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Fiber Optics
The Future of Backbone

Today's network backbones demand fiber optic cabling.  No longer do companies, schools, or industrial/commercial buildings call for copper backbones when more then one building needs connectivity.  Mercury specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of your fiber optic network infrastructure.  

Installation and termination of fiber optic cable is a skilled trade that demands the expertise and experience of well-trained technicians.  Mercury ISI specializes in providing connectivity for LAN and WAN construction projects.  Our technicians are experienced in inside plant, outside plant, vertical risers and aerial installations 

Optical fiber systems have many advantages over metallic-based communication systems. These advantages include:

Long Distance Signal Transmission
The low attenuation and superior signal integrity found in optical systems allow much longer intervals of signal transmission than metallic-based systems. While single-line, voice-grade copper systems longer than a couple of kilometers (1.2 miles) require in-line signal repeaters for satisfactory performance, it is not unusual for optical systems to go over 100 kilometers (km), or about 62 miles, with no active or passive processing. Emerging technologies promise even greater distances in the future.

The optical fiber cable in the foreground has the equivalent information-carrying capacity of the copper cable in the background.

Large Bandwidth, Light Weight, and Small Diameter
While today's applications require an ever-increasing amount of bandwidth, it is important to consider the space constraints of many end-users. It is commonplace to install new cabling within existing duct systems. The relatively small diameter and light weight of optical cables makes such installations easy and practical, and saves valuable conduit space in these environments.

Long Lengths
Long, continuous lengths also provide advantages for installers and end-users. Small diameters make it practical to manufacture and install much longer lengths than for metallic cables: twelve-kilometer (12 km) continuous optical cable lengths are common. Corning Cable Systems manufactures continuous single-mode cable lengths up to 12 km, with a 96-inch reel size being the primary limiting factor.

Multimode cable lengths can be 4 km or more, although most standards require a maximum length of 2 km or less. Multimode cable lengths are based on industry demand. (Single-mode and multimode fibers will be covered in detail later in this text.)

Easy Installation and Upgrades
Long lengths make optical cable installation much easier and less expensive. Optical fiber cables can be installed with the same equipment that is used to install copper and coaxial cables, with some modifications due to the small size and limited pull tension and bend radius of optical cables.

Optical cables can typically be installed in duct systems in spans of 6000 meters or more depending on the duct's condition, layout of the duct system, and installation technique. The longer cables can be coiled at an intermediate point and pulled farther into the duct system as necessary.

System designers typically plan optical systems that will meet growth needs for a 15- to 20-year span. Although sometimes difficult to predict, growth can be accommodated by installing spare fibers for future requirements. Installation of spare fibers today is more economical than installing additional cables later. 
The dielectric nature of optical fiber can eliminate the dangers found in areas of high lightning-strike incidence.

Another advantage of optical fibers is their dielectric nature. Since optical fiber has no metallic components, it can be installed in areas with electromagnetic interference (EMI), including radio frequency interference (RFI). Areas with high EMI include utility lines, power-carrying lines, and railroad tracks. All-dielectric cables are also ideal for areas of high lightning-strike incidence.

Unlike metallic-based systems, the dielectric nature of optical fiber makes it impossible to remotely detect the signal being transmitted within the cable. The only way to do so is by actually accessing the optical fiber itself. Accessing the fiber requires intervention that is easily detectable by security surveillance. These circumstances make fiber extremely attractive to governmental bodies, banks, and others with major security concerns.

Designed for Future Applications Needs
Fiber optics is affordable today, as electronics prices fall and optical cable pricing remains low. In many cases, fiber solutions are less costly than copper.

As bandwidth demands increase rapidly with technological advances, fiber will continue to play a vital role in the long-term success of telecommunications.

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