Fibre optic cable is an advanced type of network cable, offering significantly improved performance in terms of bandwidth and data carrying than traditional metal conductor versions.

Optical fibre cabling is used to transfer information via pulses of light, which pass along one or more - indeed, anything up to a couple of hundred in some cases - transparent glass or plastic pipes. Each of these strands is little wider than an average hair, and will normally be surrounded by a further layer of cladding (also in glass or plastic, but constructed at a different density to the main inner strand).

Wrapped around the cladded fibres, there’s also a sheath made up of a couple of layers of insulated casing. This usually comprises a protective wrapper, known as a buffer tube, followed by a final outer jacketing designed to protect the multi-stranded cable as a whole.

Single Mode vs Multimode Fibre Optic Cables

Single mode and multimode optical fibres are two different types of cable configuration which deliver varying potential performance levels at distance.

As the names suggest, single mode fibre optic cables are built around a single strand of glass fibre with a relatively narrow diameter, while multimode cables are built around larger cores that guide many modes simultaneously.

Single mode fibre involves much less internal reflection as light passes along it, which in turn reduces attenuation and allows for much higher speed data transfer over long distances. By contrast, multimode fibre cabling dramatically increases the amount of reflection, which in turn causes higher dispersion and attenuation rates, and thus increases bandwidth delivery over shorter distances.

Single mode is therefore typically used for extremely long-distance signal transmission, while applications requiring a larger volume of data to be sent over a shorter run (such as communications data within or between relatively localised buildings) tend to use multimode fibre optic cabling.

Advantages Of Optical Fibre Cables

• Bandwidth and data transfer
• Speed
• Distance
• Interference
• Safety and reliability