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What is Fiber Optic Internet: A Light Discussion

Light, the fastest thing known to us. Imagine if your internet moved this fast. This is the definition of fiber optic internet, information at the speed of light. Many believe that this way of transmitting data is Buck Rogers stuff, however the method of manipulating light for uses other than illumination has been around since the 1700s and that Alexander Graham Bell actually patented an optical phone called the Photophone in the 19th Century. This technology that has eluded the consumer for so long, has finally become mainstream. Its first commercial use came with the use of fiber technology in endoscopes to help doctors see inside us (ouch!).

As ADSL joins its friends, the VHS and Windows XP, in the historical archives of technology, fiber optic internet is its worthy replacement. Gone, are the risks of distance from the exchange box, promises of line speed that you only get a fraction of or the theft of copper cables. Fiber (as it is affectionately called) guarantees constant, consistent speed, allowing you to take your online activities to the next level and you can’t steal the cable because once it has been broken it is worthless.


Fiber Optic Internet

Light moving through a cable.

How does it work?

you may ask.  In a nutshell, beams of coded light are sent through a thin glass/plastic tube, tubes thinner than a strand of hair. One strand can handle around 20 000 phone calls. Initially this technology was only available to governments, corporates and the military, but like all technology, the cost has eventually become within reach for installations popularly called Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Before FTTH becomes available to you, there has to be miles of fiber optic cables laid next to the pavements, in front of the homes of potential clients. There is no internet flowing through these cables yet, until a cable is run to a customer’s home from the pavement via what is called an Optical Network Point (ONT), which is usually fastened to a wall outside the house and then linked to a router inside the home. An internet service provider will “light up” the fiber cable to provide internet to this home. Of course there are more intricacies involved with the process, but when a client calls us, this is the basic knowledge that we believe is important for them to know.

What Are the Advantages

  • Buffering will become unheard of, HD will be the only order of the day.
  • The old copper telephone will be replaced by Voice over IP, which basically means making phone calls over the internet.
  • “Smart Homes” will be more accessible

In the next blog, we will talk about what prices to expect.

Want to know if you can get it, pop a mail to info@atbusinesssolution.co.za and we will have a look.

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