Questions & Answers on optical fiber products

Q: What is a single mode cable?

A: One type of low-loss optical waveguide with a very small Core (2-9 microns). It requires a laser source for input signals because of the very small entrance aperture. The core diameter of a single-mode is designed to accept a one mode (wavelength) from the light source.

Q: What is multimode cable?

A: An optical waveguide with a relatively much larger core (commonly 50 to 62.5 micron) than the single mode waveguide core (2 to 9 microns) and which permits approximately 1000 modes to propagate through the core compared to only one mode through a single mode fiber.

Q: What is the difference between 50/125 and 62.5/125 fiber?

A: 50/125 can be run further with less loss than 62.5/125 fiber.

Q: What is the maximum distance single mode fiber can transmit a signal?

A: Single mode fiber can support gigabit Ethernet up to 10 kilometers in length. Typically, single mode signals can travel up to 50 times longer than multimode signals.

Q: What is a Duplex Cable?

A: A cable which contains two optical fibers in a single cable structure. Light is not coupled between the two fibers: typically one is used to transmit signals in one direction and the other used to transmit in the opposite direction.

Q: What is plenum fiber cable?

A: Plenum is a rating for cable jackets that ensures that the cables meet installation regulations. Plenum cables have no performance benefits. You would only need plenum cables when you are installing cables in ceilings or other air-return spaces.

Q: What is dry loose tube fiber cable?

A: Dry loose tube fiber is fiber optic cable designed to block water from entering the jacket. It uses "dry" technology which eliminates the sticky residue from normal burial rated (flooded) cables. It saves you time and mess of de-gelling the cable for installation.

Q: What is fiber distribution cable?

A: Fiber distribution cable is designed to run indoors. It comes in either a riser rated jacket, supporting its own weight, or a plenum rated jacket for return air spaces.

Q: How do I know how many strands I will need?

A: The number of strands you need depends on your equipment and what it requires. If your switches take 2 strands and you are connecting it to the backbone on that same rack, you will be good with a duplex, 2 strand fiber cable. You also want to think about whether or not you plan on extending your system. If you do, it is better to install more fibers to start with than to go back and add more later.

Q: Can I use any fiber patch cable in my network or do I have to order a specific type?

A: Whenever you need to add fiber to an existing network, you must match the mode (single mode or multimode), micron size (62.5/125 or 50/125) and connector type. In addition, make sure you installing a type that will work for where you are putting it. For instance, Outside Plant Fiber Cable is for outdoor use only while Distribution Cable should strictly be for indoors.

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