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The Dark Fiber

fiber_opticIt won’t scare you away. It’s just an optical fiber. It is not a special one, too.

When companies run fiber optic cable, they run two or three times the amount of fiber they require for future sake. These spare, unused strands are called dark fiber, simply because there is no light passing through them.

Telecommunication companies often leases out these extra strands to other companies.

The fact that the diameter of these strands is very small might scares you. A commonly used single-mode fiber strand core has 8.3 microns in diameter. (Micron is a non-SI name for micrometer. One micron equals to one micrometer, that is 0.000001 meter). The core of multi-mode fiber is typically 50 or 62.5 microns. They are smaller than a human hair. The coating layer usually has 250 microns in diameter. They are all the way to one-ten thousandth of a centimeter.

Dual fiber-optic cable

The tiny diameter of fiber strands makes them extremely dangerous. When stripped of their coating layer, the strands can easily penetrate the skin. The shards can be carried by blood vessels to the other parts of the body, even the brain! This could wreak serious havoc. They can pierce the eyeball too, and possibly getting trapped inside.

That might be the dark side of the fiber.

So, use your safety glasses and special shard-disposal containers when connecting or splicing fibers.

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