General Studies Paper 3 (Science & Technology)
Question:- 40. Explain the principle of working of optical fibers. How has the use of optical fibers contributed to India’s growth story so far? Answer in 150 words.
Aug 16, 2022


An optical fiber is a medium or a technology that transmits information as light pulses along with a glass or plastic strand or fibre. This leads to high-performance data transfer over long distances. Optical fiber uses the optical principle of “total internal reflection” to capture the light. Light/infrared getting in at one end undergoes repeated total internal reflection and emerges at the other end. optical fiber is comprised of a light-carrying core in the center, surrounded by a cladding that acts to traps light in the core. Fiber optics is used for long-haul and high-speed communications. Light is able to carry more information than anything else we know of. Optical fibre has more bandwidth than conventional copper cables. They can reach speeds beyond 10 Gbps. Therefore, optical fibre can carry much more data than copper. Optical fibers keeps the light trapped so that it can travel far distances without being lost.



  1. 1.They have been used to provide online education, online banking and e-health, among others in areas not connected to conventional internet services. For e.g. undersea cable from Chennai to Andaman and Nicobar islands. It has helped small and medium enterprises in the region, making new markets and opportunities finally accessible.
  2. 2.Undersea cables have been used as a part of a government strategy to improve trade and cooperation with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. “Under the Act-East policy, the role of Andaman and Nicobar in India’s strong relations with East Asian countries and other countries connected to the sea is very high and is going to increase.
  3. 3.Bharat Net/National Optical Fiber Network: an information superhighway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats. It is a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
  4. 4.Optical fibre is extremely flexible and thin. Therefore, they are used for biomedical research, endoscopy and microscopy. It is used to view internal organs by inserting the cable into the body.
  5. 5.Optical fibre cables are employed to transmit television signals which have greater speed and bandwidth. Optical fibre is much cheaper than the same-size copper wires.
  6. 6.Fibre optics are used for data transmission in high-level data security fields of military and aerospace applications. These are used in wirings in aircraft, hydrophones for SONARs and Seismics applications.
  7. 7.These fibres are used for imaging in hard-to-reach places such as they are used for safety measures and lighting purposes in automobiles both in the interior and exterior. They transmit information at lightning speed and are used in airbags and traction control. They are also used for research and testing purposes in industries.



Fiber optics is under research and its benefits are immense. In times to come, this technology has the potential to enhance the living standards of our people and make delivery of various services possible.