Over the past decade the use of fibre optics as a medium for the transmission of digital data has increased from an initial experimental stage to everyday commercial use in carrying telephone and other communications data, over large distances and at high data rates. The low cable cost and high bandwidths possible provide an efficient and secure transmission medium which can be applied, not only to large communication networks, but to smaller systems in which the many advantages of fibre optics systems can be utilized. Thus this paper reviews basic fibre optic theory and shows how it has been applied to interconnecting the major sub-assemblies of a digital audio console system, providing multi-channel serial remote communication over distances of up to 1km for audio and command/status communication. Design and development, problems and final implementation (and the choice of data format) are discussed showing how fibre optics have been applied to providing serial multi-channel communications for a specific requirement. Furthermore it is shown that the use of fibre optics does not require a fixed data format and can, like any copper serial link, be designed to cater for a range of present or possible future multi-channel serial communication formats.
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