Fiber Optic Networks

Every blog has to start somewhere, and what better topic to tackle than one that is at the core of Alpheus Communications – fiber networking.  I’m often asked by customers about the performance and selection of network technologies, copper vs cable vs fiber.  The answer is always – it depends on the application, usage and projected bandwidth growth.   As Alpheus’ regional and metro network is built on fiber optics technology I will focus a few posts on fiber networks – a little bit of history, evolution of technology, service options and benefits to customers.

In our increasingly connected world, where the size and scope of the Internet doubles every two years, businesses need to access data, and our customers need to access that data as quickly as possible through high-bandwidth, secure networks. Fiber optic networks ensure that access is both available and protected.

Traditionally, information was exchanged throughout a network with the use of copper cables. Then microwave technology evolved to enable the wireless transmission of data across long distances using radio frequencies.  But perhaps the biggest revolution to the networking industry came with the introduction of fiber optics, a media that transmits data with light which passes through fiber strands as thin as human hair.

Fiber optic cable – a tiny strand of glass, has the ability to transmit multiple light waves, each lightwave carrying high rates of data for high-bandwidth transmission.  Originally, fiber optic technology is deployed in the network core where large amount of network data is aggregated.  As data usage increases, fiber optic networks are extending beyond the core to business offices, data centers, cell sites, and residential neighborhoods.  With its limitless capacity to carry lightwaves/data, fiber networks are extremely versatile when it comes to evolving bandwidth needs because data transmission is not bound by the physics of the glass, but by the equipment and lasers connected to the fiber cables.

With fiber optic networks, as the bandwidth requirement increases, you don’t have to lay more cable through physical construction across streets and neighborhoods.  Increasing data capacity is achieved through upgrading the transmission equipment that can generate more lightwaves per strand, hence increasing bandwidth.

The physics of fiber optic networks allow companies to save money on construction costs over the long term, because once the media that transmits data is built, it doesn’t need to be replaced to accommodate increased bandwidth requirements. Instead, when needs change, the equipment around the fiber can be modified to meet those needs, making fiber network services a viable option for future proofing your business.

Francisco Maella, COO, Alpheus Communications