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Will Optic Fibre Internet reduce latency?

From my understanding the signal through an optic fiber cable is supposed to travel at close to the speed of light (299 792 458 m/s or 299 792km/s). The Earth's circumference is 40,075 km. So that means a signal would be able to circumnavigate the globe (299 792km/s)/(40,075 km) = 7.48 times in a second if you had a hypothetical giant fibre optic cable that was wrapped around the Earth's circumference. If a signal can travel at that speed that would mean it would take 1/7.48 = 0.13 seconds (or 13ms) for that signal to travel a single time around the Earth. So in other words if the entire world's copper based telecom networks were replaced with optic fiber cabling (will happen in the distant distant future) you should technically be able to play an online mulitplayer game with someone halfway around the world with <1ms response time. Is my logic here completely false from what is actually possible in reality IF we hypothetically lived in a world based on optic fiber telecommunication?

6 Answers

  • Adrian
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, not really. The speed of light within fiber optic is a lot slower than the actual speed of light because the light has to bounce from wall to wall as it travels donw the line. In reality, the speed is about 60-70% of the speed of light in a vacuum. That is because the fiber has a refractive index of 1.5 to 1.6 - that slows down the speed of light in the fiber.

    In most cases, the speed of light in fiber optic cable is about 200,000 km/sec

    Thus, copper lines, where signals travel close to the speed of light (90%+) is still a faster media. Fiber optic has the advantage of carrying a lot more data however, in the terabits/sec. Copper cannot do that...

    Thus, though propagation is significantly slower with fiber optic cable, it can carry so much more data, with less interference, more reliably, that it is a preferred media.

    There are advances in fiber optic technology where they are speeding up the actual speed, by making different refractive index in certain media for fiber, but that is always an ongoing evolution. They do this by making hollow fibers. However, the signal loss is also a lot bigger, making it good only for shorter runs.

  • Jordan
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    The signal travels at the speed of light, reguardless of the medium. Light just travels faster through some medea than others.

    But in theory yes, although it is still slowed down by processes such as routing, packet inspection in firewalls and congestion on the network

  • ?
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    If you had a direct connection between your computer and the other computer, with only repeaters as needed, then you would be 100% correct.

    Where it falls apart is you must remember that the internet is not computers directly connected to each other, it is comprised of networks of computers connected together. Therefore there will always be bottlenecks, plus the overhead of error correction, media change , etc.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Nope. It would be pretty difficult to connect every computer in the world to each other with their own private fiber links.

    In the real world, there are switches, routers, and other devices sitting between any devices on any fiber link. The latency added by those devices to process each packet they receive is where most slowdowns occur.

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  • DrDave
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Your logic is fine.What you're forgetting though is all the boobs that will muck up such a superior connection using s wireless home network.

  • 8 years ago

    greatly reduce!

    your logic sounds about right.

    Source(s): IT Student
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