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Optical Fiber Cables

Fiber optic technology offers capacity for broadband width and transmission. Copper wires, originally designed for voice communications, need electric power and can handle speeds of up to 1G. Alternatively, low-power, optical fiber cables can handle more channels of information, and can send data at 5G speeds, with a potential to grow to 10G speeds.

What are the different types of fiber optic cable?

There are two main types of optical transmission lines: the single-mode fiber and the multimode fiber.

  • The Multimode core is best for short distances of about 2,000 feet or less. The multimode uses a wide diameter fiber core that has a wide bandwidth. It can use lasers or LEDs as the light source for transmission.
  • Single-mode fiber has a narrower core than multimode and uses lasers. It can carry light for long distances or 50 times longer than multimode. The single-mode core is typically more expensive than multimode cable. Single-mode fiber is typically used for long-distance runs and outside applications.
What kind of connectors are there?

Fiber optics connectors assemble the lines to devices, computers, servers, and data storage units. They have polishes that reflect the optical power signals. The back reflection is a key function of the connector. Connectors vary in format, power, and size. They also must meet the requirements of the connected optical devices. The commonly used connectors include ST, SC, FC, MT-RJ, and LC style connectors. These types of connectors match with single-mode, multimode fiber optics, laser or LED optical power.

What is the difference between plenum and riser?

Plenum is the space between floors in a building or structure. In the U.S., plenum cable used in these spaces must meet a fire resistance standard; it is the NFPA 90A Standard. Riser cable has a rating for use in non-plenum areas, and the standard is less severe. You can use plenum in place of a riser, but you will not meet the code if you use riser in plenum spaces.

What is shielded cable?

Shielded cable is a fiber optic multimode cable that has a protective metal wrap under the plastic outer coat. Shielding protects the optical transmissions inside the cable from interference by electromagnetic waves and radio frequencies. With shielded cable, information can flow without static interference that can cause data loss or interruptions. Shielded cable is indicated in environments where heavy machinery or short-wave radio transmissions occur, such as in an emergency response location or factory.

Do optical cables come in 1,000-foot lengths?

Both single-mode and multimode fiber optic cables are offered in longer length spools. They can offer the advantage of fewer splices. Fusion splices require time, special machinery, and testing to ensure line integrity. Furthermore, long-length spools offer flexibility in the length of the run, and allows you to plan to lay the cable in the manner that requires the least number of fusion splices. Excess spools can be used for other jobs or tasks.

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