Fibre optic lines are literally strands of pure glass as thin as human hair that carry digital information over long distances using pulses of light – at the speed of light through glass! Many signals or pulses can be sent down the fibre at once, so in the future faster speed can be provided by illuminating different colours of light down the fibre. The strand of glass (or sometimes more than one strand) are protected by a plastic casing, although are very flexible and can bend around corners. In Australia, fibre optic cables have been used for many years to provide links between communities and cities as they can carry huge amounts of information at very high speeds. Fibre optic is also what is used for submarine cables that connect countries around the world together and enables the world wide web.
By Alcatel-Lucent Asia-Pacific director of Innovation, Geof Heydon