Cost Comparison : Single-mode Vs. Multimode Fiber Optics

There is a long-term debate between single-mode and multimode optics. From the data rate, link distance, and costs, people usually will calculate every single difference between them. However, this article will not talk about technical distinctions because you can find related information everywhere. Cost, as one of the important factors, is sometimes the deciding point by many data center operators.

The cost difference between single-mode and multimode optics (optical transceiver modules and fiber optic cables) are quite obvious. Single-mode optics with longer transmission distance and more bandwidth usually charges higher than multimode optics. The following part will take FS.COM’s Cisco compatible single-mode and multimode optics as an example, and make a vivid comparison between these optics from 1Gbps to 100Gbps.

SMF Vs. MMF Modules

In order to cope with the ever-lasting requirement for higher data rate and reliable fiber performance, telecommunication industry launches a whole series of devices. Fiber optic transceivers, as a representative, developed from the old 1Gbps SFP module, 10G SFP+ (SFP plus), 40G QSFP+, to the 100G QSFP modules. The price gap of the single-mode and multimode optics in these form factors are huge but fluctuating.

  • Cisco Multimode SFP Vs. Single-mode SFP


Seen from the above table, the price difference between multimode and single-mode SFP is minor.

  • Cisco Multimode SFP+ Vs. Single-mode SFP+

SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR are the Cisco 10G SFP+ transceiver modules that can be operated over multimode and single-mode fibers, respectively. Cisco SFP-10G-SR price is only US$ 16.00 from FS.COM. And the SFP-10G-LR price is US$ 34.00. The price gap between them is US$ 18.00. Different vendors may offer this product at different prices, but believe in me, FS.COM has the lowest price for optical modules.

  • Cisco 40Gbps & 100gbps single-mode Vs. Multimode Modules


Keep in mind, the number listed above is only the price of the specified optical module. For the budget of a whole network, you should also count the other essential components and the maintenance cost.

Single-mode Vs. Multimode Fibers

It is known to all that whether to use single-mode or multimode fibers depends on the fiber optic transceiver types. In this case, the cost difference between single-mode and multimode fibers also depends on what optics you use. For example, SFP-10G-LRM Cisco can only work with LC single-mode fibers, while Cisco QSFP-40G-SR4 needs to be connected with MTP OM3/OM4 multimode fibers. Obviously, MTP multimode fibers charge higher than LC single-mode fibers.


This article has listed the price gap between single-mode and multimode optics. Single-mode optics averagely charges higher than multimode optics. Whether you go for the single-mode or multimode cabling are all feasible. Keep in mind that single-mode cabling is for long-haul and multimode is for short-reach applications.

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