CCNA Discovery Class teacher Theresa Carr put it aptly: "it's like threading a needle."
Her students learned today how to cut, splice and reuse fiber optic cable - a strand about the size of a human hair - in the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) Discovery Class, an offering in the high school's business department.
Bernadette O'Brien from the RPI-Schenectady CISCO Academy Training Center led the discussion of "terminating" fiber optic cables - essentially putting ends on the cable to make it useful for networks and computers.
The copper cables that go to the back of a computer can typically carry a signal about 328 feet before weakening. That is why fiber cable is used for long lengths, both inside and outside of buildings, she said. It keeps the signal strong over a long distance.
"Fiber is crucial for networking," she said, adding that it allows a light signal to carry information into computer networks and beyond. "If you learn to fiber patch cables, you'd be a very valuable employee."
Students took turns splicing the fiber and reattaching it to a connector, including trimming and smoothing it to ensure a strong connection. They then tested their work by sending light pulses through the wire to ensure the signal was strong.
Below are a few scenes from today's program. Click on the photo to enlarge it: