Advantages and Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Communication


Nowadays, optical fiber communication stands out in the optical communication industry to be the mainstay of modern communication. As an emerging tech, the development pace of optical fiber communication and a wide range of applications are unprecedented in the communication industry. However, what does it make so? What are the advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber communication? Well, we will get the answer from this article.

In the modern communication network, there are three pillars: optic fiber communication, satellite communication, and radio communication, in which optic fiber communication is regarded as the principal sector of them. It’s due to that it has various outstanding benefits.

Advantages of Optical Fiber Communication

  1. With Higher Bandwidth and Large Communication Capacity

The available bandwidth for fiber is about 50000GHz. 1.7Gb/s optic fiber communication system adopted in 1987, in which a pair of fibers can simultaneously transmit 24192 channels of telephones; 2.4Gb/s system can transmit 30000 channels of telephones. Bandwidth plays a key role in transmitting various kinds of broadband information. Otherwise, it will not meet the needs of future Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network (B-ISDN)

  1. With Low Loss and Long transmission distance without Repeater

the loss of fiber is very low. When the optic wavelength is about 1.55μm, the loss of silica fiber is lower than 0.2dB/km, which is lower than any transmission media. So the transmission distance without repeater can reach to tens of or hundreds of miles. On account of the low loss of fiber, the long-distance transmission without repeater can be achieved. In the optical fiber communication system consisting of silica fibers, the transmission distance without repeater can reach to over 2000km

  1. Anti-Electromagnetic Interference

Optic fiber belongs to insulator material, not interfered by thunder, the variation of the ionosphere, sunspot activity; as well as not interfered by industrial equipment, such as electrified railway wires, high voltage devices and so on. It can also be made into the compound cables with electric conductors.

  1. No Crosstalk Interference and With Security

Transmitted in the optic fiber cable, the optical wave signal is hard to leak out. Even if it’s in the turning and its bending radius is very short, the optical wave leaking out from the cable is also weak. If it’s coated with a layer of acrylate on the surface of the fiber or optical fiber cables,  the effect will be better. After that, even though there are many fibers in the fiber cables, it’s able to reach the effect that no crosstalk interference happens and the information transmitted in the fibers is not be intercepted out of optical fibers.

  1. Light in Weight and Short in Diameter

The fiber diameter of the optical fiber is very short, 0.1mm, only 1% one of the single-tube coaxial cables. In addition, the diameter of the optic fiber cable is also short. The cross-sectional diameter of optic fiber cable with 8 fibers is 10mm; while one of the standard coaxial cables is 47mm. By making use of this advantage, the space of the transmission system can be narrowed so that a matter of crowding underground pipes can be solved and the costs for constructing pipes are also saved. Moreover, the fiber cables are lighter than cables in weight. To some degree, it’s easier to produce and install.

  1. Abundant in the Raw Materials of Optic Fiber

The main material of optic fiber is quartz, which is unlimited on the earth; while the cable is made of copper, which is limited. If the fiber cable is in replace of cable, amounts of metal materials are able to be saved.

In addition, there are still other strengths, such as with high corrosion resistance, nuclear radiation resistance,  low resource consumption and so on.

Of course, there are no perfect things in the world. No matter how perfect one thing is, it still has its demerits. Optical fiber communication is without exception. Below is about its introduction.

Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Communication

Compared with the merits, the demerits are relatively less, as below:

l  With fragile material and poor mechanical strength

l  The bending radium of optic fiber cable cannot be too short(>20cm).

l  Separation and coupling are not flexible

l  Requiring more protection around the fiber cable compared with copper cable


Obviously, the advantages of optical fiber communication in various aspects contribute to the rapid development of optical fiber communication. Although it’s still with some disadvantages, and it will be improved with the future development of tech. Let’s expect it together.

Please don’t miss these Articles

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Optical Fiber

Summary of Fiber Optics You Ever Wanted to Know

Fiber Optics: History & Advantages


7 thoughts on “Advantages and Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Communication

  1. Hi Cindy, you have made a good summary of advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber communication. Appreciate it.

    Optical fiber was a game changer technology and is now an integral and essential element of the telecommunication, be it the home network, Data network, wireless or satellite, optical fibers compliment to these technologies.

    I am happy to be part of this site where all of you share your knowledge and experience. Simply Great!

  2. Good and informative summary of optical fiber communication. This article will be particularly helpful to students pursuing their career in Fiber optics. Thanks Cindy!

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