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How Fiber Optic Cables Work
The traditional method of data transmission over copper cables is accomplished by transmitting electrons over a copper conductor. Fiber Optic cables transmit a digital signal via pulses of light through a very thin strand of glass. Fiber strands (the core of the fiber optic cable) are extremely thin, no thicker than a human hair. The core is surrounded by a cladding which reflects the light back into the core and eliminates light from escaping the cable.
A fiber optic cable chain works in the following manner. At the one end, the fiber optic cable is connected to a transmitter. The transmitter converts electronic pulses into light pulses and sends the optical signal through the fiber optic cable. At the other end, the fiber optic cable is plugged into a receiver which decodes the optical signal back into digital pulses.
Multimode vs Singlemode Fiber
A "mode" in Fiber Optic cable refers to the path in which light travels. Multimode cables have a larger core diameter than that of singlemode cables. This larger core diameter allows multiple pathways and several wavelengths of light to be transmitted. Singlemode cables have a smaller core diameter and only allow a single wavelength and pathway for light to travel. Multimode fiber is commonly used in patch cable applications such as fiber to the desktop or patch panel to equipment. Multimode fiber is available in two sizes, 50 micron and 62.5 micron. Singlemode fiber is typically used in network connections over long lengths and is available in a core diameter of 9 microns (8.3 microns to be exact).
50 micron vs 62.5 micron fiber
Both 50 micron and 62.5 micron fiber optic cables use an LED or laser light source. They are also used in the same networking applications. The main difference between the two is that 50 micron fiber can support 3 times the bandwidth of 62.5 micron fiber. 50 micron fiber also supports longer cable runs than 62.5 micron cable.
Access Technologies' fiber optic cables carriers a complete line of 50 micron, 62.5 micron and 8.3 micron fiber optic cables.
Simplex vs Duplex Cable
Simplex cable consists of a single fiber optic strand. Data is transmitted in only a single direction, transmit to receive. Duplex cable consists of two fiber optic strands side-by-side. One strand goes from transmit to receive and the other strand connects receive to transmit. This allows bi-directional communication between devices.
Fiber Optic Connectors
There are a variety of fiber optic connectors. Below is a common list:
- LC - Also known as SPF, Small Form Factor & Mini Gibic
Advantages & Disadvantages of Fiber Optic cable
There are many advantages and disadvantages in using fiber optic cable instead of copper cable. One advantage is that fiber cables support longer cable runs than copper. In addition, data is transmitted at greater speeds and higher bandwidths than over copper cables. The major disadvantages of fiber optic cables are cost and durability. Fiber cables are more expensive than copper cables and much more delicate.