Are fibre optics the future?

As the world becomes ever more connected, the future of fibre optics looks increasingly bright. There is a global demand for high-speed connectivity and bandwidth that can cope with vast amounts of data that is rising exponentially, particularly among developing countries. The ability to share knowledge and communications at unprecedented levels means that fibre optic technology lies at the heart of twenty-first-century priorities.

What are fibre optics?

Fibre optics are flexible, transparent cables that are used to transmit data, images and audio via the passage of infrared light through thin fibres. And these fibres that are made of glass and occasionally plastic are extremely thin - a typical outer thread has a diameter of 125 micrometres (about the same as a human hair) while the transmitting cylinder is even tinier. In the telecommunications industry, fibre optics have almost completely replaced the copper wires that were previously used. Fibre optics are capable of transmitting light over enormously long distances.

What are fibre optics used for?

Fibre optics are an essential part of the telecommunications sector, but they also have several other applications, mainly in the medical and aerospace industries.

The world of medicine has used fibre optics for image transfer, illumination, and laser signal delivery for several decades. The fibre optics future in the medical sector is expected to become even more widespread. There is a developing technology that uses fibre optics, for example, that expedites the treatment of tumours and the healing process of wounds.

Stringent standards are necessary for the challenging conditions of the civil aerospace industry, and fibre optic cables have recently been used to provide reliable and fast data transmission in a variety of aircraft. You may have noticed this if you have taken a recent flight. There is now no need to turn off your mobile phone, and you can access wifi throughout your time in the air. The use of fibre optics enables a smooth in-flight entertainment experience without risking any compromise to the complicated electrical systems installed in the aircraft.

5G - a crucial part of the fibre optics future

With the recent successful launch of the Starlink satellites, 5G will soon succeed 4G telecommunications which currently offer connectivity to most mobile phones. Although there is a widespread assumption that 5G will replace cabled networks, the revolutionary aims of 5G would be impossible without the terrestrial infrastructure provided by fibre optics. The two technologies will complement each other, and the 5G networks will primarily be used to bridge the gap between mobile devices and fibre cables.

Although many are satisfied with the performance of 4G, which was introduced in 2008, there are many parts of the world where connectivity is inadequate or non-existent. 5G will offer virtually 100% connectivity anywhere in the world with ultra-fast speeds. It is predicted, for example, that you will be able to download a three-hour movie in a couple of seconds.

Many masts have been erected, the satellites have been launched - it is now only a short time until 5G is widely available and it will have an impact on fibre-optic requirements. The possibilities of 5G are virtually unlimited, but a smart, fibre-deep infrastructure remains paramount to making the vision an actuality. It's clear that the 5G customer experience will rely heavily on the ground network of fibre optic cables.

Whitestar specialises in providing the latest data and electrical installation solutions to clients across a wide range of sectors including education, sport, commercial, transport, public sector and more. Use our expertise and let us provide you with a bespoke fibre optics future solution that is fit for the twenty-first century.