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May. 06, 2022

Fiber optic cables vary greatly in the type of fiber, the construction and material, and the number of fibers present. Optical fibers are extremely thin strands of very high purity silica (glass) that transmit light from one end to the other with minimal loss.


Types of Optical Fiber

There are two main types - multimode and singlemode.



1. Multimode fibers can carry multiple light rays (modes) at the same time by having different optical properties at the core; essentially, light travels the slowest through the shortest path (from the middle down). The larger core simplifies connections and takes advantage of low-cost LED and VCSEL technology operating in the 850nm window. The limited dispersion range means it is often used as house wiring when less than one kilometer is available. It is available in two core sizes, 62.5 and 50 micron.


2. Single-mode fiber has a much smaller core size of 9 microns and only one optical path, allowing it to travel much longer distances, up to 100 km. These require more expensive electronic equipment operating in the 1310 and 1550 nm windows and are typically used for long-haul LAN, cable TV and telephone applications.


Fiber Optic Transmission Distances

These are the industry standard minimum distances achieved by each fiber type, but some cable manufacturers offer enhanced cables that exceed these. It is best to check the manufacturer's specifications.




There are some exceptions to these distances.

1. You can extend the gigabit transmission distance of all types of multimode fiber optic cables up to 2 km using a proprietary gigabit extender. This is useful when you already have fiber optic cable installed and need the extra performance.

2. You can increase the range of OM1 fiber cables up to 550m by using single-mode modules and mode-modulated cables.

For costs and information on bulk fiber optic cables, assemblies, panels, etc., see the Fiber Optic Products section here.

If you need any further help or advice, please feel free to contact us.