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

by Stuart Berry December 03, 2018


Let's look at the differences between singlemode and multimode fibre cables.

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 micron 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 fibre optic cables consist of two fibres, usually in a side-by-side style. They are used in applications that require simultaneous bi-directional data transfer, such as fibre switches, servers and modems.

Simplex fibre optic cables consist of a single fibre. They are used in applications that require one-way data transfer.

Singlemode fibre 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 fibre applications, such as connecting fibre optics to a desktop, adding segments to existing networks, or on small applications including alarm and security systems.

VPI offers a full range of fibre optic cables, including singlemode, 50 and 62.5 micron multimode simplex and duplex.

Stuart Berry
Stuart Berry


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