How Water Sinks Optical Fibers

OPTICAL FIBERS ARE BUILT TO last about 40 years, until some hypothetical technology comes along to replace them. But how long will they really stand up? No one knows for sure. Any accelerated-wear test runs the risk of failing to accurately duplicate the stresses that a fiber would undergo over four decades. That's a serious knowledge gap: Companies such as Corning Inc. and AT&T don't know whether it's necessary for them to spend extra money to lengthen fiber life with the special hermetic carbon coatings they have developed.

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