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Twenty Thousands Leagues inside the Optical Fiber

Twenty Thousands Leagues inside the Optical Fiber

What actually happens as we post a hundred-character tweet, run npm install, chat with our remote colleagues, and let the operating system updates itself? Numerous interactions are triggered in each of the 7 OSI communication layers but one thing that is not often discussed enough is the very important physical layer. The complicated network of undersea fiber optic cables, with its record-breaking transmission capacity (light can easily send the contents of a stack of Bluray discs in a few milliseconds), is the foundation of modern communication for our civilization.

This talk gives a historical journey of this remarkable achievement, a series of scientific milestones in the recent human history. It covers the topic on how to trap photons inside a hair-thin strand of glass, modulate them to carry some useful information in 40 different wavelengths, force the photons to travel thousands of miles, and finally stitch back the bits and pieces for a full reassembly. It will be entertaining and useful, yet the material will be technical enough to tickle the geeky side of the audience and to inspire a further exploration.

(P.S.: This was proposed to JSConf 2014 and it was not accepted).

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What an age we live in.

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