Good Forecasts for Global Optical Fiber Cable Market

An optical fiber cable uses light wave for voice and data transmission, its data transmission capacity is 4.5 times more than conventional copper cables. So in the past several decades, we have seen that fiber optic cables are superior to traditional copper twisted-pair cable or coaxial cable because of its unique physical characteristics, allowing information to travel at speeds increasingly approaching the speed of light without interference between adjacent wavelengths. In leading market, the global drive to implement FTTx into more new venues is good news for the market of optical fiber cables. Another good trend is that the price erosion of optical fiber cables had been 10 to 15 percent annually, in result that the demand of optical fiber cable is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future. And the growing data transmission workloads placed by high-performance computers, servers and network storage systems is helping spur growth in the market. Consequently, fiber optic cables are now the indispensable backbone of today’s communication network. This article will analyse the global optical fiber cable market in three main applications, including long-distance communication, submarine cable and FTTx network.


Global Optical Fiber Cable Market to Grow at 9.8% till 2021

According to the report “Fiber Optics Market by Cable – Global Forecast to 2021”, the optical fiber cable market is anticipate to grow at a CAGR of over 9.8% during 2016-2021. The growing importance of cloud computing, data transfer & storage, and IoT is driving the use of Internet, which is driving the fiber optic cable market, as it acts as the backbone for data transmission. Moreover, growing technological advancements increase in number of connected devices and data centers are expected to positively influence global optical fiber cable market. In addition, next generation technologies such as LTE and FTTx, which require last mile connectivity, is expected to propel the demand for optical fiber cables in the coming years. All these factors have led to an increase in Internet users, which in turn has led to the higher usage of optical fiber cable to transfer information over the Internet, thus driving the fiber optics market.

Global Optical Fiber Cable Market

Global Optical Fiber Cable Demand from 2012 to 2018 (Source: Statista)

Optical Fiber Cable Market in Long-distance Communication

Currently, the growing adoption of optical technology in the telecommunications appears to be promising. Optical fiber has virtually unlimited capacity and low signal attenuation allowing long distances without amplifier or repeater, no exposure to parasite signals or crosstalk, and no electromagnetic interference (EMI). So fiber optic cable is especially advantageous for high-speed data transfer services in long-distance communications over electrical cabling. Furthermore, the increasing cloud-based applications, audio-video services, and Video-on-Demand (VoD) services further stimulate the demand for optical fiber cable installations.

Growing Need for Capacity

Growing Need for Capacity (Source: Goldmedia)

Submarine Optical Fiber Cable Market

Submarine optical fiber cables are undersea cables used for carrying data across interconnected networks between continents. With the advancements of technology, most of the submarine optical fiber cables that currently form the backbone of the Internet connect the U.S. to Europe and Asia by crossing the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Instead, there is a proposal for deployment of Trans-polar submarine cable system in Arctic Ocean. Laying an undersea fiber optic cable is meant to connect Asia and Europe by crossing the Arctic Circle – the shortest practical distance yet for Internet signals traveling between the two continents. According to the report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), cumulative installations of submarine optical fiber cables globally are projected to reach 2 million kilometers by 2020, driven by the growing demand for fiber broadband and the ensuing deployment of fiber optic cables in the Internet backbone. Presently, submarine optical fiber cables transmit 100% of the international Internet traffic, and more than 95% of the world’s combined data and voice traffic.


Submarine Optical Fiber Cable Market (Source: Technavio)

Optical Fiber Cable Market in FTTx Networks

In recent years, the market for optical fiber cable has shifted dramatically to local deployments, away from long haul and regional. This is the impact of FTTx, which calls for far more dense applications in neighborhoods, cities and other highly focused areas. Optical fiber cable is being caught up in the global move to broadband in the near future. The next generation of high bandwidth applications, along with the proliferation of connected devices, is expected to require faster and higher bandwidth networks which will require the use of multimode fiber cable for data transfer. This growth in the FTTx networks in turn is expected to drive the fiber optics market. Future Market Insights (FMI) forecasts the global fiber to the home (FTTH) market’s value will grow from $9.5 billion in 2017 to more than $37 billion by the end of 2027, a 14.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In the leading Asian economies, more than 44% of all homes and buildings are already directly connected to the fiber optic cable network; in North America penetration is 8.4%, in Europe 5.6%.


