Tag Archives: Optical fiber cable

What Is Fiber Optic Cable

With the development of science and technology, the demand for large-scale communication construction is increasing. The fiber optic cable industry has developed rapidly, and has formed a complete industrial chain from fiber preform to optical fiber cable. Then, what is fiber optic cable?

Fiber Optic Cable Definition

To get clear what is fiber optic cable, here starts from the fiber optic cable definition. Also known as optical fiber cable, fiber optic cable is a cable-like component that contains one or more optical fibers that used to carry light. Individually coated with plastic layers, the fiber optic components are contained in a protective tubes suitable for the environment in which the cable will be deployed. With the different types, fiber optic cables are used for different applications, such as long distance communication, or to provide high speed data connections between different parts of a building.

Fiber Optic Cable Structure

The basic structure of fiber optic cable consists of three parts: the core, the cladding, and the coating or buffer. Light propagates mainly along the core which is a cylindrical rod of dielectric material that conducts no electricity. Generally made of glass, the core is surrounded by a layer of material called the cladding. Even though light will propagate along the fiber core without the layer of cladding material, the cladding does perform some necessary functions. The cladding layer is made of a dielectric material. Generally made of glass or plastic, cladding performs the following functions: redounding loss of light from the core into the surrounding air, reducing scattering loss at the surface of the core, and preventing the fiber from absorbing surface contaminants.

Fiber Optic Cable Structure

Figure 1: structure of fiber optic cable

Fiber Optic Cable Types

Fiber optic cable types can be commonly divided into single mode and multimode optical fiber. With a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns, single mode cable is a single stand of glass fiber, which has one mode of transmission. Single mode fiber has a relatively narrower diameter, through which only one mode will propagate typically 1310 or 1550nm. Although carrying higher bandwidth than multimode fiber, it requires a light source with a narrower spectral width. Multimode cable has a little bit bigger diameter, with a common diameters in the 50-to-100 micron range for the light carry component. Then how do we distinguish the single mode and multimode fibers?

Core diameter

The main difference between the multimode and single mode fibers is that the former has a larger diameter (usually the core diameter of the 50 or 62µm), and the typical single mode fiber has the core diameter of 8 and 10µm. The cladding diameter of both is 125µm.

single mode and multimode cable

Figure 2: single mode and multimode optical fiber

Light source

Both lasers and LED are usually used as light sources. The laser source is much more expensive than the LED light source, because its light can be precisely controlled and has higher power. The light produced by the LED light source is more dispersed (many modes of light), and these light sources are mostly used in multimode optical fiber jumpers. Besides, the laser source which produces near single mode light is usually used in single mode optical fiber jumpers.


Because multimode fiber has larger core size than single mode fiber, it supports multiple transmission modes. In addition, like multimode fiber, the single mode fiber also presents mode dispersion caused by multiple spatial modes, but the mode dispersion of the single mode fiber is less than that of the multimode fiber. For these reasons, the single mode optical fiber has a wider bandwidth than the multimode optical fiber.

The color of the jacket

According to the TIA-598C standard, for non military purposes, single mode optical fiber adopts yellow outer jacket, and multimode optical fiber adopts orange or aqua outer jacket.

Mode dispersion

Multimode fiber has higher pulse expansion rate than single mode fiber, which limits the information transmission capacity of multimode optical fiber.

Fiber Optic Cable Advantages and Disadvantages

As we all know, at present, the application of optical fiber in communication can be seen everywhere. What are fiber optic cable advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages of Optical Fiber Cable:
  • Greater Bandwidth – Besides with immunity to electromagnetic interference, fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth and are much thinner and lighter than metal cables.
  • Larger Capacity – As the most secure medium available for carrying sensitive data, fiber optic cables have larger capacity and greater tensile strength than copper.
  • Lower Power Loss – An optical fiber offers low power loss, which allows for longer transmission distances.
  • Lower Cost – The raw materials for glass are plentiful, unlike copper which means glass can be made more cheaply than copper.
Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Cable:
  • Difficult to Splice – The optical fibers are difficult to splice, and there are loss of the light in the fiber due to scattering. They have limited physical arc of cables.
  • High Price to Install – The optical fibers are more expensive to install, and they have to be installed by the specialists.
  • Can’t Be Curved – Besides, the fiber optic cables can’t be curved, because the fibers can be broken or have transmission losses when wrapped around curves of only a few centimeters radius.

