ensure that the angle of the surface the light hits is not too great so as to ensure reflection takes place and not refraction.
 

Understanding the Structure of Fiber Optic Cable 

Fiber optic cable typically contains a core made of ultra-pure glass which is then surrounded by an outside layer of glass known as cladding. The cladding is designed manufactured in such a way as to decrease it’s index of refraction by using small bits of boron or germanium. The core and cladding are manufactured as a very long, thin piece of glass that is made by heating what is know as a preform with the center being the pure glass core and the outside is the cladding. It is then stretched to an length of unusually around 18.2 m (60 ft).

Single mode Diagram

Sending Data by Light 

Data is sent and received in our modern society in what is known as binary numbers, essentially 1’s and 0’s. Think of it as a light switch with 2 settings, either On (1) or Off (0). If you turn the light on and off at the switch with a specific pattern it can be used to form somewhat complex messages. Such as the example one below:

Binary Hello

Data is sent similarly through fiber optic cable in the form of laser light pulses using what is known as Pulse Code Modulation or PCM. Unfortunately this is a lengthy topic which maybe discussed in a future article.

In Summary 

Fiber optics allows us to send information across the globe at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second ) via specifically designed fiber optic cables by making clever use of light reflection and refraction.