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The Ins And Outs Of Choosing A Fiber Internet Provider
By now, there's almost no doubt that the Fiber Internet provider will be the wave of the future. There are simply too many advantages over the old, familiar copper wire-based Internet. At this point it's just a matter of bringing down the cost of this new service to where it's competitive. Once that happens, not only our broadband access but our Cable TV and telephone services will be transformed.
Fiber-optics works by firing a laser through a tiny optic fiber instead of electricity through a copper wire. It's typically used for higher bandwidths, though you will often see it see applied to longer distant signalling. Typically, fiber can carry broadband at 50 Mbps or 20 Mbps downstream, with 20 Mbps or 5 Mbps upstream.
Wires come with certain headaches which made finding a better way desirable. For one, they're prone to electromagnetic interference. This includes interference from other wires in the bundle, which is the cause of the signal "crosstalking" we're all somewhat familiar with. They are subject to various parasitic effects whenever they travel near power lines or other electromagnetic sources. These all cause resistance, and with that resistance a weakening of the signal.
A single optic bundle can do what by wire can only be accomplished by inserting a repeater every few kilometers. There's almost no degradation. Because the cable is nearly inert from a magnetic perspective, it is used for certain short-distance applications such as telecommunications within power stations. Because its lack of ambient electromagnetic fields make it much harder to "tap" a laser than an electric current flowing through a wire, fibre-optics is preferred in high-security systems. Because of its light weight relative to copper, it's preferred in airplanes.
The lack of electromagnetic interference translates itself neatly into a high electrical resistance. There is also none of copper wire's tendency to spark. Both these factors make the fiber-optic cable not just more efficient, but safer to use as well.
Wire still has advantages in availability, simply from being such an old technology. The infrastructure is just about omnipresent. Wire is also considerably less expensive, as one would expect from an older, and quite simple technology. Prices for fibre-optics based Internet service range from a reasonable fifty dollars per month where infrastructure is ready to in the vicinity of two hundred dollars where it is available but not entirely in place.
Typically, the signal is digitized, then fired from a transmitter that converts it into light, to a receiver that restores the light into an electromagnetic signal. Both the transmitter and the receiver are sophisticated devices in themselves, but once again, the loss of signal degradation relative to electric signals means that it would be unnecessary to periodical retransmit the signal down-wire every few thousand kilometers, as one must with electricity.
With cost to customer going down, and infrastructure availability going up, it's pretty clear which technology is likely to carry the future. The result will be a much greater availability of broadband access to the general public. The Fiber Internet provider is lighting up pathways to future, mile after inexorable mile.
March 6, 2015, 6:04:15 pm, America/Chicago