The evolution of fiber over the past 50 years is a story unlike any other, and we have been at the forefront of every major innovation in this revolutionary transmission medium’s journey. It all started in the mid-1960s, when it became clear to Corning researchers, and to the communications industry as a whole, that the existing copper wire infrastructure used to transfer data and voice would not have enough bandwidth for the impending increase in traffic.
A new solution was needed, and we believed that optical fiber was the key. Backed by the company's investment of “patient money,” Drs. Maurer, Keck, and Schultz employed innovative problem-solving strategies and outsmarted the competition in the race to develop the first low-loss optical fiber. After four years of trial and error, experimentation, and learning, they unveiled a unique manufacturing process for an ultra-pure, hair-thin glass fiber that transmitted light signals with low attenuation, also known as signal loss.
The story did not end there. An amazing, unplanned confluence of technological breakthroughs in the early 1970s fueled the rapid acceptance of optical fiber – the semiconductor laser, the microprocessor, and the initial “vision” of a global communications network. In the early 1980s, optical fiber was being installed primarily by telephone companies. Ten years later, the fiber revolution was substantially reshaping the way the world communicated. All the while, we continued to create and improve manufacturing processes, design long-haul technology, and enhance and modify our optical fiber as this dynamic industry matured.
Once the internet gained acceptance, the demand for bandwidth capable of transmitting voice, data, and video at high speeds exploded. As a result, the never-ending pursuit of faster, better, and more cost-effective communication required researchers to continually improve capacity and connectivity on a global scale. For more than 50 years, our legacy as the world leader in optical fiber has continued to set the industry standards and has remained at the forefront of technological breakthroughs.