fibre optics ==>
<communications> (fibre optics, FO, US "fiber", light pipe) A plastic or
glass (silicon dioxide) fibre no thicker than a human hair used to transmit
information using infra-red or even visible light as the carrier (usually a
laser). The light beam is an electromagnetic signal with a frequency in the
range of 10^14 to 10^15 Hertz.
Optical fibre is less susceptible to external noise than other transmission
media, and is cheaper to make than copper wire, but it is much more difficult to
connect. Optical fibres are difficult to tamper with (to monitor or inject data
in the middle of a connection), making them appropriate for secure
communications. The light beams do not escape from the medium because the
material used provides total internal reflection.
AT&T Bell Laboratories in the United States managed to send information at a
rate of 420 megabits per second, over 161.5 km through an optical fibre cable.
In Japan, 445.8 megabits per second was achieved over a shorter distance. At
this rate, the entire text of the Encyclopedia Britannica could be transmitted
in one second. Currently, AT&T is working on a world network to support high
volume data transmission, international computer networking, electronic mail and
voice communications (a single fibre can transmit 200 million telephone
See also FDDI, Optical Carrier n, SONET.
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