Corning Introduces Super Bendy Fiber Optics For Your Home

Illustration for article titled Corning Introduces Super Bendy Fiber Optics For Your Home

When it comes to bandwidth, there are few grails as holy as fiber-to-the-home, also known as FFFFTTTTTTTTHHH. But it hasn't been very cooperative. Fiber optic signal dies if it is bent at 90 degree angles twice, so you're screwed unless you live in a round house. Corning, prodded by Verizon to come up with a decent optical conduit, just announced a fiber that is 100 times more bendable than the stuff used today.


It's based on a nanoStructures optical fiber design, in case any of you optics nerds were wondering. Corning's president, Peter Volanakis, sung its praises in a press release:

"We have developed an optical fiber cable that is as rugged as copper cable but with all of the bandwidth benefits of fiber. By making fundamental changes in the way light travels in the fiber, we were able to create a new optical fiber that is over 100 times more bendable than standard fibers."

My favorite analogy was from Corning spokesman Dan Collins, talking to the AP:

"This design relies on nanostructures that serve as a mirror or a guardrail, and as the fiber is turned or bent, the light doesn't leak out. We have wrapped the fiber around a ball point pen and it retains its effectiveness."

What does it mean for seriously badass bandwidth? Are we talking Löthberg fast??? The requisite Verizon boilerplate only left us guessing:

"This fiber technology will enable us to bring faster Internet speeds, higher-quality high-definition content and more interactive capabilities than any other platform which exists today," said Paul Lacouture, a Verizon Telecom executive.


Thanks Paul. I guess the specs will have to wait. [Corning via AP]



I used to work somewhere developing a fibre that I suspect was similar to this, (can't be certain from the article, but I know corning had an interest in the technology). It's not the angle of the bend that is important (you can have 15km of fibre on a spool, with 50,000+ 360deg turns and still shine light though it) but the Radius of the bend, conventional fibre complains if the radius is less than 7-10cm most of the light just keeps going in a straight line, which is a pain for cable routing. The stuff we developed could be wound round a marker pen (<1cm radius) with no loss of signal. It couldn't be bent much tighter than that simply because the silica fibre snapped.