What is Single Mode vs Multimode Fiber Optical Cable: Definition, Application and Difference

Just in the recent decades or two, it hasbecome apparent that fiber-optics is steadily replacing copper wire as a better way for communication signal transmission. The fiber optics can span a longer distances between local phonesystems as well as providing the backbone for many kinds of network systems like data centers, university campuses, office buildings, industrial plants, andelectric utility companies, and more. Fiber optics connects the world, carryingcalls and data.

There are three types of fiber optic cable commonly used: single mode, multimode and plastic opticalfiber (POF). And today we would like to introduce the definition and application of single mode fiber optical cable and multimode fiber optical cable and compare their differences.

Single Mode Fiber Definition: What is single mode fiber optical cable?

Single Mode fiber cable is a single stand ofglass fiber with a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns that features a common size of9um and has one mode of transmission. SingleMode Fiber generally comes with a relatively narrow diameter, through whichonly one mode will propagate typically in 1310 or 1550nm band wavelength and carrieshigher bandwidth than multimode fiber that we will talk about later, but singemode fiber requires a light source with a narrow spectral width. The synonymsof single mode fiber are mono-mode optical fiber, single-mode fiber, single-mode optical waveguide and uni-mode fiber.

Single modem fiber is used in manyapplications where data is sent at multi-frequency (WDMWave-Division-Multiplexing) so only one cable is needed: single-mode on onesingle fiber.

Commonly, single-mode fiber gives a highertransmission rate and up to 50 times more distance than multimode fiber, but italso costs more. Single-mode fiber has a much smaller core than multimode. Thesmall core and single light-wave virtually eliminate any distortion that couldresult from overlapping light pulses, providing the least signal attenuationand the highest transmission speeds of any fiber cable type.

Single-mode optical fiber is an optical fiber in which only the lowest order bound mode can propagate at the wavelength of interest typically 1300 to 1320nm.

MultimodeFiber Definition: What is multimode fiber optical cable?

Multi-Mode fiber has a little bit bigger diameterthan single mode fiber cable, with a common diameters in the 50-to-100 micronrange for the light carry component (in the US, the most common size is62.5um). Most applications in which Multi-mode fiber is used, 2 fibers are used (WDM is not normally used on multi-mode fiber).

Multimode fiber gives high bandwidth athigh speeds (10 to 100MBS - Gigabit to 275m to 2km) over medium distances.Light waves are dispersed into numerous paths, or modes, as they travel throughthe cable's core typically 850nm or 1310nm. Typical multimode fiber corediameters are 50um and 62.5um. However, in long cable runs, for example, longdistance greater than 3000 feet or 914.4 meters, multiple paths of light cancause signal distortion at the receiving end, resulting in an unclear andincomplete data transmission so designers now call for single mode fiber in newapplications using Gigabit and beyond.

SingleMode Fiber vs Multimode Fiber: what is the difference between these two kindsof fiber optical cable?

Multimode fiber has a relatively large lightcarrying core, usually 50 or 62.5 microns or larger in diameter. And themultimode fiber cable is usually used for short distance data transmissions withLED based fiber optic equipment. Single-mode fiber has a smaller light carrying core of 8 to 10 microns in diameter. And it is normally used for longerdistance transmissions with laser diode based fiber optic transmission equipment.

Single Mode Fiber vs Multimode Fiber

Besides, the light propagation between single mode fiber and multimode fiber is totally different and this is anotherreason why single mode fiber supports for a longer transmission distance than multimode fiber. Multimode fiber has two types of light propagation, step indexand graded index while single mode has only one step index. And the light propagation reduces less in the single mode fiber’s transmissions than that of multimode fiber.

Light Propagation:SMF vs MMF

Which one is good: Single Mode Fiber or Multimode Fiber?

Choosing single mode fiber or multimodefiber is based on your transmission distance need, as well as the overall budget allowed. If the transmission distance is less than a couple of miles, multimode fiber optical cable will work well and transmission system costs, including both transmitter and receiver sides, will be in the range of $500 to $800. However, if you need to cover a transmission distance of 3-5 miles or longer, single mode fiber is a better choice, and transmission systems designed for use withsingle mode fiber will typically cost more than $1000 (due to the increasedcost of the laser diode) accordingly.

 DataComm provides both single mode fiber optical cables with different transmission rate like 100G QSFP28 active optical cable, 40G QSFP+ active optical cable and 25G SFP28 AOC, and if you're interested in these fiber cables, please contact us at sales@datacommun.com for inquiry or get a quick quote.

6/27/2016 4:38:38 AM

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