Category Archives: Introduction to Fiber Optics

How Does Fiber Optic Video Work?

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. Our VidOptic Camera-Back technology uses an easy-to-use, one-inch case that mounts effortlessly onto your camera.

If your business depends on live 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.

Would you like to learn more about fiber optic video? Our range of fiber optic video products is comprehensive, with options for businesses of all types and sizes. You can also contact us now to learn more about how your business can benefit from the use of fiber optic and wireless video technology.

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3 Live Video Technology Options for Your Business

From IPTV to locally using a wired network, the method your business uses to transmit video can have a significant impact on its results. From speed to cost and convenience, each video transmission channel has its own set of distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Your choice of technology is particularly important in a live video environment, where a good broadcast quality can make or break the event for viewers.  

In this post, we’ll compare three ways your business can transmit live video and list specific advantages and disadvantages of each option.

If you’re considering different types of video transmitting technology for your business, or just want to gain an understanding of modern digital video, the information below should help you gain a deeper understanding of which video transmission option is right for you.

Video Over IP (IPTV)

Video Over IP, better known as IPTV, involves the use of the Internet to distribute video from a specific source to viewers around the world.

In an IPTV broadcast, the video signal is transmitted from the source — most of the time, a video camera — to an IPTV encoder. The encoder converts the video into an encoded format that can be distributed online before transferring the live video feed to a server.

Viewers can tune in using their computer or smart device to watch the broadcast. They can also tune in using an IPTV decoder — known as a “set top box” — to decode the video into a format that’s compatible with their display.

The biggest advantage of IPTV is its scalability. Since the video content is transmitted over the Internet, it’s possible for tens of thousands of people (or hundred of thousands of people, for a major broadcast) to tune in using their own displays and mobile devices.

IPTV is also relatively inexpensive, making it great for small businesses that want to reach large audiences.

However, IPTV also has some downsides. Without a fast connection, latency can have a major effect on the quality of a broadcast for the viewer. It’s also important to have a powerful server if you plan on distributing your content to a large audience.

Wireless Video

Wireless video technology let your business to transmit live or pre-recorded video via a wireless network. Instead of using cables to connect a camera to a video source, you can stream video wirelessly from a video camera and transmitter to a receiver.

Although wireless video is becoming popular at home, it’s far more valuable for businesses as a method of transmitting live event video.

During a keynote presentation, for example, your business can use wireless video technology to transmit a camera feed to a receiver, which then broadcasts the content over IPTV to viewers at home or outside the immediate area.

The biggest advantage of wireless video is its value for events. If you need to transmit a video signal to several different displays within the same area, wireless technology is a fantastic way to do it.

However, wireless video does have some limitations. One is range. Because wireless networks have a limited range, many wireless video transmitters can only broadcast to devices in a select area. The maximum range for devices varies from 2,000 feet to up to two miles.

Fiber Optic Video

Fiber optic video transmission involves transmitting video from a source to a receiver using fiber optic cables. A fiber optic video system can either transmit video directly from a camera, or from a separate video source that’s connected to the fiber optic transmitter.

One advantage of fiber optic video is that it prevents quality loss, which is a common problem in live video situations. Because of the capacity and speed of fiber optics, video quality is high and losses are minimal or nonexistent.

Another advantage of fiber optic video technology is the distance it can cover. Since fiber optics are so fast, it’s possible to transmit video over a long length of cable without any latency issues, making fiber optic video ideal for events that take place over large areas.

Learn more about video, audio and data communications systems

We specialize in helping businesses of all sizes use of video, audio and data communications equipment to meet targets and achieve objectives. From high quality equipment to customized solutions, we offer a range of products and services for companies and organizations.

Contact us now to speak to our experienced staff and learn more about the best live video and video transmission options for your business.


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Fiber Optic Video Transmission User’s Guide – Beginner to Expert in 20 Pages

Learn About Fiber Optic Video Transmission from the Expert

Jim Jachetta has compiled everything there is to know about Fiber Optics into 20 pages.

fiber optic video transmission guide

Whether you are a greenhorn or a professional, this will teach or refresh you on the topic of Fiber Optic Video Transmission. This guide is perfect at any level. First, we cover the basics. Then, we work up to the bleeding edge with 4K fiber optic video transmission. This guide is packed with practical examples. It provides the knowledge you need to become an expert quickly. Fiber Optic Video Transmission is regarded as low in latency and highly reliable. You may be exceedingly aware that Fiber Optics have trumped the speed of copper cable. You may also be aware that it provides unprecedented reliability that typical wireless setups cannot. Yet, it’s likely that you could use a refresher on the topic. The industry is moving fast. The applications of fiber optic video transmission are changing. It’s up to you to stay on top of it all. This user’s guide is the way to do that. We cover modern applications, end-to-end design, multiplexing, routing switchers, and the works!

