Fiber Optic Cable History

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The concept of light trasmission has existed since the early 1840’s when French inventors Daniel Colladon and Jacques Babinet demonstrated the guiding of light over distance by refraction.

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Approximately ten years later in the mid 1850’s Irish inventor John Tyndall performed a similar demonstration using water fountains. These early experiments led to the development of television when Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the transmission of moving images at the London Institute in 1925.

In 1952, UK based physicist Narinder Singh Kapany invented the first actual fiber optical cable based on John Tyndall’s experiments three decades earlier. Thirteen years later in 1965 two British research scientists, Charles Kao and George Hockman working with Standard Telephones and Cables discovered that attenuation of fiber optics was caused by impurities in manufacturing.

If the attenuation could be lowered sufficiently, they theorized fiber optics could be used as a practical means of communication.

The attenuation barrier was broken in 1970 by four research scientists working for Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc.), Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, Peter Schultz, and Frank Zimar.

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Within two decades, innovative research pushed the attenuation rate low enough for fiber optics to become the dominant carrier of electronic information.

By the early 1990’s as the Internet was becoming popularized in the public realm, fiber optics cables started to be laid around the world with a major push to wire the world in order to provide infrastructure to counter the perceived problems of the Y2K issue.

Today, fiber is present in virtually every nation on the Earth, forming the absolute backbone of the modern communications infrastructure.

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