Picture sending signals zipping along from one location to another in the form of light guided through thin fibers of glass or plastic. These signals can be analog or digital - voice, data or video information and fiber can transport more information longer distances in less time than any copper wire.
First get to know the language - the "jargon" - here's a list of terms you should get to know:
Meter: 3.28 Feet (3.28084 ft. to be precise).
Kilometer: 1000 meters / 3,281 feet / 0.62 miles.
Micron: 1/1,000,000th of a meter. 25 microns equal 0.001 inch. This is the common term of measurement for fibers.
Nanometer: One billionth of one meter. This term is commonly used in the fiber optics industry to express wavelength or frequency of transmitted light.
Buffer coating or primary coating: A hard plastic coating on the outside of the fiber that protects the glass from moisture or physical damage.
Both multimode and singlemode fiber have an outside diameter of 125 microns - about 5 thousandths of an inch - just slightly larger than a human hair.
Terms you use when you want to take your measurements:
Attenuation: The reduction in optical power as it passes along a fiber, usually expressed in decibels (dB). See optical loss.
Bandwidth: The range of signal frequencies or bit rate within which a fiber optic component, link or network will operate.