The holy grail of electronics is ultra fast speeds. Engineers always strive for efficient signal transference between components, and speed is an integral part of that efficiency. By minimising the time it takes for data to be transferred, electronic devices are able to do more with less.
A fast circuit has fast capture times, or the time it takes to capture and react to a signal. When a signal is present in a system, it may last for only thousandths of a second. If a component is slow, it won't even react to it. Microwaves last even shorter than this. With a fast circuit, home satellite systems would not be possible since the circuitry would be too slow to capture the signals.
Without a fast circuit, download times from the Internet to a computer would be lengthy. When the Internet was first introduced, downloading a simple program could take hours. In 2010, the same program takes about 2 minutes to download. Engineering professor Ajay Nahata at the University of Utah states that with even faster circuits, an entire movie can be downloaded in a few seconds.
Without a fast circuit, data processing would be next to impossible. For example, an MRI machine produces detailed cross-section images of the human body. These images must be transferred as data. With a slow system, it would take one day or more to process just a single image, yet 30 images are made every 90 seconds during a procedure. This translates into three images per second. A fast system of data transference is absolutely required for an MRI and other medical equipment to transfer data to a computer.
Fibre optic technology is a huge leap forward in electronics. Copper wire is adequate for most electronics, but it slows electricity down due to its internal resistance. By converting electrical signals into light, signals can be transferred down a fibre optic cable far faster than electricity down a copper wire. Light is not slowed down and, as a result, signal transfer is thousands of times quicker.