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How Does Fiber Optic Video Work?

Last updated Feb 7, 2018 | Published on Jul 3, 2017 | News, Users Guides - Education

Most people have heard of fiber optics as a type of technology used for transmitting digital data, such as internet bandwidth or recorded video. Today, fiber optic technology is also widely used to transmit high-quality live video without the limitations of other transfer methods.

Fiber optic video cables are made up of thin optical fiber strands. A single fiber optic cable is incredibly small (less than one tenth the diameter of a human hair) but can carry an incredible amount of information.

Data is transmitted along a fiber optic cable in the form of light, with the light “bouncing” off the walls of the cable as it travels. Because of the shallow angle at which light comes into contact with the edges of the cable, it reflects down the cable as it travels from one end to the other.

Because of the design of fiber optic technology, it has several major advantages over the other widely used data cable options, particularly copper cables.

Many of these advantages are highly relevant for video networking. From a reduced level of signal noise to higher bandwidth, businesses that need to transmit live video can access several advantages by switching from old-fashioned cable options to fiber optic video.

Advantages of fiber optic video

In a live video setting, quality and reliability are key. Fiber optic video provides numerous major advantages to businesses and organizations that depend on live video, ranging from reliability to increased bandwidth:

  • Using fiber optic technology for video means live video camera links are more secure and protected from weather conditions, such as rain or lightning strikes.
  • Because fiber optic cables transfer data far faster than other cabling options, cameras can be located further away without transfer speed issues, allowing for a longer signal distance.
  • The huge bandwidth of fiber optic cable technology allows for live video to be delivered in incredible clarity and quality, creating a better end result for video consumers.
  • Fiber optic video technology can be used to transport all camera signals, including SDI video, audio, control data, GPIOs and more.

To put the incredible signal distance advantage of fiber optic into perspective, it’s important to compare fiber optic to its alternatives.

Experts recommend a maximum transfer distance of 100m for copper data cabling. While this length of cable is suitable for a home or business environment, it creates serious limitations for live video crews, particularly at outdoor events.

Fiber optic cables, on the other hand, have a maximum recommended signal distance of 2,000 meters, offering more than 20 times the safe distance compared to copper data cables.

If you cover live events such as concerts, sports games, and festivals, the massive increase in signal distance can help your camera operators show a greater range of content and cover the event in better detail than ever before.

Since fiber optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference, you can also record and broadcast events with total confidence that viewers will see exactly what you expect them to see, all without disruption or common technical issues.

Finally, fiber optic technology is compact and easy to use, making it ideal for environments in which your camera operators need to be mobile. If your business depends on live wireless video, making the switch from traditional cabling to a newer, more effective fiber optic solution is a great way to eliminate common problems, improve your signal distance and produce a higher quality video for your viewers.


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