You’ve probably heard the terms “single mode” and “multi mode” fiber optic cables. But what’s the difference between single mode and multi mode fiber optics? Well, it’s pretty simple – but you have to go INSIDE the cable for the answer.
Basically, the main difference with each type of fiber optic cable is the interior size.
Single mode fibers consist of a tiny glass core that typically has a diameter between 8.3 and 10 microns (9 microns is a popular size). The single glass strand carrier higher bandwidth than multi mode fiber optic. However, the single mode fiber optic uses one light source in a tight spectral width. The result? Single mode fiber optic is your best choice for transferring high speed data over long distances. Their unique properties make single mode less susceptible to attenuation than multi mode fiber optics.
Multi mode fibers contain much larger cores than single mode. Their cores are anywhere from 5 to 7 times larger than single mode cores. With a diameter ranging between 50 to 62.5 microns, multi mode fiber optics can accommodate a higher data volume than single mode. But with the greater capacity comes a setback – multi mode fiber optics have higher attenuation levels, so they’re typically used over shorter distances.
When choosing fiber optic cable for your network, the key considerations should be attenuation and distance. If you need to transmit less data over longer distances, use single mode fiber optic cables. For a greater data capacity over shorter distances, go with multi mode fiber optic cables. Multi mode is often used for LANs and other small networks.