Fibre Optic Broadband - How does it work?

By Jak Fishwick on 13/10/2021 16:26

Whether you have just heard about it from a neighbor, provider, or family member, or even if you have it installed already, you may have a lot of questions about how it works and if it's worth paying the premium compared to copper cable broadband connection from which you get from your phone lines. 

In this article, we will be talking about how Fibre works, the benefits to Fibre, and Recommended Providers.

How does Fibre Optic work?

The way Fibre works is very similar to how your normal copper-style cable works but it is a lot more efficient, safe, and reliable for a multitude of reasons. 

To emphasize the differences between copper wire and fiber optic cable, I'm going to explain how copper works. There are 2 types of copper cabling used in a network. There are twisted-pair cabling and coaxial cabling. We can subcategories this more by talking about the different types of twisted pair cabling but we are going to leave that out of this article just for the sake of not overcomplicating things.

The main thing you need to know about copper cable is that it works by transmitting data across a copper core. This is usually fine unless you live in extreme conditions, live far from a data center, or require/want a fast, reliable, and high bandwidth connection.

Now fiber works in a similar way with transmitting signals but instead of electrical signals, it transmits optical signals by shooting light signals at high speed down an optical fiber. These fibers are made of glass and light pulses through the glass fiber and the cable can carry light over very long distances under oceans and through the ground so you can get WiFi at your house with minimal signal loss. This is because Fibre doesn't get affected by electromagnetic interference.

Optical technologies have made it so you can upload and download data at great speeds. With a fiber optic cable you are currently able to transmit gigabit speeds (1000 Mbps). With Optical cabling, light is shot down the cable against the walls until it hits the critical angle and bounces down the line; this is called total internal reflection. However, fiber optics don't always transmit gigabit speeds and that's due to the cabling being not truly transparent.

You can figure out how fast light travels through a fiber with the refractive index.

Speed and bandwidth can increase though if you are connected via single-mode fiber. This is impractical because the cost increases while the bandwidth decreases. On top of that, at BT, those who run all the cabling for the internet don't offer single-mode fiber packages.


Recommended Providers:

As far as networking in the UK, the entire network is owned, ran and maintained by BT (Plusnet). So your broadband speed will only be as fast as BT advertises, however, some providers may offer better servers and cheaper prices. Some honorable mentions are:

  • Plusnet
  • TalkTalk
  • VirginMedia
  • Sky
  • NowTV
  • Origin Broadband

All of these ISP's are giants in terms of the UK's network and all have a positive reputation in the history of the internet and getting you connected.


In Conclusion

Overall if you are just a regular user of the internet using it for watching youtube or browsing the web then you probably won’t benefit from fibre cabling, especially fttp. However, if you have a home where you have multiple devices streaming HD video simultaneously or if you play video games then fibre optic broadband is a  nice thing to have


Jak Fishwick

Jak works for as an SEO Specialist.

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