Introduction to Fiber Optic Communications

As you may have noticed on our web site, we are gearing up our product line to offer Fiber Optic communications as a standard option for our relay control devices.  Fiber Optics are very easy to work with, even if you are a first time user of this technology.  There are three primary advantages that Fiber Optic communications brings to our product line, advantages not possible from other technologies.

Noise Immunity

Fiber Optics offers superior noise immunity.  We strongly believe in separating a computer interface from the controller when controlling inductive loads.  Fiber Optics facilitates this separation with minimal cost and ease of integration.  The integrity of data communications between a computer interface and our controllers cannot be corrupted by electromagnetic interference, surges, or high-induction external loads.  Many of the USB devices offered on our web site cannot handle the EMI generated during switching of inductive devices.  As you will note, we have provided warnings all over our site, indicating the unsuitability of USB for certain applications.  By employing a Fiber Optic interface between the USB port and our device, we eliminate the problems of EMI and USB communications entirely.  So, for the fist time, it will be possible to control large, highly inductive appliances from the USB port of a computer without interference.

Lightning Protection

We have noticed that sometimes lightning plays a key role in destroying many of the devices we receive for repair.  Employing Fiber Optic communications between the computer interface and our device will effectively block lightning from ever reaching your computer.

Futureproof

It has been a long term goal of ours to futureproof our devices as much as possible.  When a Fiber Optic interface is offered on our devices, the customer has the choice of selecting and changing interface options with minimal down time.  Here is a list of upcoming interface options:

Choose your Interface Use up to 20 Feet of Fiber Optic Cable Control your Device without Interference
USB Interface
(USB to Fiber Optic Adapter)
Fiber Optic Cable

(provides EMI and Electrical separation between the computer interface and the device you are controlling, offering superior noise immunity and lightning protection)

High Induction Solid State Relay Controller Equipped with Fiber Optic Communications

(For the first time, you will now be able to switch high-power devices that generate large amounts of EMI without disrupting the computer or the interface, at very low cost.)

Ethernet Interface
 (Ethernet to Fiber Optic Adapter)
RS-232 Interface
 (RS-232 to Fiber Optic Adapter)
Wi-Fi 802.11b Interface
(WiFi to Fiber Optic Adapter)
Bluetooth Interface
(Bluetooth to Fiber Optic Adapter)
ZigBee Interface
(ZigBee to Fiber Optic Adapter)
Or use any other interface we may develop in the future.

Fiber Optics and Wireless Communications

Fiber Optics is Faster, with No Security Protocols and offers the same electrical isolation at a lower cost than a typical wireless interface.  On the surface, it may seem that Fiber Optics is in competition with wireless technologies.  So why would you ever want to transfer data from a Wireless protocol to Fiber Optics?

With the exception of RS-232, all other interface options employ a very sophisticated microcomputer.  For the sake of reliability, you must keep this microcomputer as far away from inductive devices as possible.  When a wireless interface is used in conjunction with a Fiber Optic interface, it is much less likely that the EMI generated by highly inductive loads will ever interfere with wireless communications.  On the other hand, if the wireless interface were directly integrated onto the controller, EMI is more likely to cause communication errors and slow down or completely stall communications when switching highly inductive loads.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Communications

While be believe Fiber Optics to be the best technology to implement into all devices we offer, it is not without its disadvantages.  Here is a list of Advantages and Disadvantages of using Fiber Optics.  We believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and are heavily perusing the integration of Fiber Optics into line of products.

Advantages of Fiber Optic Communications Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Communications
Excellent Noise Immunity, Offering 100% Reliable Communications in High EMI Applications Limited Distance (as it pertains to NCD Device Communications)
Superior Electrical Isolation Between Devices, Provides Effective Barrier Against Lightning Two Strands of Fiber Cable is Required for 2-Way Communications
Low Cost when Compared to Wireless Technologies Continuous Run of Fiber Recommended
Encryption Protocols Not Required when Compared to Wireless Technologies Difficult to Splice
High Data Rates with No Error Checking Required Splices Impact Communication Distance
Easy to Cut, Simply Cut at Perfect 90° Angle with a Razor Blade Infrared Radiation (as employed by NCD devices) is Not Visible
Very Easy to Implement for First Time Users  
Incredible Network Potential for Branching Out Communications to Multiple Devices using a Future Line of Fiber Optic Hubs  
Non-Centralized, Meaning if a Device is Destroyed in Service, the Interface and Other Devices in the Network will ALWAYS Remain Online (when used with a future line of Fiber Optic Hubs)  

Introduction to Fiber Optic Communications