The oft-termed “Information Age” is an era in which entire markets, industries, economies, and nation states themselves hinge profoundly upon data and its transmission rate and capacity. Financial sectors the world over, trading groups in countries large and small, tech-savvy militaries, top-notch research institutions, and prestigious marketing firms rely to a high degree upon real-time actionable information. Knowledge whose storage was once limited to scarce books and the imperfect memories of bards and clergymen is now the domain of all who see fit to wield it.
Organizing knowledge and contextualizing it in a useful and sensitive manner requires reliable access across the full range of online data depositories. Though copper, a fixture in the telecommunications realm for very nearly two centuries’ time, was a more than suitable place holder since first the messenger made its exit from the historical stage, the late-20th century emergence of fiber optics would usher in a veritable red carpet upon which the Information Age could comfortably debut itself to the world’s scrutinizing gaze.
And fiber optics, for its part, has not disappointed, for the data transmission capacity it boasts remains a breathtaking development within the annals of technological achievement.
An ever-shrinking world has been the ongoing effect of tremendous communication advances in recent decades. Where radio and telecommunications once reigned supreme, the Internet has moved to the forefront as a virtual global community unto itself. Peoples separated by distance, language, and culture are now able to transcend it all by engaging with a vast web of interconnected computing machines, and more or less in real time.
But such transcendent interconnectivity requires physical infrastructure of a sturdy and reliable sort in order to function properly and consistently. Copper was once the lifeline of the developed world’s far-flung interconnectivity matrix, as the metal is extremely conductive and existed in fairly accessible abundance. But, as it turns out, copper is notably inferior to fiber optic communication in terms of its ability to convey signals.
The basics of fiber optics are actually fairly complex in their own right, but the functionality is as straightforward as it is ubiquitous throughout the world. Just as copper is a superb electric conductor, fiber optics allow for the swift conveyance of light signals via strands of transparent plastics or glass. Furthermore, fiber optics are suitable for housing a plurality of signals within their conduits, hence their utility in an information-dependent economy which itself relies on numerous forms of communicative connection.
Thus, the parallel running of telephonic and Internet signals within a single conduit has become more than a technological imperative—it is an industry standard upon which the developed world is, at large, rather dependent. There do exist various instances in which the basics of fiber optics find themselves matched by copper’s standard functionality, but by and large the edge lies with fiber optic interconnectivity as a safe and cost-effective core of communication infrastructure.
A Range of Uses
Yet another reason terms such as “the basics of fiber optics” border on being misleading is their wide-range of industrial and residential applications, with lighting taking center stage, so to speak, in that regard. Decorative illumination schemes, safety of use (such as in bodies of water), and comparatively painless installation measures are but a few of the attractive properties of employing fiber optic illumination fixtures where possible or necessary.
Present and Future
Human progress is seemingly limited only by the human imagination, a limitation which rarely endures. There is no telling what the future holds for our species, but a few certainties persist. Populations will increase and humanity will continue boundaries both physical and cerebral. Continued reliance upon metal telecommunication measures will eventually be viewed as less a tolerable remnant of technological infancy and more as a hindrance upon the progress for which we collectively yearn.
Copper, though deserving of its storied place in telecommunication history, simply falls short of its fiber optics counterpart in terms of bandwidth and conveyance speed. The reliability factor will, on its own, lead to a wholesale phasing out of lesser connectivity means, as the still dawning Information Age requires more and more of its technological enablers. Nostalgia alone is rarely enough to safeguard obsolete means from the graveyard history, despite the sentimental toll the recognition of said obsolescence might demand of the more sensitive-minded amongst us.
The basics of fiber optics suggest a singular path forward in this regard, at least as it pertains to the connective foundation upon which rests our data-fixated civilization.
To learn more, be sure to connect with the team at 21st Century Network Cabling for all your fiber optics needs.