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Chapter 26

Questions and Answers

Question 1
What does noise refer to in this chapter?

Noise is anything that

disrupts the signal in a
communications system.

Question 2
Why are fiber-optic cables better than
telephone wires for transmitting
information over long distances?

Because the electric signal creates a magnetic field

around the wire it travels through. The magnetic
field disrupts the current and creates noise in
nearby wires. Due to this noise, the electrical signal
must be regenerated every mile or so along the
wire. With fiber-optic cables the message only has
to be regenerated every 50-60 miles.

Question 3
Explain how light travels through a fiberoptic cable, using the terms reflection
and total internal reflection.

When light enters the fiber, eventually it hits the

interior walls of the fiber. The light is reflected back
into the core when it hits the cladding, which acts
like a mirror. As long as the angle with which the
light hits the fiber wall is greater than the critical
angle, all of it will be reflected. This is called total
internal reflection.

Question 4
Why does the light signal have to be

The signal must be regenerated

because impurities in the glass
absorb some of the light and
degrade the signal.

Question 5
How can ones and zeros be encoded in a
light signal?

By flashing the laser light on

and off (on for one; of for

Question 6
Nanette talks about how every technological system
is like a puzzle, that all of its pieces must fit- and
work- together properly.
Describe how this applies to at least two other
technological systems youve studied in this course.

This applies to all designed systems coal power, electrical generating plants,
sewage systems, eyeglasses
manufacturing system, and so on

Question 7
Nanette is a test engineer.
Why is testing a critical part of the development
Describe how at least two other engineers youve
learned about test the technologies theyve designed.

Testing is a critical part of the development process

because it ensures the product is reliable and wellsuited for the real-world market. Examples of other
engineers who have tested their designs are Aprille
Joy Ericsson (an astronautical engineer) and Bob
Brown (a design engineer)

Question 8
Do some library and Internet research to
find the disadvantages of optical cables.
Consider the cable materials and the
installation in your response.

Some disadvantages include: Fiber-optic cables

break easily; they are very expensive to install and
manufacture. Unlike telephone systems, the country
is not already wired with fiber-optic cable. It may be
years before every community has access. There is
some environmental impact when fiber-optic cables
are laid in the ground, sometimes creating
controversy (especially with trans-Atlantic cables)