Fiber optics, or optical fiber, refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light pulses along a glass or plastic strand or fiber. Fiber optics is used long-distance and high-performance data networking.
How fiber optics works
Fiber optics transmit data in the form of light particles — or photons — that pulse through a fiber optic cable. The glass fiber core and the cladding each have a different refractive index that bends incoming light at a certain angle. When light signals are sent through the fiber optic cable, they reflect off the core and cladding in a series of zig-zag bounces, adhering to a process called total internal reflection. The light signals do not travel at the speed of light because of the denser glass layers, instead traveling about 30% slower than the speed of light. To renew, or boost, the signal throughout its journey, fiber optics transmission sometimes requires repeaters at distant intervals to regenerate the optical signal by converting it to an electrical signal, processing that electrical signal and retransmitting the optical signal.