Why aren't fibre-optics used more?

Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
521
For instance why don't more peripheral things on computer use it, like instead of HDMI, DP, or USB ? Is it still just cheaper to use copper wire and off the shelf parts ?
 

dendad

Joined Feb 20, 2016
3,924
I doubt it is just the wires.
If you want to use fiber optics, the signals have to be converted to light and back again. That is where the cost will be.
It is getting cheaper though.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
16,963
For instance why don't more peripheral things on computer use it, like instead of HDMI, DP, or USB ? Is it still just cheaper to use copper wire and off the shelf parts ?
It has very few intrinsic advantage for short distances. It is used in high end audio equipment, especially at higher sample rates like 32 Bits @ 384 kHz.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,532
Fiber is also unique in an unexpected way. When run in an electrically classified hazardous area it is intrinsically safe and does not have to be encased in sealed conduit as CAT5 has to be. Very cost-effective there.
 

kubeek

Joined Sep 20, 2005
5,763
Toslink is quite cheap, it has plastic fibre and slow transmitters and receivers. AFAIK at this price point you can get up to about 10Mbit/s, which is way too slow for most PC peripherals, and totally useless for HDMI and DP. To get the data rates of HDMI and DP you would be looking at 3Gbit/s for 1080p at 60Hz, which gets you into territory of 10Gbit fibre optic network ports, where SFP+ modules cost roughly $50 each.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
9,475
For instance why don't more peripheral things on computer use it, like instead of HDMI, DP, or USB ? Is it still just cheaper to use copper wire and off the shelf parts ?
Consider that for EVERY fiber optic connection there must be an interface between electrical and light at each end, and that each of those interfaces require power, components, and space. Then consider that while many folks have no difficulty making electrical connections, fiber optic connections always require additional skills and tools that have no other application. AND presently there is no way to communicate useful amounts of power through most fiber optic cables.
The main use of fiber optics is for high speed data communications over distances where a suitable cable and connectors would not be cost effective. AND, you will find that all of those touting fiber optics as replacements for wires are the ones selling the fiber optic parts and systems.
 

Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,355
I am using it extensively at every place which will work at high EMI environment. And it is overall not so expensive - some slowe kinds cost between 8 and 20 $ per every end, thus one wire will cost about 50. But speed is the most crucial thing , just there are no ANY LED driven converter (HFBR/AFBR) over about 10 nanosec. There are some very few cheap-end laser systems coming near to 1 nanosec but over stays only digital boxes with all what is need already inside, so You cannot use it for analog signals. However for digital signals the sci-fi bounder stays near the 1000 GHz for about 10K$ and 5 GHz for 200$ - anyway expensive, 60 GHz cost about 2500$.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,867
Verizon FIOS was founded in 2005, bringing internet and cable over fiber optic cable to homes in America. It is now available pretty much everywhere.

About 5-10 years ago, I installed a home theater system. The audio was carried over fiber optic cable between the Home Theater System and the TV. At that time, I could go into an electronics, TV or audio store and have my pick of fiber optic audio cables.

It was also used at work. Our storage systems connected the controller to the massive disk arrays via fiber optics. This was mainly to optimize data transfers.

Fiber Optic network cables could function over long distances. It was used as a backbone to connect buildings in a campus. I also used it at a client, which was a golf course. They had a pavilion on the course, quite a distance from the club house. We ran fiber to local switches so the POS terminals could operate reliably and added a WiFi router.

So there are many uses and the technology has been around nigh to 20 years. There’s just a time and place.
 
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MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
9,475
Verizon FIOS was founded in 2005, bringing internet and cable over fiber optic cable to homes in America. It is now available pretty much everywhere.

About 5-10 years ago, I installed a home theater system. The audio was carried over fiber optic cable between the Home Theater System and the TV. At that time, I could go into an electronics, TV or audio store and have my pick of fiber optic audio cables.

It was also used at work. Our storage systems connected the controller to the massive disk arrays via fiber optics. This was mainly to optimize data transfers.

Fiber Optic network cables could function over long distances. It was used as a backbone to connect buildings in a campus. I also used it at a client, which was a golf course. They had a pavilion on the course, quite a distance from the club house. We ran fiber to local switches so the POS terminals could operate reliably and added a WiFi router.

So there are many uses and the technology has been around nigh to 20 years. There’s just a time and place.
EVERY use described in this post is high speed data, some speeds much faster than others, but all of them high speed. THAT is where fiber makes sense. Or else, in the areas with HIGH electrical noise levels where adequate shielding may not be possible. That is the one other application that makes sense.
 
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