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Fiber Optic Cable Types

Medha Godbole Nov 7, 2018
Fiber optic cable consists of minimum 1 or more optical fibers. These optical elements are usually coated with plastic layers, and are fitted in a protective tube. Nowadays, they are extensively used in any kind of data communication, and other related aspects.
Fiber optic cables encode data as light pulses, instead of electricity pulses. This technology has revolutionized data transfer as never before. These cables have easily overcome their copper counterparts, as regards to their data densities.


In the optical fibers, the facing or the covering is normally coated using a tough and resinous buffer layer. Buffer refers to a component, which holds one or more optical fibers, for performing functions like mechanical isolation, fiber identification, and damage prevention. Now, this layer may further be surrounded by a plastic jacket layer.
However, though these layers add strength to the fibers, they do not contribute to its optical wave properties. For indoor applications, the fiber that is jacketed, is generally wrapped in a bundle of flexible fibrous polymer strength members like Aramid, in the form of a lightweight plastic encasing to form a simple cable.
The end of each cable is terminated using a specialized optical fiber connector. These connectors are spring loaded, and after aligning, they couple up the fiber cores for the passing of light. They also enable the cable ends to be easily connected and disconnected from transmitting and receiving equipment.
Different types of cables are available in a wide variety of sheathings and armor, meant for direct trench burial, lashing to aerial telephone poles, submarine and conduit installation, dual use as power lines, and insertion in paved streets.

Types of Fiber Optic Cables

Single Mode Fiber

They are made up of a narrower core, and allow a single data stream or mode to be transmitted over considerably long distances. In a narrow spectral width, a single mode fiber carries far more bandwidth, as compared to multi-mode fiber.

Multi-Mode Fiber

The strands of this fiber type have a much thicker core. It allows multiple data streams to be transmitted over a single optical fiber by carrying encoded data, employing multiple light resources.
This cable is used in backbone applications in buildings. However, the distance and available data bandwidth is a kind of drawback of this fiber. Though it is excellent for shorter distances, it's not compatible with the high bandwidth of single mode fibers.

Plastic Fiber

They generally do not have the quality and optical purity that is needed for reliable data transmission, and hence, makes them unfit for data transmission.
They are mostly used for decorative and aesthetic transmission of light. Plastic fibers have an edge over glass fibers, when it comes to entertainment and aesthetics on account of its cost and durability.