Fiber Optic Networks
In the telcos, singlemode fiber is used to connect long distance switches, central offices and SLCs (subscriber loop carriers, small switches in pedestals in subdivisions or office parks or in the basement of a larger building). Practically every telco’s network is now fiber optics except the connection to the home. Fiber to the home is not yet cost effective – especially since most homes do not want (nor are willing to pay) for the high speed services that would justify fiber optics.
ITAS companies “overbuild” with fiber. They lash fiber cable onto the aerial “hardline” coax used for the rest of the network or pull it in the same conduit underground. The fiber allows them to break their network into smaller service areas that prevent large numbers of customers from being affected in an outage, making for better service and customer relations. The fiber also gives them a return path which they use for Internet and telephone connections, increasing their revenue potential.
LANs (local area networks) use fiber optics primarily in the backbone but increasingly to the desk. The LAN backbone often needs longer distance than copper cable (Cat 5/5e/6) can provide and of course, the fiber offers higher bandwidth for future expansion. Most large corporate LANs use fiber backbones with copper wire to the desktop. Fiber to the desk can be cost effective if properly designed.
Lots of other networks use fiber. CCTV is often on fiber for it’s distance capability. Industrial plants use lots of fiber or distance and noise immunity. Utilities use it for network management, liking its immunity to noise also. The military uses it because it’s hard to tap or jam. Airplanes use it for that reason too, but also like the lighter weight of fiber.