“Ruggedised communications” is the term given to a network of fibre optic components installed to withstand harsh environments. Such components, known as “ruggedised fibre optics (RFOs)”, include cables, connectors, fibre optic rotary joints (FORJs), and transceivers with greater strength and durability than standard fibre optic components. RFOs typically specify high signal integrity, and are beneficial in a variety of industrial sectors including aerospace, energy, marine, and defence.
Harsh environments involve extreme temperatures, pressures, humidity, mechanical disturbances, dust, rain, or corrosive fluids. RFOs have mechanical, chemical, or electrical reinforcements that withstand harsh environments, allowing them to perform to broader specifications than standard components.
Signal integrity is a measure of the quality of data transmission at the receiving end of an optical fibre. This can be affected by insertion loss, return loss, and crosstalk. RFOs are typically reinforced to reduce such losses.
Ruggedised fibre optic (RFO) components are built to withstand harsh environments such as deep underwater, where environmental sealing and pressure compensation are often necessary.
Ruggedised fibre optics are successfully applied in a number of industrial settings. They include:
- Aircraft flight decks
- Deep oil wells
- Underwater sonar systems
- Robotic vehicles e.g. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and remotely operated vehicles (ROV)
- Wind turbines
- Military data centres
- Power Transmission