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Fiber Optics Technicians

History

A need to convey messages quickly led to experimentation in the use of light to communicate. Before the introduction of the electric telegraph in the mid-1800s, a series of semaphores atop towers allowed for communication between tower operators. Ships also used light signals to communicate with each other. But the reliability of wires to carry electricity, and the invention of the electric telegraph and the telephone, put the further development of optical communications on hold.

Studies in the field of medicine led to the discovery that rods of glass or plastic could carry light. In the 1950s, these developments helped such engineers as Alec Reeves of Great Britain in the experimentation of fiber optics for telecommunications. Increasing television and telephone use demanded more transmission bandwidth, and the invention of the laser in 1960 made optical communications a reality. Technical barriers remained, however, and experimentation continued for many years, leading to the first telephone field trials in 1977. Today, the career of fiber optics technician is instrumental to communications, as telecommunications companies recognize the importance of fiber optics in the future of high-speed, high-definition service. Most phone connections made today are over fiber optic cables. The Internet is also transmitted by fiber optics.

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