Final Thought

Fiber optic cable is widely used for data transmission and is increasingly being used in place of metal wires because of its efficiency and high transmission capacity. Since the use and demand for great bandwidth and fast speed, there is no doubt that fiber optic transmission will bring more opportunities and be continuously researched and expanded to cater for future demands. However, although fiber optic cable in itself is considered a long-term stable investment, it also faces huge challenge. The major restraint in the fiber optics market is the growing use of wireless communications systems in remote areas.

Related Article: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Transmission

Things to Know About Bend Insensitive Multimode Fiber

Bend insensitive multimode fiber (BIMMF) has become a very active area within the telecommunication industry once it was introduced and popularized. It typically signifies technical advancements in the production of multimode optical fiber for easier installation, and cable management for multimode fiber cables through improvements in bend insensitivity. This article will focus on some useful information about BIMMF from the perspective of its working principle, performance in networking and unique advantages as well.

What Is Bend Insensitivity?

An optical fiber consists of a core and a cladding. Although both of these regions are made from glass in telecommunications grade fibers, they are significantly different from each other. Each region is designed to capture light within the core and transmit it to the opposite end of the fiber. During this process, the light may follow many paths, depending on the angle at which the light hits the boundary, it is either reflected back into the core, or it gets lost into the cladding. Therefore, the light losses during transmission cause a weaker optical signal at the other end.

light traveling in fiber

Optical fiber is sensitive to stress, particularly bending. When conventional fibers are bent tightly, some of the signal will leak out of the fiber at the site of the bend due to macrobend loss, which will results in system failure and unplanned downtime. Various attributes in the fiber determine when this occurs. The relative ease with which this happens is known as bend sensitivity. On the contrary, bend insensitivity is a positive feature that can provide for additional robustness and simplify installation of multimode fiber.

Introduction to Bend Insensitive Multimode Fiber (BIMMF)

Bend-insensitive multimode fiber (BIMMF) has an innovative core design that enables it to significantly reduce macrobend loss even in the most challenging bend scenarios. It is hence natural that bend insensitive multimode fiber can withstand tough treatment. The difference between traditional multimode fiber and BIMMF mainly lies in the fact that the BIMMF design can include an optical trench. This trench effectively improves the fiber’s macrobend performance by retaining more of the light that would have escaped the core of a traditional multimode fiber. So when compared with standard multimode fibers, BIMMF is proved to be a good candidate for loss and bend critical applications because of their higher immunity to bending losses, without loosing performances or compatibility to other standard high bandwidth multimode fibers.

Compatibility With Conventional Fibers

There is a lot of buzz around the issue of bend insensitive fiber— is it compatible with regular fibers? Can they be spliced or connected to other conventional fibers without problems? Modeling and testing on BIMMF has shown that an optimized BIMMF is backward compatible and can be mixed with non-BIMMF without inducing excess loss. Hence, BIMMF and MMF could easily be mixed in an optical channel without complicating the estimation of losses. Moreover, BIMMF may lead to higher tolerance to possible misalignments when two connectors are mated. This is an additional positive feature for 40 and 100 Gigabit applications.

In summary, a well-designed BIMMF complies with all relevant industry standards and adheres to the following:

  • BIMMF OM2, OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers are fully compliant and fully backward-compatible with all relevant industry standards.
  • BIMMF is fully backward-compatible and may be used with the existing installed base of 50/125um multimode grades including OM2, OM3 and OM4.
  • BIMMF may be spliced or connectorized to conventional 50/125um fiber types with commercially available equipment and established practices and methods, no special tools or procedures are required.
  • BIMMF not only meets all relevant macrobend standards, but sets a new level of bend performance.
Advantages of BIMMF

Bend insensitive multimode fiber is available in all laser optimized grades, OM2, OM3 and OM4, and exhibits 10 times less signal loss in tight bend scenarios and therefore protects enterprise and data center systems from unplanned downtime due to signal loss and associated significant revenue loss.

