Optical fibre has become commonplace in most networks, and this is mainly due to its huge advantages over standard twisted-pair copper cabling.
Optical fibre comes in a variety of different options, for more information see our blog post on the different types of fibre optic cable explained
When considering fibre optic cables, it is essential to consider both multimode and single mode fibre types, they both have their benefits, but what are they?
What are the advantages of singlemode fibre?
Singlemode fibre has a 9-micron diameter core surrounded by a 125-micron cladding.
Because of this small diameter, it only has enough capacity for a singlemode of light to traverse down it. This leads to a low amount of attenuation allowing for the signal to travel further with lower loss.
Singlemode is primarily utilised within long-haul environments, and if your business has a leased fibre line, this is likely what you will have installed.
However, singlemode fibre is becoming increasingly used even in shorter haul installations due to its ability to be more versatile in future applications.
For example, it is already capable of providing up to 100GbE over distances of up to 40km (100GBASE-ER4) using just a single pair of cores; this is something which multimode can only be jealous of! We think this amount of bandwidth should be enough for a while!
Unmistakably, this all has to come at least one disadvantage, cost. While the actual cable is usually cheaper to purchase, due to the long haul nature, instead of LEDs, high-quality lasers are required within the active hardware such as transceivers. This causes them to be more expensive to purchase.
It is also important to remember that, with a small core diameter, it is ever more essential to ensure that the installation is carried out to a high standard too. Due to its small core size, it is hugely important to keep the fibre faces clean at all times; we recommend that best practices when handling the fibre are adhered too.
In summary, we feel that if you are happy paying extra for active hardware to gain a more future proof network and understand the requirements to keep fibre infrastructure operating well, singlemode fibre is a good choice.
- Low loss over large distances allowing for high throughput over distances of up to 40km.
- Low core count required for high throughput unlike multimode.
- Due to the small core size, needs to be kept clean at all times.
- Higher cost when purchasing active hardware such as transceivers and media converters.