An Overview of Optical Communication and Its Advantages

Optical communication is a communication way with optical wave as carrier. There are two methods to increase optical bandwidth: the first is to increase the single channel transmission rate of optical fiber; the second is to increase the number of wavelengths transmitted in a single fiber (WDM). Here Gigalight is going to introduce what optical communication and its main advantages to help you know the field better.

What Is Optical Communication?

The basic optical fiber communication system consists of data source, optical transmitter, optical channel and optical receiver. The data source includes all the signal sources, and they are the signals obtained by the source code of voice, image and data. The optical transmitter and modulator are responsible for converting the signal into an optical signal that is suitable for transmission on the optical fiber. The optical wave window include: 0.85, 1.31 and 1.55. Optical channels include the most basic optical fiber, and the relay amplifier EDFA, etc. The optical receiver receives the optical signal and extracts the information from it, then converts it into electrical signals, and finally obtains the corresponding voice, image, data and other information.

The computers and mobile phones around us send messages via electrical signals “0 and 1”. Optical communication consists of a “transmitter” that converts electrical signals into optical signals, a “receiver” that converts optical signals into electrical signals, and “optical fibers” that transmit optics.

Three Main Advantages of Optical Communication

1. Long Transmission Distance, Save Energy

Suppose you want to transmit 10Gb of information in one second (10 billion signals). If you use electrical communication, you need to adjust the signal every 100 meters. In contrast, using optical communication requires an interval of more than 100 kilometers. The fewer times the signal is adjusted, the fewer machines will be used, thus saving energy.

For example, when you phone or chat online now with your foreign friends, you will feel there is no difference with the domestic conversation, without lag in sound. In an era of electrical communication, one can transmit at a short distance and transmit less information, and international communication is mainly transmitted through satellite as relay. However, with optical communication, one can transmit at a long distance and transmit more information. Therefore, by using fiber-optic cables laid on the seafloor, it is possible to communicate with overseas. Electrical waves have the same speed as optical waves. However, because the transmission path is longer by satellite, the signal arrives slower. The submarine cable is much shorter, so the signal will be faster.

2. Transmit Massive Amount of Information at One Time

Using optical communication, a large number of users can receive the required information at the same time (movies or news, etc.). In one second, electrical communication can transmit only 10Gb of information (10 billion 0 and 1 signals). In contrast, optical communication can transmit information of up to 1Tb (1 trillion 0 and 1 signals).

3. Fast Communication Speed

Electrical communication can cause errors in electrical noise, resulting in decreased communication speed. However, optical communication is not affected by noise, so it can transmit signals quickly.


The ultimate goal of the future transmission network is to construct an all-optical network, which is to fully realize “optical fiber transmission instead of copper wire transmission” in the access network, metropolitan area network and backbone network. The backbone network and the metropolitan area network have basically realized the all-optical network. In the today that information society develops faster and faster, optical communication will inevitably facilitate the further advancement of network.

About Gigalight:

Gigalight is a design innovator in global optical interconnect field. A series of optical interconnect products include: optical transceivers, passive optical components, active optical cables, GIGAC MTP/MPO cablings, cloud programmers & checkers, and etc. Three applications are mainly covered: Data Center & Cloud Computing, MAN & Broadcast Video, and Mobile Network & 5G Optical Transmission. Gigalight takes advantage of its exclusive design to provide clients with one-stop optical network devices and cost-effective products.


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