There are two main types of fiber optic cable: single mode and multimode. Both cables have their own advantages and disadvantages, but what’s the difference between them? In this blog post, we will break down the differences between single mode and multimode fiber, so you can understand which type is right for your needs.
What is Single-Mode Fiber?
Single-mode fiber is a type of optical fiber that is used for high-speed data transmission. Unlike multimode fiber, which uses multiple modes of light to transmit data, single-mode fiber uses only one mode. This allows for much higher data rates and longer distances than multimode fiber. Single-mode fiber is also much thinner than multimode fiber and can be used in smaller diameter cables.
Single-mode fiber is typically used in long-haul applications such as transcontinental links and submarine cables. It is also used in high-speed networks such as 40 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet. Single-mode fiber is not compatible with legacy multimode fiber cables and equipment.
What is Multimode Fiber?
Multimode fiber is a type of optical fiber that is designed to carry multiple modes, or beams of light, simultaneously. Multimode fiber is used in applications where large amounts of data need to be transferred over long distances, such as in high-speed internet and Ethernet networks. Multimode fiber has a larger core diameter than single-mode fiber, which allows multiple modes of light to propagate through the fiber without interacting with each other.
This makes multimode fiber less susceptible to signal attenuation and dispersion, making it an ideal choice for long-distance data transmission. Multimode fiber is also less expensive to manufacture than single-mode fiber, making it a more cost-effective solution for many applications.
Difference between Single Mode and Multimode Fiber
Single-mode fiber optics are fibers in which only one mode will propagate. The mode is defined as an electromagnetic wave that contains the optical signal, and travels down the length of the fiber. Single-mode fibers typically have a core diameter that is 8 to 10 times smaller than the wavelength of the light being propagated.
- This small core size allows only one mode to propagate, and as a result, single-mode fibers have very low levels of dispersion. Single-mode fibers are used for long distance applications such as cable TV and fiber optic internet. Multimode fiber optics are fibers in which multiple modes will propagate.
- The modes are defined as electromagnetic waves that contain the optical signal, and travel down the length of the fiber. Multimode fibers typically have a core diameter that is 50 to 125 times smaller than the wavelength of light being propagated.
- This larger core size allows multiple modes to propagate, and as a result, multimode fibers have higher levels of dispersion. Multimode fibers are used for shorter distance applications such as computer networks and telephone systems.
Single mode fiber optic cables transmit data in one direction, making them perfect for long-distance applications. Multimode fiber is better suited for shorter distances and can carry more data than single mode fiber.