Fiber optic cable, as one of the fast-growing transmission mediums, has gained more and more popularity among users. Admittedly, compared with traditional copper wires, fiber optic cables reduce issue potentialities that are common with traditional copper wires, such as loss and interference. Made of sophisticated glass or plastic, fiber optic cables can send signals over longer distances at higher bandwidths while ensuring the data reliability and transmission speed. Along with their wide use, people know more about fiber optic cables, as many papers and articles have been contributed to the publication of them. Here, I’d like to take it one step further on bringing fiber optic cables even closer to people. In this text, differences have been detailed among several fiber optic cable types.
Indoor Cable vs. Outdoor Cable
Indoor fiber optic cables are required to be installed between or in buildings. For this reason, indoor fiber optic cables are designed to endure less temperature and mechanical stress, compared with outdoor ones. However, indoor cables have to be flame-retardant, emitting a low level of smoke in case of burning. For vertical installation, indoor cables permit a small bend radius to make them bendable, so as to allow easy handling. Most indoor cables are in tight buffer design.
Outdoor fiber optic cables, are needed for outdoor use. They can be installed under seas, or be placed in rivers. They are not necessarily fire-retardant. Instead, they are designed to be tolerable with harsh environments, like extreme high or low temperature, heavy rain, mechanical heat, and so on. Outdoor cables are usually in loose-tube design.
Single-mode Fiber vs. Multi-mode Fiber
Single-mode fiber (SMF), has only one pathway for signal transmission with a 8–10micron core, making the signal focused toward the center of the core instead of simply bouncing it off the edge of the core as multi-mode fiber (MMF) does. Consequently, SMF, is often used in long-haul network connections that demand high-bandwidth data transmission. In Gigabit applications, SMF is a “repeat customer”. Take Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) application for example, when SMF is deployed in combination with 1000BASE-ZX SFP transceiver (eg. GLC-ZX-SM), 70km distance reach is possible.
In contrary, MMF allows multiple pathways and several wavelengths of light to be transmitted with its larger core, 50micron and 62.5micron, thus having higher “light-gathering” capacity. Its larger core allows it to support more than one propagation mode, limited by modal dispersion, suitable for short-reach network projects. In GbE applications, the maximum possible distance reach is 550m when MMF is used with 1000BASE-SX SFP (eg. 1783-SFP1GSX), a Allen-Bradley transceiver module.
Simplex Cable vs. Duplex Cable
Single-mode and multi-mode patch cables are available in simplex and duplex versions (figure shown below).
Simplex, also known as single strand, patch cable has one fiber, while duplex cable has two fibers joined with a thin web. Simplex and duplex zipcord cables are tight-buffered and jacketed, with Kevlar strength members. Since simplex fiber optic cable consists of only one fiber link, it’s typically deployed for applications that only require one-way data transfer. For those applications, like fiber switches and servers, it’s advised to choose duplex fiber optic cable for simultaneous and bidirectional data transfer.
Distribution Style vs. Breakout Design
Distribution-style cables have several tight-buffered fibers bundled under the same jacket with Kevlar or fiberglass rod reinforcement. These cables are small in size and are used for short, dry conduit runs, in either riser or plenum applications. The fibers can be directly terminated, but because the fibers are not individually reinforced, these cables need to be broken out with a “breakout box” or terminated inside a patch panel or junction box.
Breakout-style cables are made of several simplex cables bundled together, making a strong design that is larger than distribution cables. Breakout cables are suitable for conduit runs and riser and plenum applications.
All these kinds of fiber optic cables play an important role in cabling installations or upgrades for optical networks. Or in other words, fiber optic links give full play to these fiber optic cables regarding data transmission rate, distance, electromagnetic interference and radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI) immunity, and more. Fiberstore supplies various kinds of fiber optic cables, indoor/outdoor, single-mode/multi-mode, simplex/duplex, distribution/breakout all included. For more information about fiber optic cables, you can visit Fiberstore.