Fiber optic cable has both advantages and disadvantages. However, in the long run, optical fiber will replace copper. Nowadays, widely used, fiber optic cable becomes more popular than before. FS.COM, as the pioneer of optics supplier, provides all kinds of high-quality and reasonable-price optical fiber cables for your option.

Advantages of Fiber Cable Over Copper Cable

Selecting the optimum solution for your cabling infrastructure is vital. Basically there exist two options: fiber and copper. Since both offer some unique benefits and superior data transmission, it is rather hard to decide which one to use. Generally, your choice should depend on your current network, your future networking needs, and your particular application, including bandwidth, distances, environment, and cost. Although in some circumstance copper may be a better choice, in other situations, however, fiber cable obtains much more advantages.

fiber cable vs. copper cable

The very first step before you making the choice is to figure out the distinct properties of fiber optic cable and copper cable. To make it clear, we make a comparison here.

Advantages of Copper Cable

Power over Ethernet (PoE)—This offers you many other devices right through the networking cable itself, including power phones, surveillance cameras, Wireless Access Points (WAPs). It means that you don’t have to schedule an electrician in to run power to your surveillance cameras. Another advantage is the ability to have an emergency power supply that will continue powering mission critical devices even if your electricity goes out.

Less expensive electronics—If you are going to take fiber to the workspace, realize that most PC’s come with copper NIC cards. Optical ones will cost you between $100-200 each.

More flexible—TDM environments are built to run on copper infrastructures. Fiber can be used, however the electronics that make it work are expensive.

fiber vs.copper

Advantages of Fiber Cable
1.Greater Bandwidth

Fiber cable provides far greater bandwidth than copper and has standardized performance up to 10 Gbps. Keep in mind that fiber speeds are dependent on the type of cable used. Single-mode cable offers far greater distance than either 62.5- or 50-micron multimode cable. In addition, fiber optic cable can carry more information with greater fidelity than copper wire. That’s why telephone and CATV companies are converting to fiber.

2. Low Attenuation and Greater Distance

Because the fiber optic signal is made of light, very little signal loss occurs during transmission, and data can move at higher speeds and greater distances. Fiber does not have the 100-meter distance limitation of unshielded twisted pair copper (without a booster). Fiber distances can range from 300 meters to 40 kilometers, depending on the style of cable, wavelength, and network. Fiber cable performs better since fiber signals need less boosting than copper ones do.

3. Better Reliability and Immunity

Fiber provides extremely reliable data transmission. It’s completely immune to many environmental factors that affect copper cable. The core is made of glass, which is an insulator, so no electric current can flow through. It’s immune to electrometric interference (EMI) and crosstalk, impedance problems, and more. You can run fiber cable next to industrial equipment without worry. Fiber is also less susceptible to temperature fluctuations than copper and can be submerged in water.

4.Thinner and Sturdier

Fiber is lightweight, thin, and more durable than copper cable. Meanwhile, fiber optic cable has pulling specifications that are up to 10 times greater than copper cable’s. It’s easier to handle due to its small size, and it takes up much less space in cabling ducts. In addition, fiber is actually easier to test than copper cable.

5.More Flexibility

Media converters make it possible to incorporate fiber into existing networks. The converters extend UTP Ethernet connections over fiber optic cable. Modular patch panel solutions (we’ve discussed before) integrate equipment with 10 Gb, 40 Gb and 100/120 Gb speeds to meet current needs and provide flexibility for future needs. The panels in these solutions accommodate a variety of cassettes for different types of fiber patch cables.

fiber cable

6.Lower Cost

The cost for fiber cable, components, and hardware is decreasing steadily. Installation costs for fiber are higher than copper because of the skill needed for terminations. Although fiber is more expensive than copper in the short run, it may actually be cost-efficient in the long run. Fiber typically costs less to maintain, has much less downtime, and requires less networking hardware. And fiber eliminates the need to re-cable for higher network performance.

fiber and copper cost

7.More Secure

Fiber cable enables safer data transmission. It doesn’t radiate signals and is extremely difficult to tap. Once the cable is tapped, it’s very easy to monitor because the cable leaks light, causing the entire system to fail. If an attempt is made to break the physical security of your fiber system, you’ll know it. Fiber networks also enable you to put all your electronics and hardware in one central location, instead of having wiring closets with equipment throughout the building


We have explained the basic differentiator between fiber and copper, and it is rather clear that fiber cable is quickly rising in popularity, and more favored by new cabling installations and upgrades because of the benefits that come along with it. However, do remember that your cabling decisions should better depend on your very specific circumstances.