A Guidance to Fiber Optic Cable Selection

With the advances of the information age, a great amount of people specialized in the field of network communication begins to attach great importance to the selection of fiber optic cables. From data and voice to security and videoconferencing, plenty of contemporary cable infrastructure services depend heavily on fiber optics to transmit information of farther distance at a higher speed, which makes fiber optics a standard component in daily communication nowadays. Fiber optics are considered to be a desirable cable medium because of its immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) , not to mention its bandwidth that helps to meet the increased capacity demand, and its reliable reputation to ensure worry-free maintenance. This article is going to focus primarily on some essential component in fiber optic installation and provide some insight into selecting the right fiber optic cable.

The Necessities of Selecting the Right Type of Fiber

Fiber optic cable basically can be used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from small office LANs, data centers to inter-continental communication links. Moreover, its ability to transport signals for significant distances also contributes to its popularity in most networks, whether they are local, wide area or metropolitan. In fact, fiber optic cable is now running down many residential streets and brought directly to the house. Thus, choosing the appropriate fiber optic cable is extremely important for any installation.

It is known to all that the selection concerning the right type of fiber should be based on the immediate application since it varies in different circumstances. Besides, installers should also consider upcoming applications and capacity needs. Future bandwidth demands, transmission distances, applications, and network architecture influence fiber selection just as much as current needs. Therefore, a careful assessment of potential network usage will help avoid the costs of preventable upgrades.

Single-mode Fiber Optic Cable vs. Multimode Fiber Optic Cable

First and foremost, on selecting the right type of fiber, one should decide the mode of fiber needed. The mode of a fiber cable describes how light beams travel on the inside of the fiber cables themselves. Since the two modes aren’t compatible with each other and you can’t substitute one for the other, it is important to make the right choice.

Single-mode fiber optic cable uses a single strand of glass fiber for a single ray of light transmission, which can accommodate further distances and offer virtually unlimited bandwidth. Single-mode has the capacity to carry a signal for miles, making it an ideal option for telephone and cable television providers. And it is also usually employed in campus and metropolitan networks. Single-mode fiber requires laser technology for sending and receiving data, and the high-powered lasers transmit data at greater distances than the light used with multimode fiber.

Multimode fiber optic fiber, as the name indicates, allows the signal to travel in multiple modes, or pathways, along the inside of the glass strand or core. Multimode fiber optic cable is generally adopted in applications involving shorter distances like data center connections. Multimode fiber optic cable transmits Gigabit Ethernet up to 550 m, although it can’t compete with single-mode fiber optic cable in terms of transmission distance, multimode fiber cable is still proved to be a cost-efficient and economical solution.

Making the Connection

Connections play an essential role in keeping the information flowing from cable to cable or cable to device. There are lots of connector styles on the market including LC, FC, MT-RJ, ST and SC. There are also MPO/MTP style connectors that will accommodate up to 12 strands of fiber and take up far less space than other connectors. Among them, manufacturers and distributors are more likely to have equipment to accommodate ST and SC style connectors than any other connector style. Especially the SC connectors, with better performance against loss, more efficient installation and easier maintenance, has earned its place in today’s networking applications. As for those data center managers who attach more importance to space-saving, the LC connector is a more ideal option. These connectors offer even lower loss in a smaller form factor and provide higher performance and greater fiber density.

Evaluating Interface Options

In addition to fiber type and connector selection, another vital issue for the technician is to evaluate the interface option which determines the network performance. The selection of interface is relevant to the fiber type, cable distance and speed of the connection as well. Installers can rely on modular Gigabit fiber-optic interfaces, called gigabit interface converters (GBICs) for most interface converters. These flexible interfaces come in several form factors, including XENPAK and SFP+, and can accommodate a variety of device applications. The picture below shows a typical gigabit fiber optic converter.

Gigabit fiber optic converter

While choosing the right interfaces, installers need to take their light sources into consideration. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) work only with multimode fiber and operate at the 850nm window; laser works only with single-mode fiber and operates at the 1550nm window; and vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) works with both types of fiber and operates at the 1310nm window.


In summary, to build a well-performed fiber optic system, realizing the applications and capacity expectations should be put into first place. As you can see, selecting the appropriate cable design for your application should require a thorough review of the entire pathway for the cable, including the type of fiber, optical connectors as well as interface options. The decision of selection can affect the fiber protection and performance, ease of the installation, splicing or termination, service lifetime, and, most importantly, cost.

