Fiber Optic Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the Fiber Optic?

Fiber optic cable is a type of cable that transmits data from one place to another. Fiber optic cables transmit data using light pulses. This means they are immune to interference from magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, and other types of interference. There are three types of fiber optic cables: single-mode, multimode, and ribbon fiber optics. Single-mode takes the light all the way through the cable while multimode splits it into multiple beams which travel in different directions. Ribbon fiber optics has multiple strands of fiber optic cable.
Fiber optic cables are made of glass or plastic. Glass fiber is stronger and more durable but plastic is much easier to work with. Plastic is also cheaper. Fiber-optic cables are thin and do not need a lot of room order to transmit data over long distances. They are also more immune to interference than other cables because they use light rather than radio waves or electricity to carry data across the network, which means they do not require protective shielding like other types of cables do.
Fiber cables vary enormously, in the type of fiber, the construction and materials, and the number of fibers present. Optical fibers are extremely thin strands of very high purity silica (glass), which transmit light from one end to the other with minimal loss.

Why is Fiber optic cables better than copper?

Fiber optic connections can transfer more data at higher throughput over longer distances than copper wire. … Fiber optic cables are able to transmit data faster than copper cables because they use light instead of electrical pulses to carry data from one point to another.

Advantages of Fiber Optic Cables over Copper Cables:
1. Greater Bandwidth

  1. Faster Speeds
  2. Longer Distances
  3. Better Reliability
  4. Thinner and Sturdier
  5. More Flexibility for the longer term
  6. Lower Total Cost of Ownership
How Does Weather Impact Fiber Optics?

Harsh weather conditions do not primarily affect fiber optic cabling. … Rain, cold and extreme heat can affect traditional electrical signals but do not have any effect on fiber optics.

Is Fiber optic faster than 4G and 5G?

Yes!. Fiber optic remains the backbone of the 5G network, connecting to the various cell sites. This will enhance bandwidth and speed as reliance on 5G increases. 4G mobile broadband can be quicker than ADSL fixed-line broadband, and can even approach fiber optic performance. 5G is even faster than that, capable of outpacing many fiber-optic broadband services. 3G, while much slower, can still exceed the speeds you may get from an ADSL service.

Does fiber optic cable have to be in conduit?

Fiber optic cables should be placed in their own dedicated ducts or trays. Do not mix copper cable and fiber cable in the same ducts or trays. After the fiber optic cable is installed into a duct or inner duct, end plugs should be installed to provide an effective water seal.

Technical Questions

Fiber Optic Types

There are two primary types of fiber – multimode and single mode.

Multimode fiber can carry multiple light rays (modes) at an equivalent time by having varying optical properties at the core; essentially light traveling the shortest path (down the middle) travels the slowest. The larger core simplifies connections and takes advantage of the lower-cost LED & VCSEL technologies which operate within the 850nm window. Due to dispersion, the range is restricted so it tends to be used as premises cabling when less than a kilometer. It comes in two core sizes, 62.5 and 50 microns.

Single-mode fiber features a much smaller core size of 9 microns and features a single light path and may travel for much longer distances of up to 100km. These require costlier electronics that operate within the 1310 and 1550nm windows and are typically utilized in long-distance LANs, Cable TV, and telephony applications.

What is the difference between multimode and single mode fiber (fibre) optic cable?

The differences between Multi-mode and Single-mode fiber and the maximum distance you can expect for different data rates from 100Mb to 40GbE on OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, OM5, and OS1 fiber types.

Fiber Optic Cable Transmission Distances

These are the industry standard minimum distances achieved with each fiber type; however, some cable manufacturers offer enhanced cables that exceed these. It’s always best to check the manufacturer’s specifications.

The table below shows distances for ratified standards only.

The Difference Between OM1,OM2,OM3, OM4 and OM5 Multimode Fibers


  • Color – Orange
  • Core Size – 62.5um
  • Data Rate – 1GB @ 850nm
  • Distance – Up to 300 meters
  • Applications – Short-Haul Networks, Local Area Networks (LANs) & Private Networks


  • Color – Orange
  • Core Size – 50um
  • Data Rate – 1GB @ 850nm
  • Distance – Up to 600 meters
  • Generally used for shorter distances • 2x Distance Capacity of OM1
  • Applications – Short-Haul Networks, Local Area Networks (LANs) & Private Networks

OM3 – laser-optimized Multimode

  • Color – Aqua
  • Core Size – 50um
  • Date Rate – 10GB @ 850nm
  • Distance – Up to 300 meters
  • Uses fewer modes of light, enabling increased speeds
  • Able to run 40GB or 100GB up to 100 meters utilizing an MPO connector
  • Applications – Larger Private Networks

OM4 – laser-optimized Multimode

  • Color – Aqua
  • Core Size – 50um
  • Data Rate – 40GB up to 100GB@ 850nm
  • Distance – Up to 550 meters
  • Able to run 100GB up to 150 meters utilizing an MPO connector
  • Applications – High-Speed Networks – Data Centers, Financial Centers & Corporate Campuses


OM5 is the first approved as WBMMF (Wide Band Multimode Fiber) is designed to specifically handle high-speed data center applications using two fibers to transmit from 40GBs up to 100GBs and is powered by shortwave wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM).

  • Color – Limegreen
  • Core Size – 50um
  • Data Rate – 40GB up to 100GB @ 850nm to 953nm
  • Distance – Up to 440 meters @40Gb and Up to 150 meters @100GB

Ordering Questions