This fiber type offers extremely low bending loss at both the 850 and 1300 nm operating windows, while maintaining excellent long term fiber strength and reliability. The fiber can be installed in loops as small as 7.5 mm radius with less than 0.2 dB bending loss at 850 nm and 0.5 dB at 1300 nm.

Maximum induced bend loss performance at 850 nm Standard for multimode fibers IEC 60793-2-10 Bend Insensitive MMF (no standard currently)
Bend radius 37.5 mm 7.5 mm
Number of turns 100 2
Conventional MMF 0.5 dB
Bend Insensitive MMF 0.05 dB 0.2 dB

In addition, bend insensitive multimode fibers enable new possibilities for cable and patch panel design to further improve the benefits of using fiber. Optical cable manufacturers can now design thinner, more flexible trunk cables, making for easier cable installation and further improving airflow in conduits, patch panels and racks. Due to the ability of the fib cable to be bent tightly with significantly less signal loss, connector modules can be made smaller which in turn leads to an increased density within racks and smaller racks.


Bend insensitive multimode fiber has been widely employed to enhance fiber management in data centers, high performance computing and enterprise LANs. Since it is a real advance to current standard multimode fibers, BIMMF is recommended for bend and loss critical applications. What should be noticed is that BIMMF also should be handled with appropriate care as all optical glass fibers.

50µm and 62.5µm Multimode Optical Fiber: Which Is More Preferable?

Multimode optical fiber is a type of optical fiber mainly used for transmission over short distances, such as in a building or on a campus. Typical multimode optical fibers support data rates from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps over link lengths of up to 600 meters. It can offer reliable, flexible and cost effective cabling solutions for local area networks, central offices and data centers.

What Are 50/125µm and 62.5/125µm Multimode Optical Fiber?

According to the core and cladding diameters, multimode optical fiber can be divided into 50/125 µm and 62.5/125 µm. 50 µm and 62.5 µm refer to the diameters of the fiber core, which is the area that carries light signals. 125 µm means the cladding diameter of the fiber. The cladding confines the light to the core as it has a lower index of refraction. Cable construction is shown in the following diagram indicating the cable core, cladding and outer jacket diameters. Currently, there are four types of multimode optical fibers: 62.5µm multimode optical fiber (OM1), 50µm multimode optical fiber (OM2), laser-optimized 50µm multimode optical fiber (OM3) and laser-optimized 50µm multimode optical fiber (OM4).

multimode optical fiber

Why Two Core Diameters?

When optical fiber was introduced for 10Mbps and then 100Mbps Ethernet, light-emitting diode (LED) light sources and 62.5µm fiber were used. LEDs overfill the fiber core, so larger core diameters mean more light is collected, and thus data can be carried farther as shown in the following picture A.

In order to achieve 1Gbps performance, the light source was upgraded to vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL). VCSELs can switch more rapidly than LEDS, which makes them better for higher data rates. Moreover, VCSELs emit much smaller and more sharply focused beams, coupling more power into the fiber for greater efficiency as the following picture B shown. With a VCSEL light source, all of the light is coupled into the fiber, so a larger core diameter does not gather more light. In fact, a larger core diameter transmits the light less efficiently as a result of modal dispersion. Using 50µm fiber decreased modal dispersion and then increased the reach of 1Gbps fiber cabling.


Which Is More Preferable?

62.5µm fiber could support 2km campuses at 10 Mbps because more light for LEDs could be coupled into its larger core. And it dominated the premises market for more than a decade. However, with faster transmission rates and higher bandwidth demands, changing market conditions was imperative. So 50µm fiber has been established as the best solution for applications > 10 Mbps. The 100Mbps Fast Ethernet standard invited the use of LEDs that take advantage of lower fiber attenuation at 1300nm wavelength, which offset the LED coupling loss into 50µm fiber caused by its smaller core diameter. Hence, 50µm fiber could support the same 2km reach at 100 Mbps as 62.5µm fiber.

