Fiber Optics


In the custom A/V world there are always people trying to think outside the box.  Current technology limits how long cables can be and how far we can send our data.  At Elite AV we certified by the FOA “Fiber Optic Association”.  We have found that thinking outside the box allows us to do many things that normal installers cannot do.

In larger installations you may want HD security cameras on the entrances to your property.  You may want full internet access in your guest house.  What about mounting your satellite dish up to 2 miles away so it does not destroy the look of your house.  All of these are made possible with fiber optics.

Fiber Optics are not new.  They have been around since the 80′s and have mostly been used by the government.  They are a cable that has a unlimited bandwidth unlike fiber opticscat 5/6, hdmi, and coax.  This is because there is no copper.  The signal is sent via light flickers which is instant, there is no travel time or lag.

Fiber Optics are also starting to be used by major automation companies like amx and crestron.  Both have video switchers that utilize fiber optics.  What does this mean for you?  Well if your building a custom home and want the absolute best signal and want to be future proof fiber optics are for you.  Because it is light there is no interference.  One of the biggest challeneges as a custom installer is “NOISE”.  These are unwanted waves of energy that bleed into the siginal of your cable.  This happens because of the copper inside the cable.  Noise can cause interference,  distortion, or even loss of signal.  Because Fiber optics use light there is no way for RF waves to interfere with your signal.  Also because Fiber Optics use light they are future proof.  HDMI right now can do 1080p,  whats in store for 5 years from now?  1080p will be obsolete and if you used hdmi or cat 5 to wire you home you will be kicking yourself later on.  Once again since fiber uses light the unlimited bandwidth can support resolutions that we don't even know yet.  Scientists have been trying to find limitations on fiber since it has came out and have had no success.  Its the perfect cable to wire your home with for video switching.

fiber optics

Each stand is a separate fiber optic cable.

Another benefit to fiber is the distance components can be from each other.  There are two different type of fiber, single mode and multi mode.  Single mode uses a smaller core and the electronics use a more precise laser for the light so distnaces can be between 10 and 30 miles for siginal before a amplifier is needed.  Multi mode which is more standard in the AV world allows components to be up to 5 miles apart depending on the transceiver being used.  Once again what does this mean for you?  Well if your building a large custom home your going to want tv’s, cameras, Ethernet drops all over your home/property.  If you look at the ratings for HDMI and Cat 5 you will see the average length for these cables is very low.  In fact HDMI cables are rarely found over 50ft.  and cat 5 cables are said to have a max distance of 328 ft.  This means that you cannot wire your home with HDMI,  it also means some tv locations may also have problems if wired with cat 5.  On a previous installation we were able to install 3 tv’s in a guest house that was well over 1/2 mile away.  These TV’s had full access to all the media that was inside the main home.  This was only capable because of fiber optics.

If you would like more knowledge on Fiber Optics or would like to discuss how we can use them in your home please call Elite AV today.

Here are a few more facts that Elite AV found that we thought would be useful for you to read.

"Update 2016"  With 4K HDR becoming more popular fiber optics are starting to be used more and more.  Traditional HDMI cables cannot carry the signal of a 4k hdr broadcast for more than just a few feet.  Fiber optics allow for 4k HDR to be sent on long runs for projectors or multimedia distribution.

Advantages of Fiber Optics

Why are fiber-optic systems revolutionizing telecommunications? Compared to conventional metal wire (copper wire), optical fibers are:

  • Less expensive – Several miles of optical cable can be made cheaper than equivalent lengths of copper wire. This saves your provider (cable TV, Internet) and you money.
  • Thinner – Optical fibers can be drawn to smaller diameters than copper wire.
  • Higher carrying capacity – Because optical fibers are thinner than copper wires, more fibers can be bundled into a given-diameter cable than copper wires. This allows more phone lines to go over the same cable or more channels to come through the cable into your cable TV box.
  • Less signal degradation – The loss of signal in optical fiber is less than in copper wire.
  • Light signals – Unlike electrical signals in copper wires, light signals from one fiber do not interfere with those of other fibers in the same cable. This means clearer phone conversations or TV reception.
  • Low power – Because signals in optical fibers degrade less, lower-power transmitters can be used instead of the high-voltage electrical transmitters needed for copper wires. Again, this saves your provider and you money.
  • Digital signals – Optical fibers are ideally suited for carrying digital information, which is especially useful in computer networks.
  • Non-flammable – Because no electricity is passed through optical fibers, there is no fire hazard.
  • Lightweight – An optical cable weighs less than a comparable copper wire cable. Fiber-optic cables take up less space in the ground.
fiber optics

Fiber Optics cleanly installed.