What is fiber? 

While our technological world may seem like an increasingly wireless one, it still relies on a lot of hardware. A massive infrastructural system is needed to support the growing demands of high-speed internet access, streaming, cloud computing, and telecom networks connecting millions of mobile devices.  The central spinal structure of that system is fiber.  

Fiber consists of extremely thin strands of glass or plastic, called optical fibers — which are bundled together within a protective sheath or jacket. These cables are deployed underground, underwater and overhead, and they provide the foundational backbone for high-speed internet and telecom network connectivity as well as data transmission across the country. 

Inside the innermost layer of each optical strand is what makes the technology fascinating and transformative for the modern world — it's where light travels. Unlike traditional copper wires, which transmit data using electrical signals, fiber optic cables use light pulses to carry information. When data is transmitted, it's converted into pulses of light, which travel through the core of the fiber at incredibly high speeds.  

Fiber can achieve over 1,000 times as much bandwidth as copper and travel over a 100 times farther and with less signal degradation. The core is surrounded by a layer called the cladding, reflecting the light back into the core, keeping it confined and allowing it to travel without significant loss of signal.

Additionally, fiber optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI), which make them ideal for environments with high electrical noise. And it is also often one of the greenest broadband deployment methods. Thanks to these features, fiber optics has become the backbone of telecom networks — supporting everything from internet connections and phone calls to TV and streaming. 

The modern technological world heavily relies on the foundation of fiber networks.