As data rates rise to Gigabit speeds, 62.5µm fiber is stretched beyond its performance limit because of its lower bandwidth at 850 nm. By contrast, 50µm fiber has as much as ten times the bandwidth of the 62.5µm fiber, which enables support of 1Gbps and 10Gbps applications. As 1Gbps and 10Gbps transmitters use small spot-size lasers, concerns over power coupling efficiency into 50µm fiber are no longer an issue. Moreover, the laser-optimized 50µm multimode optical fiber can offer the most secure and least-cost upgrade path to higher-speed networks as it is able to support 40 and 100Gbps data transmission.


As stated above, 50µm multimode optical fiber is more preferable than 62.5µm multimode optical fiber. Using 50µm multimode optical fiber can bring benefits of faster transmission rates and higher bandwidth. If you have not put 50µm multimode optical fiber into use, it is time to employ 50µm multimode optical fiber for higher performance on your network.

The Introduction Of Bend Insensitive Multimode Fiber

Multimode optical fiber transmission performance is mainly limited by the phenomenon of DMD multimode fiber. Multimode optical fiber in the transmission during the pulse, an optical pulse broadening will diverge when such severe divergence condition to a certain extent, between the front pulse is superimposed on each other, so that the receiver can not accurately distinguish each of the optical fiber pulse signal, this phenomenon we called DMD (Differential Mode Delay).There are two main reason, first, the core refractive index distribution is not perfect. Multimode fiber cables DMD is the combined effect of the dispersion characteristic of the propagation time between the different radial positions of the incident pulse and the optical mode, the index multimode fiber refractive index profile can be designed well DMD characteristics. But DMD of refractive index profile is very sensitive to small deviations, and therefore it must be very precisely controlled in multimode fiber production, to achieve the perfect design values of the refractive index profile distribution. Second, the fiber central depression. A central depression is the refractive index of the fiber core center of decreased phenomenon. This recesses is connection with optical fiber manufacturing process. This will affect the transmission characteristics of the central depression of the fiber, the fiber properties decrease.

Therefore, precise control of the refractive index profile of the fiber and the elimination of the central depression is 10Gb / s Ethernet multimode fiber (OM3 fiber) R & D and production of the main tasks. MCVD and PCVD process is more suitable for the production of OM3 fiber preform. PCVD is the preferred method of manufacturing a multi-mode optical fiber having a number of layers deposited, precise control of the cross-sectional characteristics, the deposition process thousands layer can effectively control the doping amount of the deposited layer to obtain a refractive index distribution required to comply with the theoretical. While the process of collapsing, the recess etching amount by controlling the appearance of pore size can be avoided and the central hub.

10Gb / s Ethernet standard IEEE802.3ae get through, it will a 10Gb / s Ethernet market presented. Development in line with standard Gigabit Ethernet communication products is imperative. Long Fei, Draka, Corning, OFS have been successfully developed in line with TIA/EIA-4Array2AAAC standard 50/125mm laser optimized multimode graded-index optical fiber distribution products. Full bandwidth and DMD injection test results show that the 850nm wavelength, the optical fiber can support the transmission distance of 300 meters above the 10Gigabit network system. Meanwhile, the fiber also supports 10Gigabit Fibre Channel abd 10Gigabit of the OIF (Optical Internetworking Forum) standards, and is compatible with low-rate LED light transmission network.

With the rapid development of FTTx, a large multi-mode optical fiber into the interior, in the indoor environment and the narrow wiring, fiber is subjected to high bending stresses, especially in applications where long fibers are usually more compact wound storage box, it will be under a lot of fiber bending stress. With this, the attenuation properties and mechanical resistance to bending the cable put forward higher requirements. To solve these problems, bend-insensitive multimode fibers into being, similar bend insensitive singlemode fiber (G.657), it becomes a major field of research focus on multi-mode fiber.

In recent years, Draka, Corning, OFS has released OM3/OM4 bend-insensitive multimode fiber products. The fiber is compatible with the current conventional OM3/OM4 multimode fiber and optical fiber refractive index profile by optimizing the design, greatly reduces the fiber macrobend additional attenuation, minimum bend radius is generally up to 7.5mm. OM3/OM4 uses bend insensitive multimode fiber patch cables in a way interior simplifies installation, reducing installation costs and reduce the risk of system interruption or failure. Since the bend-insensitive OM3 / OM4 multimode fiber has many advantages, once launched, it was favored on the market of all ages.

