Physics: Optical Fibres Essay

Submitted By jjennynguyen
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Will a national broadband network benefit Australia?
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is an Australia wide project to upgrade the existing fixed line phone and internet network infrastructure. It is essential for Australia’s transition to a digital future. Fast broadband has the potential to fuel growth and drive improvements to local economies, businesses and homes, bringing innovative opportunities to the whole country (NBN Co Ltd, 2014). There are arguments for and against the change of the new technology. The NBN is a current issue as it is a government funded scheme, and will use billions of taxpayer dollars however, it is necessary to remove previously installed telephone lines.
The network structures of the NBN essentially use optical fibres or copper cables. However, in the near distant future, optical fibres will be the main contribution of fuelling the growth of the national broadband network. Optical fibres are long, thin strands of very pure glass. They are arranged in optical cables and used to transmit light signals over long distances. The light in a fiber-optic cable travels through the core by constantly bouncing from the cladding, a phenomenon called total internal reflection. Because the cladding does not absorb any light from the core, the light wave can travel great distances.

Structure of an optic fibre
Copper has been used in electric wiring since the 1820s. Copper is the electrical conductor in many categories of electrical wiring such as power generation, power transmission, power distribution, telecommunications, electronics circuitry, and various types of electrical equipment. Unlike optical fibres which sends pulses of light generated by a light emitting diode or laser, copper cables transmit electrical currents.
The Australian NBN consists of 2 main networks, Fibre to the premises (FTTP) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN). Fiber-To-The-Premises (FTTP) is a technology for providing Internet access by running fiber optic cable directly from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to a user's home or business. It facilitates much faster speeds than dial-up and most coaxial cable Internet connections, and generally is serviced less frequently than other technological devices. FTTP is beneficial for the future as it uses more bandwidth that can be sent via fiber optic cables therefore allowing more data that can be put through per unit time. Fiber to the node (FTTN) helps to provide broadband connection and other data services through a common network box, which is often called a node. Both networks are reliable however, FTTP is expensive therefore leading to financial concerns for the country.
With the nation fuelling the growth and improvements using optical fibres over copper cables for an enhanced digital future, there comes benefits and drawbacks with the new and advanced technology. A major benefit of fibre optics is the bandwidth capacity. The bandwidth of a cable is the range of frequencies within a given band, in particular