Types of Fiber Optic Cables

Single and Multi Fiber Assembly Fiber Optic Opticonx

A fiber optic cable is a bundle of optical fibers that are each about the diameter of a strand of hair. These glass or plastic fibers make up the core, which is encased in a tube that shields the cable from its particular environment. Fiber optic cables use light pulses to transmit information quickly over long distances, making them perfect for telecommunications.

Compared to electrical cables, fiber optic cables have higher bandwidth and nonmetallic construction, which eliminates electromagnetic interference due to weather. For these reasons, fiber optic cables are the preferred medium for most of the globe’s cable, Internet, and phone services – including 5G services.

There are three main types of fiber optic cables: Single Mode Fiber, Multimode Fiber, and Plastic Optical Fiber. This guide will discuss each of them in detail to help you decide which cable is right for your unique circumstances.

Comparing Fiber Optic Cable Types

Infographic explaining the differences between single mode fiber and multimode fiber

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Single Mode Fiber

Single mode optical fibers only carry one light mode at a time, but they can rapidly transmit signals over long distances. They have smaller core diameters than multimode fibers, which means they have a lower numerical aperture. Having a single transmission path makes aligning the cable with its LED driver more difficult but results in a more precise signal over thousands of meters.

Multimode Fiber

Multimode fibers typically have larger core diameters than single mode fibers and are best for short-distance applications such as buildings. They enable multiple light modes to pass through, which limits the maximum bandwidth of the signal. However, multimode fibers have higher numerical apertures, so they produce better quality transmission.

Plastic Optical Fiber

Plastic optical fibers, also called polymer optical fibers, have larger core diameters than both single mode and multimode fibers. They are not suitable for transmission over long distances, but they are cheaper and more durable. They remain effective even when bent, stretched, or slightly damaged. Thus, plastic optical fibers are mostly used in consumer products, such as car networks, home networks, and digital home appliances.

Fiber Optic Cables from Opticonx

The right fiber optic cable depends on its intended application. Factors to consider include distance, transmission strength, and budget. Single mode fibers carry signals the farthest but will also be the most expensive to align. Multimode fibers transmit strong signals at a shorter distance and are somewhat easier to align. Plastic optical fiber cables carry signals the shortest distance and are the most cost-effective to install.

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Since our founding in 1995, Opticonx has been providing high-quality fiber optic solutions to clients across diverse industries. We are committed to providing excellent customer service, manufacturing world-class products made in the United States, and delivering all products on time. For more information, contact us or request a quote today.