As we know, whether single-mode or multi-mode optical fiber, the numerical aperture (NA) is larger, the better its anti-bending performance. This is because the numerical aperture (NA) is greater, the difference by which the core and cladding refractive index is greater, the stronger the fiber waveguide ability. In a multimode fiber, the refractive index difference between the core of the fiber 62.5μm is twice the fiber core 50μm, and therefore the latter bending performance is poor, because the basic pattern of the fiber core 50μm Design is fixed, unable to improve its performance by increasing its resistance to bending refractive index difference. In the design of the fiber, due to lower Young’s modulus of the inner layer of the coating material, the outer layer of the coating material to increase the Young’s modulus is effective in improving the bending resistance properties. Furthermore, due to lower glass transition temperature Tg of the inner layer of coating material can be improved fiber bending properties at low temperatures. However, in order to more effectively improve the core 50μm anti-bending performance multimode fiber, the fiber must find a way out design from a structure (refractive index profile) .

Bend-insensitive multimode fibers OM3/OM4 structure is similar to the standard multimode fiber, bend-insensitive multimode fibers (bend insensitive multimode fiber, BIMMF) the refractive index profile shown in Figure 12. Wherein the green line is a conventional 50μm multimode graded index profile of the optical fiber, blue and red dotted line for bend-insensitive optical fiber in two designs, the three-section of a multimode optical fiber shown in Figure 13. BIMMF distribution index profile, and the same in the core region 50μm conventional multimode fiber, only the ring groove is provided in the region depressed refractive-index cladding region near the core (called trench-assisted multimode fiber ). In conventional multimode fiber, when the fiber bend radius is too small, light intensity conduction mode will escape the core, causing signal distortion. In the bend-insensitive multimode fiber, the refractive index of the ring groove type subsidence area will form an obstacle to escape the intensity wakefield core barriers, thus effectively reduce the fiber macro bending loss.

Figure 12 50μm multimode fiber refractive index profile

Multimode OM3 Fiber

Figure 13 Conventional 50μm multimode fiber bend insensitive MMF, and two cross-sectional view BIMMF

OM4 Multimode Fiber

The Multimode Fiber Proucts on market

FC-FC Duplex OM1

FC-FC Duplex  62.5/125 OM1 Multimode Fiber Patch Cable

FC-SC Simplex OM2

FC-SC Simplex 50/125  OM2 Multimode Fiber Patch Cable

BIMMF bend-insensitive fiber mode field shown in Figure 14: In the conventional multimode fiber MMF, the guided mode in strong low conductivity state, and in close proximity to the core – cladding interface propagating order modes, because the effective refractive index neff close to the refractive index of the cladding n2, it is weakly conducting state (when the guided mode is equal to the effective refractive index neff cladding refractive index n2, the mode cutoff). Conduction state is weak order modes in the fiber bend radius is too small, its intensity will escape the core, causing signal distortion. In the bend-insensitive fiber BIMMF ring depressed trench type refractive index distribution has two light guide interface, the refractive index in the descending interface, the interface to form a light guide. Because of this interface, enhanced guided mode fiber core conductivity, so that the original order modes weak to lead the state into a strong lead state, shown in Figure 14. In addition, the external interface subsidence ring groove type refractive index distribution of the refractive index of small to large, the formation of refractive interface. Since the refractive index profile of this special structure, there is a leakage conductivity mode (leaky mode) in BIMMF fiber. Leakage mode is the solution of the equation in the intrinsic region outside the cutoff, leaky guided mode parsing mode is outside the cutoff continuous, their field is the same, but its intrinsic value, or the propagation constants are complex solutions Eigenequation, thus There are inherently leaky mode attenuation can not normally spread dissemination. The effective refractive index neff leakage mode of the cladding is less than n2. In the conventional multi-mode fiber, a leaky mode consumption decline rapidly, since the refractive index of a conventional optical fiber structure can not support its propagation in the fiber. And it BIMMF fiber, the refractive index in the form of this particular cross-sectional structure, a strong core to maintain close – cladding interface order modes propagating conductivity, thus effectively improve the flexural properties of the fiber.