Are Fiber Optics the Future? September 15, 2017 – Posted in: Technology


The internet is one of the most important resources in the world today. Everything from work, to communication, to e-commerces and business are all performed in this digital space. So as the importance and many utilities of the internet grows, so does the demand for faster internet speeds. Many believe the future of internet is through Fiber Optics. 

Fiber optics differs from many of its competitors such as cable and dsl. Fiber optics is built of strands of glass, and instead of transmitting electrical signals such as cable or dsl, it transmits with pulses of light. With these techniques the capacity on one of these strands is limitless. 

Constantly new innovation is being discovered about fiber optics as well. Recently scientists discovered how to recover information from light twisted in a spiral. This light can send far more information with the spiral than when compared to the standard vertical and horizontal light. With this new discovery internet speeds could be increased 100x. All of this technology can also be added directly into all pre-existing fiber optic lines. 

With the information given fiber optics is the best option, so why isn’t it available everywhere? There are a few challenges that are associated with fiber optics. For one it is the most expensive option. To lay the groundwork, all the lines, and infrastructure would have to be built up from scratch. Another pitfall of fiber optics is that every 60 miles the connection needs to be tethered to an ILA or in-line amplification shelter. And to build and man these ILA’s it can get expensive for providers. Digging holes for all of the lines, is also challenging with existing infrastructure and is costly. So bringing fiber optics to a new area is very challenging logistically and financially. 

With all of that said fiber optics is a great tool. In places where the lines have already been placed this is the fastest and most reliable option currently available. An internet service provider wisconsin rapids, wi often has lots of success with fiber optics, and consumers are very satisfied with the speeds and reliability. With the groundwork and infrastructure in place fiber optics is a great option. 

But fiber optics also has many competitors on the horizon. The likes of Elon Musk and SpaceX are trying to take control over the internet provider race. Starlink, the SpaceX internet provider, have plans to send 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit. Currently there is satellite internet, but it is plagued with speeds. These satellites are upwards of 20,000 miles away from Earth’s surface and causes latency due to the distance. SpaceX’s plan is to launch these satellites as close as 400 miles away from Earth’s surface, and with the amount of satellites Starlink would have, areas of the world that has never had consistent internet will be connected with super high speeds. Fiber Optics could connect these places in similar ways, but the cost to reach small areas may not be worth it for providers financially. 

While it is hard to predict the future of internet service. One thing is for certain fiber optics is a beneficial to any consumer that can get it locally in their area. Future ISP’s very well may rely on fiber optics for internet of the future.