Benefits of Fiber-Optic Video Transmission:

  • Longer Distances
  • Multiple Signals
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Noise Immunity
  • Ease of Installation
  • Connector Adaptability
  • Ease of Splicing
  • Low-Latency
  • Reliability
From time to time in my user’s guide, I may also show you some interesting fiber optic products you can take a look at such as these two below.
fiber optic video fiber optic video transmission
FVT/FVR-5400-3G, VidOptic 4 Channel 
3G HDSDI Fiber Optic Transport Card
with 4×4 Matrix for openGear
VidOptic Camera Back 4K & HD SDI 
Fiber Optic System
Posted in Educational Guides, Fiber Optic Medium, Fiber Optic Transport, Introduction to Fiber Optics, News, Optical Windows and Spectrum, Snells Law, Types of Fiber-optic Material, Users Guide to Fiber Optic Video Transmission | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

User’s Guide to Fiber Optic Video Transmission – Types of Fiber-optic Material – Part 4

There are two distinct parts of a fiber optic cable—the optical fiber that carries the signal and the protective covering that keeps the fiber safe from environmental and mechanical damage. This section deals specifically with the optical fiber.

An optical fiber has two concentric layers called core and cladding. The core (inner part) is the light carrying part. The surrounding cladding provides the difference in refractive index that allows total internal reflection of light through the core. The index of refraction of the cladding is less than 1% lower than that of the core. Typical values, for example, are a core index of 1.47 and cladding index of 1.46. Fiber manufacturers must carefully control this difference to obtain the desired fiber characteristics.

Fibers have an additional coating around the cladding. This coating, which is usually one or more layers of polymer, protects the core and cladding from shocks that might affect their optical or physical properties. The coating has no optical properties affecting the propagation of light within the fiber. This coating is just a shock absorber.

FIGURE 6.10-4 Total internal reflection in an optical fiber. Rays of light incident on the core/cladding boundary at greater than the critical angle, determined by the quotient n1/n2, propagate down the fiber’s core at a velocity determined by that fiber’s value. One ray is shown to keep the diagram simple. (From AMP, Inc., copyright illustration, used with permission.)

Figure 6.10-4 shows the light traveling through a fiber. Light injected into the fiber and striking the core-to-cladding interface at a critical angle reflects back into the core. Since the angles of incident and reflection are equal, the light will again be reflected. The light will continue as expected down the length of the fiber.

Light, however, striking the interface at less than the critical angle passes into the cladding, where it is lost over distance. The cladding is usually inefficient as a light carrier, and light in the cladding becomes attenuated fairly rapidly. The propagation of light is governed by the indices of the core and cladding and by Snell’s Law.

Such total internal reflection forms the basis of light propagation through a simple optical fiber. This analysis considers only meridional rays, the rays that pass through the fiber center axis each time they are reflected. Other rays, called skew rays, travel down the fiber without passing through the axis. The path of the skew ray is typically helical, wrapping around and around the center axis. To simply analyze, skewer rays are ignored in most fiber-optics analysis.

FIGURE 6.10-5 Light ray acceptance cone geometry. The acceptance cone is an imaginary right angle cone extending outward coaxially from the fiber’s core. It is a measure of the light-gathering capability of a fiber. Its ray acceptance angle, called the numerical aperture (NA) of the fiber, is uniquely determined by the refractive indices of that fiber’s core and clad- ding. (From AMP, Inc., copyright illustration, used with permission.)

A cone known as the acceptance cone, shown in Figure 6.10-5, defines which light will be accepted and propagated by a total internal reflection. Light that enters the core from within this acceptance cone refracts down the fiber. Light outside the cone will not strike  the  core-to-cladding  interface  at  the  proper angle that allows total internal reflection. This light will not propagate.

The specific characteristics of light propagation through fiber depend on many factors. The factors include the size and composition of the fiber as well as the light source injected into the fiber. An understanding of the interplay between these properties will clarify many aspects of fiber optics.

Fiber itself has a very small diameter. Table 6.10-3 provides the core and cladding diameters of four commonly used fibers.

