A technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibres) to transmit data. A fibre optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.
Fibre optics has several advantages over traditional metal communications lines:
Fibre optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data.
Fibre optic cables are less susceptible than metal cables to interference.
Fibre optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires.
Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically.
The main disadvantage of fibre optics is that the cables are expensive to install. In addition, they are more fragile than wire and are difficult to splice.
Fibre optics is a particularly popular technology for local-area networks. In addition, telephone companies are steadily replacing traditional telephone lines with fibre optic cables. In the future, almost all communications will employ fibre optics.