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              Fiber Optics
                    
        Written by: Celtic Phrost
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Sysop of Hell Phrozen Over ][

   This file is intended to help most phreaks to become more familiar with
Telco's new switching system of the future.  In this article I will discuss how
fiber optics is made possible and also many of its uses.

   Strands of fiber optic material (usually made out of glass) are bundled in
cables not much thicker than your thumb.  Conversations and electronic data
ride on light pulses, instead of being carried on a stream of electricity.

   Fiber-optic cables are replacing the copper cables and microwave relays that
AT&T uses.  A single optical cable can transmit the volume of talk and data
flowing simultaneously through 120 standard copper cables.  The new technology
is being refined even further and Bell claims that with this new switching
system they would be able to send the entire text of the Encyclopedia
Britannica from one computer to another in less than 6 seconds (thats
50,000,000 bits/second -- fifty megabaud!).  Copper phone cables, which have
crossed the nation since 1915, face eventual overload.

   The volume of calls is increasing throughout the nation at a rate of 10 to
12 percent annually.  There is an annual growth in computer data traffic, from
banks and other businesses.  Video conferencing, which is now restricted to
business related areas, will become available for public use (remember,
Alliance was once like this . . . just think of the things you can do with
VIDEO conferencing, heh heh!).  It will use the same telephone lines that voice
and data transmission are used for.

   Other companies are also joining the fiber optic bandwagon (MCI, U.S.
Sprint, Allnet...etc).  Each fiber is capable of handling 178 trillion
conversations.  (As the guy at Telco said: "Thats A LOT of SHIT on one strand
of fiber!)  Even when crowded together, conversations don't stray away from
their assigned frequencies in the thin glass or fiber strand . . . thus,
callers have a less chance of being distracted by cross-talk or overheard
conversations that are experienced occasionally over copper lines.

   The key difference is that fiber-optic strands are coated so that light
cannot escape sideways.

   Optical cable material is so clear that light could pass through a 100 mile
thick window of it.  Also,the modern material "defies a law of physics" by
letting light go around corners.  Coated strands act like a reflective pipe,
causing light to curve and twist like in the way that water flows through a
garden hose.

   How a fiber optic call is routed:

   Say you are calling Los Angeles from Detroit.  Your telephone converts your
voice into an electrical signal that arrives at a local digital switching
point.  The electrical signal is converted there into a series of coded pulses
or digital bits of information.  The digital bits then are converted into
pulses of laser light shot into the optical cable.

   Next the laser beam zips to a Los Angeles digital switching center, where a
reverse process changes light pulses back into digital bits, then into an
electrical signal that arrives at the telephone of your Los Angeles party.

   Bell isnt just stopping with this, while 40 percent of their goal is to make
everything software operated for ease.  Some of their other work includes:
Artificial Intelligence, robotics, speech synthesis and recognition and also,
the study of "slug" brains; to understand how neurons connect into networks;
gallium arsenide, the material that may outdo silicon in computer chips; fiber
optic systems that can transmit at the rate of 20 billion bits per second;
optical computers that use the faster photons instead of electrons.

   Fiber optics will also help to GREATLY enhance the fone line quality for
computer data transfer.  So people will soon be able to use the regular fone
lines for data transfer at speeds greater than 2400 baud without worrying about
data suicide.

   Well this ends this article on fiber optic switching or: LASS: Laser aided
switching system.  I hope you learned something from it.  In my future articles
I will discuss: PBX's, Video Conferencing, and a couple of other interesting
things.

        Written by: Celtic Phrost
   on [Thursday July 24 1986  6:18pm]
  For use in the P.H.I.R.M. newsletter