Fiber Optic Basics | Optical Fiber 101 | Corning

Fiber Optic Basics


Optical Fiber Basics


The History of Fiber

For years, we have operated within a culture of innovation that has positioned us as the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. In 1970, we ignited the communications revolution by inventing the first low-loss optical fiber for use in telecommunications networks around the world. Since fiber was invented over 50 years ago, our ongoing product and process innovations have helped make possible ever-faster telecommunications networks that link neighborhoods, connect cities, and bridge continents.

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The Modes of Light

How It Works

Brilliant Clarity Over Distance.

Known for innovative design and practical applications, we have developed an array of single-mode fiber and multimode fiber products for all of today's applications. Single-mode fiber has a smaller core, allowing only one mode of light to move through it at a time. This streamlined design is used primarily in telephony applications, where the fiber needs high signal clarity over long distances. Multimode fiber has a larger core, allowing hundreds of modes to move through the fiber simultaneously. Multimode fiber is used primarily for data communications in enterprise networks, like campuses or buildings, where transmission distances are two kilometers or less.

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Fiber Myths

The Truth About Glass

Remarkably Strong, Enduringly Flexible

Whether we’re filling a glass of water or washing our windshield, we take glass for granted as a functional yet fragile part of our everyday lives.

What are the myths – and the facts – behind optical fiber?

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Educational Resources

Learning Tools for Teachers and Students

Educating Tomorrow’s Scientists

We realize tomorrow’s dreamers and innovators are critical to success. We are dedicated to equipping teachers and students with educational tools and sharing our knowledge about optical fiber. Learn about fiber optic basics, its composition, and its capabilities.

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Fiber 101 Tutorials and Videos

Why Is It Important?

Why Is It Important?

In 1970, Corning scientists Drs. Robert D. Maurer, Donald B. Keck and Peter C. Schultz fundamentally changed and dramatically improved communication. Long before the Internet, cell phones and video conferencing, these innovators created the first low-loss optical fiber, a hair-thin strand of highly-transparent glass able to transmit information by reflecting light through the length of its core.

Today we take for granted our ability to quickly connect to the world and access information easily without leaving our home or office.

As the foundation of the "information superhighway," our optical fiber solutions provide immeasurable benefits to neighborhoods, cities and continents.

Why is optical fiber so important? The way we live, work and play has been redefined thanks to optical fiber.

Fiber enables the delivery of entertainment media such as high-definition TV, gaming systems and high-speed Internet. Because of optical fiber solutions, people around the world are able to use email, conduct research, participate in online learning opportunities and teleconference with family, friends, and coworkers.

Educational and financial institutions, health care facilities and businesses rely on tools and services enabled by optical fiber. We have delivered products for all network applications that facilitate e-learning, secure transfer of data, the delivery of life-saving medical technology, online medical consultations, and more.

Optical fiber has created a communications pipeline that enables telecommunications service providers to send voice, data, and video at ever increasing rates.