Light normally travels in a straight line, so for light to move along a winding fiber-optic cable, it relies on a principle known as total internal reflection. This means that the light traveling along the fiber constantly reflects off the cladding that covers it, which doesn't absorb any of the light. A light signal can travel a great distance, but will degrade as it moves. How much the signal degrades depends on the wavelength of the light and the purity of the fiber's glass.
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