What is the Difference Between Singlemode and Multimode Fiber Optic Cables?


Welcome to insight from VPI. Today we’ll be looking at the difference between singlemode and multimode fiber optics. Single mode cables have a small diameter 9 micron core allowing one pathway of light. Multimode cables have two different large diameter core sizes 50 and 62.5 micron allowing multiple pathways of light. 50 micron cables provide longer link distance and higher speeds than 62.5 micron cables. Singlemode cables have theoretically unlimited bandwidth whereas multimode cables have a limited bandwidth, with 50 micron cables providing three times the bandwidth of 62.5 microns cables. Singlemode cables are more suitable for long-distance applications, while multimode cables are better suited for short distance applications. Singlemode and multimode cables are available in both duplex and simplex options. Duplex fiber optic cables consists of two fibers, usually in a side-by-side style. They are used in applications that require simultaneous bi-directional data transfer, such as fiber switches, servers, and modems. Simplex fiber optic cables consists of a single fiber. They are used in applications that require one-way data transfer. Singlemode fiber optic cables are typically used in applications spread out longer than a few miles, such as telephone companies creating
connections between switching offices. Multimode cables can be used in most general fiber applications, such as connecting fiber optics to a desktop, adding segments to existing networks, or on small applications including alarm
and security systems. VPI offers a full range of fiber optic cables, including singlemode, 50 and 62.5 micron multimode simplex and duplex.

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