Fiber Optic Cables Constructions Outlines

Fiber optic cables are available with a wide variety of constructions to match the unique requirements of virtually any AV installation. These cables may contain just one fiber or hundreds of fibers and may be designed for indoor or outdoor applications. now we mainly examines outlines which cable constructions are appropriate for each topology.

Indoor Simplex and Duplex Cables

A simplex fiber optic cable, contains a single, tight buffered fiber surrounded by aramid yarn strength members. At the center of the cable, the 125 um glass fiber is surrounded by a 250 um buffer coating. A 900 um secondary buffer is added for additional protection. The aramid yarn is made from Kevlar, the same material used by law enforcement and the military for body armor. It provides additional protection and strength for pulling. A 2mm to 3mm outer jacket surrounds the yarn and buffered fiber for a final layer of protection.  As mention simplex fiber optic cable, we have to recommend you 10G OM4 simplex fiber optic cable from FS.COM.  As shown in following picture.

10G OM4 simplex fiber optic cable

Multimode OM4 fiber optic cable is the highest level of multi-mode fiber optic cable that you can use. The om4 multi mode fiber cable has the highest bandwidth possible and therefore can be used in networks where an overwhelming or extreme amount of data transfers will take place. The multimode om4 fiber, or om4 wire, will definitely support all of your businesses data needs.

A duplex zip-cord fiber optic cable, as shown in Figure 12, consists of two simplex fibers that are bound together, and can be easily separated by pulling apart. Each buffered fiber is surrounded by aramid yarn strength members and a jacket. A thin strip of jacket material down the middle holds the two fibers together.

Since most AV signals travel along one or two fibers, simplex and duplex cables are the most common fiber optic cables used in AV systems. They are used as patch cords and are often installed in horizontal spaces between telecom or equipment rooms and work areas. Available in both riser and plenum rated varieties, they can be installed within walls, under raised floors, and in air return spaces. The small size and light weight make these cables easy to pull. The individually jacketed and buffered fibers enable easy field termination, and provide durability for routine handling.

Indoor Multi-Fiber Cables

A breakout fiber optic cable contains multiple simplex cables within a common outer jacket as shown in Figure 13. The simplex fibers are bundled around a central dielectric element for additional strength. The outer jacket can be stripped back using an integrated rip cord to expose the simplex fibers for stripping and termination. Once terminated, the individual fibers can be plugged directly into a patch panel or terminal equipment. The jacketing material can be riser or plenum rated for installing in walls or air return spaces.

Breakout cables are used anywhere multiple fibers must be run from one point to another. Since each fiber is protected by strength members and a jacket, breakout cables are often used in horizontal spaces between work areas and a telecom or equipment room. They are also used within the building fiber backbone for connecting the telecom room to the equipment room in a hierarchical topology. Breakout cables can be used between patch panels or plugged directly into equipment.Bulk 9/125 Singlemode Fiber Optic Breakout Cable save up to 30% off in FS.COM now. Our breakout cable is OFNP, plenum rated so it can be placed in ceilings and other plenum air spaces. This series features a single outer jacket which surrounds and protects the individually jacketed fibers within. Our bulk fiber optic cable is compatible to international and industrial standards, we are China manufacturer and China supplier of good price bulk fiber optic cables.

breakout indoor cable

Plastic Optical Fiber(POF)

Plastic optical fiber is a type of optical fiber that uses polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) as the core material that allows the transmission of light. POF is often called consumer optical fiber as it is a low-cost optical fiber alternative that is easier to use than glass optical fiber. It sustains a data transfer speed of 2.5GB/s, which isn’t as fast as glass optical fiber, but is much faster than traditional copper wire.

In comparison to traditional optical fiber, PoF is much larger in diameter which results in lower data rates making it most suitable for high bandwidth signal transmission over short distances. Unlike glass, plastic fiber can easily be cut and bent to fit in hard-to-reach places and the larger core also allows for slightly damaged fiber to work. POF products are most commonly used in medical, automotive, home networks, as well as digital audio and video interfaces. Our Plastic Fiber Optic Cable is constructed of a single acrylic monofilament and are most efficient when used with visible red status indicator light sources.A wide range of fiber optic tips are available.

Fiber optic cables provide unique advantages in an AV system, particularly in secure and long distance applications. Choosing the proper cable depends upon the number of fibers required, installation location, topology, and the overall design of the system. Cable constructions are available for both indoor and outdoor applications to provide a solution for virtually any AV system. Color coding provides an easy identification method for multi-fiber cables.