Fiber Cable Manufacturer
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Learn more about Fiber Optic Cable:
Fiber Types: Multimode & Singlemode, Core/Cladding Size
The two types of fiber are multimode and singlemode. Within these categories, fibers are identified by their core composition (MM step-index or graded-index) and core/cladding diameters expressed in microns (one millionth of a meter), e.g. 50/125 micron graded-index multimode fiber. Most glass fibers are 125 microns in outside diameter - a micron is one one-millionth of a meter and 125 microns is 0.005 inches- a bit larger than the typical human hair.
Multimode fiber has light traveling in the core in many rays, called modes. It has a larger core (almost always 50 or 62.5 microns) which supports the transmission of multiple modes (rays) of light. Multimode is generally used with LED sources at wavelengths of 850 and 1300 nm (see below!) for slower local area networks (LANs) and lasers at 850 (VCSELs) and 1310 nm (Fabry-Perot lasers) for networks running at gigabits per second or more.
Singlemode fiber has a much smaller core, only about 9 microns, so that the light travels in only one ray (mode.) It is used for telephony and CATV with laser sources at 1310 and 1550 nm because it has lower loss and virtually infinite bandwidth.
1300 or 1310nm?
Fiber is filled with jargon that is traditional and often obtuse in meaning. The 1300/1310 issue goes back to the beginning. AT&T's long-wavelength lasers were statistically centered around 1310nm (but varied from 1290-1330 or more) so they adopted the 1310nm nomenclature. LEDs with a wider and more varied spectral output (~1260-1350nm with spectral widths of 60-150nm depending on the construction) became known as 1300nm devices.
When NBS (now NIST) created a calibration standard for power meters, they used 850, 1300 and 1550nm so meter calibration is usually at those wavelengths, although some manufacturers offer both 1300 and 1310 or call it 1300/1310 because it is an irrelevant difference in calibration.
Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) is large core ( about 1mm) fiber, usually step index, that is used for short, low speed networks.
PCS/HCS (plastic or hard clad silica, plastic cladding on a glass core) has a smaller glass core (around 200 microns) and a thin plastic cladding.