Fibre broadband has been around for a long time. However, only recently it has become accessible to the average user. These internet connections are faster than the traditional ones that use copper cables. This blog covers fiber broadband: its functioning, types, and applications.
What is fibre broadband, and how does it work?
Fibre broadband is an internet broadband connection that uses special glass fibers known as optical fibres. These optical fibers carry data in the form of light, whereas conventional copper cables use electrical signals.
Light signals travel through the optical fibre because of Total Internal Reflection (TIR). TIR is the phenomenon where the light gets reflected when travelling from one medium to another. The light must travel slowly in the first medium than in the second for the TIR to happen and it must hit the boundary of these two mediums at a specific angle.
The following diagram shows TIR.
We use TIR in optical fibre and not ordinary reflection because TIR ensures zero loss. In regular light reflection, energy in the light gets dissipated; in TIR, it does not.
Different types of fibre broadband
Fibre internet types are as follows:
FTTH or FTTP
It is the abbreviation of Fibre-to-the-curb. Here, an optical fiber from the internet service provider (ISP) will reach a pole or a curb near our house. From here, we will get the internet through a coaxial cable. So, our connection would be part optical fibre and part traditional.
It stands for Fiber-to-the-neighbourhood. Optical fibre will connect the ISP and a node in a neighbourhood. All the consumers in that neighbourhood will get the internet through a coaxial cable from that node. It is the slowest type of connection, and our internet speed will depend on how far away we’re from the node.
Why fibre broadband over wireless broadband?
Fiber optic broadband has many benefits over wireless broadband. Wireless signals travel through frequency bands. These bands can overlap and can reduce the overall performance of the network. However, light signals in two separate optical fibres can never overlap. Therefore, fiber broadband offers faster connection speeds.
Signals in wireless broadband get weaker as they get absorbed by air, buildings, trees, etc. However, optical signals through fibre optics don’t degrade, and hence we can use them for long-range communication.
Fiber optic internet is more secure than wireless broadband. Anyone can get a signal from wireless broadband, and there is a chance that people can hack it. On the contrary, you need physical access to an optical fibre terminal to utilise the network.
Application of fibre broadbands
We can use fibre broadband wherever we need a high-speed, reliable internet connection.
- Game Streaming: We can stream high-quality videos with coaxial cables. However, we can stream games over the internet using a fast fiber optic connection. Streaming games requires faster downloads and low latency. Low latency means our response must be instantly visible on the screen; Fibre broadband makes it possible.
- Telemedicine: With a high-quality fibre internet connection, we can consult doctors remotely. This practice is called telemedicine.
- Work-from-home: People have got used to working from home after the pandemic. Only IT professionals could work from home due to the slower internet speeds in the past. Fibre internet connection has changed this situation. Even people working in multimedia and animation can now log on to their work computer from their homes and work seamlessly.
Fiber broadbands for business
Due to the reliable high speeds provided by fibre broadbands, businesses can leverage it in various ways:
- The high speed provided by the fiber broadband can improve the productivity of the employees, which will help deliver better service to customers.
- Higher reliability will improve business operations reducing downtime.
- Higher bandwidth will improve the quality of service that will be offered to the customers. Employees can also share more files and conduct high-quality video conferencing easily.
- Fibre optics provides low latency, which is necessary for remote access to specific applications. Moreover, employees can effortlessly collaborate on projects because of the reduced lag.
Which is better: broadband or Fiber?
Both are entirely different concepts. Broadband refers to the internet connection technology that has high bandwidth. On the other hand, fibre refers to optical fiber, which is a method of delivering a broadband internet connection. There are many such methods: DSL, wireless, and cable. However, fibre optic internet connection is by far the fastest and most reliable one. This form of internet connection uses optical fibers, which have a glass core through which light signals travel. DSL broadband uses copper cables to transmit electrical signals and wireless broadband uses radio waves to communicate.
What is meant by fiber broadband?
Fibre broadband is a fast broadband technology delivered through optical fibres. These optical fibers have a glass core through which light signals travel. The three types of fiber broadband: are FTTP, FTTC, and FTTN. These three refer to the extent fibre optics is used for delivering fibre optic connection. In FTTP, we get optical fiber optic cables that directly provide internet to our home. FTTC offers internet through optical fibres to a point near our home. In FTTN, the optical cables only arrive at a node in our neighbourhood. Coaxial cable provides the rest of the connection.
What’s the difference between fiber broadband and WiFi?
Broadband that delivers internet connection through optical fibre technology is fiber broadband. The three types are: FTTP, FTTC, and FTTN. These are abbreviations for Fibre-to-the-premises, Fibre-to-the-curb, and Fibre-to-the-neighbourhood. These fibre broadband internet connections use light pulses travelling through optical fiber to communicate. WiFi stands for wireless fidelity. It uses radio waves to provide access to the internet. However, WiFi can only be used in a short-range, as the wireless signals degrade with distance. On the contrary, we can send data through fiber optics between continents. Usually, we use them together.
Do I need a router for fiber?
Yes, we require a router for fiber optic broadband connection. Fibre is only the medium through which data travels from one node to another. A router’s job is to analyze the data and send it to the correct IP address. If our fiber broadband connection is Fibre-to-the-curb or Fibre-to-the-neighborhood, we can use your regular router. However, if you have a Fibre-to-the-premises connection, you need a router that can connect to the ONT. An ONT is a modem equivalent for the optical fiber network; it stands for Optical Network Terminal.
How does fibre installation work?
Fiber network installation can be either Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), Fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC), or Fibre-to-the-neighborhood(FTTN). For FTTC and FTTN, we can use our regular router that connects to a coaxial cable. However, we require a specialized router that connects to the ONT for FTTP optic broadband. The cost of installation will depend on the length of optical fiber we need within our premises.