When used in short distance application, such as a network in an office building, fiber-optic cabling can save space.
Optical fiber can be used for telecommunication and computer networking because it is flexible and can be bundled as cables. Optical fiber is especially used in long-distance communications, because light propagates through the fiber with minimal signal loss compared to electrical cables. This allows long distances to be spanned with few repeaters. Each fiber can carry many independent channels, each using a different wavelength of light. Fiber optics is not only good for long-distance application. When used in short distance application, such as a network in an office building, fiber-optic cabling can save space in cable ducts. Single fiber can carry much more data than electrical cables such as standard category 5 Ethernet cabling, which typically runs at 100 Mbit/s or 1 Gbit/s speeds. Fiber is also immune to electrical interference; there is no cross-talk between signals in different cables, and no pickup of environmental noise. Non-armored fiber cables do not conduct electricity, which makes fiber a good solution for protecting communications equipment in high voltage environments, such as power generation facilities, or metal communication structures prone to lightning strikes. They can also be used in environments where explosive fumes are present, without danger of ignition.
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