How-To Geek

How Stuff Works: Fiber Optic Cables [Science]

Most people are familiar with the general concept of fiber optic cables–light as a method of data transmission–but how do they really work? Find out in this informative video.

Bill Hammack, of Engineer Guy Videos, shows us how fiber optic cables work using–of all things–a bucket and a laser. Check out the above video for a glimpse inside how fiber optic cables work and how your analog voice can go to from your phone’s handset to a digital stream and then back to analog sound for the benefit of your friend on the end of the fiber optic transmission cable.

Fiber Optic Cables: How They Work and How Engineers Use Them to Send Messages [YouTube]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/22/11

Comments (9)

  1. e1sunz

    interesting never knew that

  2. Jason Fitzpatrick

    Nor did I… I had the basic idea down but the whole demonstration with the glycol and the bucket was fascinating.

  3. tupaorc

    amazing video;)

  4. redditor

    someone here reads reddit.

  5. Bobro

    I knew this before but I like to watch this guys stuff he is good at explaining… the only problem is i wanted to know how they boosted the signal under water?

  6. AbbaDabba

    So the approximate distance from NY to Paris is 5,800 km. If I heard him right, you need to amplify your signal every 50 km. That means somewhere in the ocean are 120ish amplifiers? How are they powered? maintained? What if one goes out? Hmmm…

  7. Michael O'Leary

    @AbbaDabba – – using a big boat and one of these.

  8. Michael O'Leary

    @AbbaDabba – – There is more from Hibernia Atlantic on

  9. arjun munna

    damn beautiful video

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