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The world wide web of glass: the past, present and future of fibre optics
Using sun and reflectors, communicating with light goes back thousands of years. But with the advent of lasers and optical fibres in the later half of the past century a revolution occurred in the telecommunications industry. A single fibre made of a flexible strand of ultra-pure silica, with a width not much greater than that of a human hair, has the capacity to transmit more than 250 million simultaneous telephone conversations, or to provide 5 million broadband internet connections. Moreover it can do this over transoceanic distances. This explosion in data transfer capacity, speed and system reach has changed the world through the internet and in order to satisfy our ever increasing communications needs a cloak of optical fibres now covers the globe.
Networkshop 38 30 Mar - 1 Apr (2010)
Copyright University of Southampton 2006