The History of Fiber


You may already know what Socket Fiber is, but may not understand exactly how it works. Basically, it's all about feeding data through tiny pieces of glass near the speed of light. But, where did the idea come from?


Fiber Began in 1854


Fiber technology dates back to 1854, when Irish physicist John Tyndall found that a stream of water could bend a light signal. In 1880, engineer William Wheeler experimented even further and used a system of “light pipes” to direct light from an electric lamp in a basement to other areas in the home. Soon after, doctors began using the new technology as surgical lamps.


Fiber Transferred Images by 1930


However, it wasn't until the early 1900s that scientists began thinking about how the “light pipes” could transfer more than just light. In 1920, Scottish engineer John Logie Baird and American research engineer Clarence W. Hansell patented the idea of using the technology to transfer images for television. Ten years later, the first image (though in poor quality) successfully moved through optical fibers during an experiment by German medical student Heinrich Lamm.


Scientists Invented Fiber Optic Wire in 1970


In the years following, several scientists branched off Lamm's idea, proposing solutions to the image quality problems he experienced. In1970, a team of researchers finally pinpointed the need for fused silica to improve the image's quality and invented fiber optic wire, otherwise called, “Optical Waveguide Fibers.” These little strands carried 65,000 times more data than copper wire at distances farther than a thousand miles away.


Fiber Optic Technology Today


The United States Government utilized fiber-optic technology to link their computers in the NORAD facility in 1975. Today, it's estimated that more than 80% of the world's long-distance traffic is transferred on more than 25 million kilometers of fiber-optic wire.
Socket added its numbers to that list in 2011 when it broke ground on a $23.7 million project to bring a fiber-to-the-home network to rural Boone and Callaway counties. Now, more than 3,000 homes in the area have access to Socket’s fiber broadband network, which offers local telephone, high-speed Internet and (soon-to-be-offered) HD television services.

Learn more about fiber technology and what sets it apart from other types of broadband.