TABLE 6.10-3 Core and Cladding Diameters of Four Commonly Used Fibers

To realize how small these fibers are, note that human hair has a diameter of about 100 μ. Fiber sizes are usually expressed by first giving the core size, followed by the cladding size. Thus, 50/125 means a core diameter of 50 microns (μm) and a cladding diameter of 125 microns (μm).

Optical fibers are classified in two ways. One way is by the material makeup:

  • Glass fiber: Glass fibers have a glass core and glass cladding. They are the most widely used type of fiber. The glass used in an optical fiber is an ultra pure and transparent silicon dioxide or fused quartz. If ocean water was as clear as fiber, one could see to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean, a depth of 36,000 feet. Impurities are purposely added to the pure class to achieve the desired index of refraction. The elements germanium and phosphorus are added to increase the refractive index of the glass. Boron or fluorine is used to decrease the index. There are other impurities that are not removed when the class is purified. These additional impurities also affect the fiber properties by increasing attenuation from scattering or by the absorbing light.
  • Plastic-clad silica (PCS): PCS fibers have a glass core and plastic cladding. The performance of PCS fiber is limited compared to a fiber made of all glass.
  • Plastic: Plastic fibers have a plastic core and plastic cladding. Plastic fibers are limited by high optical loss and low bandwidth. The very low cost and ease of use make them attractive for applications where low bandwidth or high losses are acceptable. Plastic and PCS fibers do not have the buffer coating surrounding the cladding.

The second way to classify fibers is by the refractive index of the core and the modes that the fiber propagates. Fiber can be categorized into three general types;  Figure  6.10-6  shows  the  three  general  fiber types and their basic characteristics.

Figure 6.10-6 shows the difference between the input pulse injected into a fiber and the output pulses exiting the fiber. The decrease in the height of the pulse shows the loss of optical signal power. The broadening of the pulse shows the bandwidth limiting effects of the fibers. It also shows the different paths of rays of light traveling down the fiber. And, it shows the relative index of refraction of the core and clad- ding for each type of fiber.

FIGURE 6.10-6 Optical fiber types. The core diameter and its refractive index characteristics determine the light propagation path or paths within the fiber’s core. (From AMP, Inc., copyright illustration, used with per- mission.)




Posted in Fiber Optic Transport, Types of Fiber-optic Material, Users Guide to Fiber Optic Video Transmission, Users Guides | 3 Comments

User’s Guide to Fiber Optic Video Transmission by Jim Jachetta

One of my favorite subjects is the transmission of video over fiber optic cable. I have had the pleasure of working on fiber optic implementations with Broadcasters to cover Presidential Elections and with Integrators on projects like the Las Vegas City Center.

Because of this passion, I am starting a multi-part series on the subject of Fiber Optic Video Transmission. My goal in writing this is to speak from my experience to make a topic that is scary to many, easy to understand and accessible so you can implement your own systems. I hope to do it in a humorous way relating my successes and challenges implementing many of these systems.

Anyone who knows me has also seen my passion for problem solving and doing the “impossible” and “never been done before”. I enjoy troubleshooting multi-million dollar fiber optic systems to discover a bad $20 patch cord or dirty fiber optic connector. The good news is that once a fiber optic system is up and running I know you will get many years of reliable operation.

In this series I will start with the basics and work my way up to the bleeding edge with 4K video fiber optic transmission. The series is perfect for the beginner and a good review for the expert. Clink these links to go to my first posts:

Users Guide to Fiber Optic Video Transmission

Introduction to Fiber Optics – Part 1

Snell’s Law – Part 2

Optical Windows and Spectrum – Part 3

I’ve had a great time putting this series on Fiber Optic Video Transmission together for you and I hope you get great insight and some practical tips for your particular situation. From time to time I may also show you some interesting fiber optic products you can take a look at like these two below. If you have any questions about any of the content you can reply to this email or contact me at 949-777-5435 x 1001.

SilverBack Fiber
FVT/FVR-5400-3G, VidOptic Series, 4 Channel 3G HDSDI Fiber Optic Transport Card with 4×4 Matrix for openGear SilverBack 4K & HD SDI Fiber Optic Camera Back Camera Mount System

Watch for my next installment in about 4 weeks. Please click to download additional white papers and presentations on wireless, webcasting, streaming and fiber optics. Thank you.

All the best,

Jim Jachetta
President and CEO
VidOvation Corporation

Posted in Fiber Optic Medium, Fiber Optic Transport, Introduction to Fiber Optics, Optical Windows and Spectrum, Snells Law, Users Guide to Fiber Optic Video Transmission, Users Guides | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment