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What Does Fiber Optic Cable Do?

Fiber Optic Cable for Speed and Reliability

Fiber optic cable technology works by transmitting data through pulses of light traveling to and from your device across glass filaments at the speed of light.

by Vikas Dayal • July 09, 2024

Fiber Optic Cables, Network Patch Cables, Network Patch Cords, New York Cable Company, NY Cable Company


Fiber optic cables, or optical fiber, work by transmitting data through pulses of light that travel through glass filaments at the speed of light. Fiber optic cable is much faster than the fastest copper network cables, making it the fastest option for data networks.

What Are Fiber Optic Cables?

Fiber optic cable technology works by transmitting data through pulses of light traveling to and from your device across glass filaments at the speed of light. The word "fiber" here refers to the many superfine glass or plastic filaments contained within the cable jacket, whereas other types of cable would typically contain traditional copper instead. These glass or plastic cores consist of a flexible, transparent fiber drawn to a diameter that's even more fine than a single strand of human hair.

Optical fiber cables contain such a core, with a fine protective coating further encased within a layer of "cladding," which is made from a material with a lower refractive index. It's this cladding that contains the traveling pulses of light. Further protected by a strengthening material, the contents of fiber optic cables are finally sheathed in a sturdy jacket that (in most cases) indicates the cable's type and speed. 

What Kinds of Fiber Optic Cable Are There?

There are two different types of fiber optic cords - multi mode fiber, and single mode fiber. Which fiber optic network patch cable is the right fit for your data network? Let's check out the pros and cons of each to determine which one might be the right cable for you. 

Single Mode Fiber Optic Cables

While it is true that multi mode fiber optic cords are better at handling a heavier load than single mode cables, especially where a complex data network is involved, there are some situations where single mode fiber optic cables (also known OS2 fiber optic) is the right choice.

This is because single mode fiber optic network patch cables can provide you with virtually unlimited bandwidth. They have a smaller core than multi mode cables, resulting in smaller loss. This lower insertion loss comes with the added perk of a longer life cycle, and more besides. 

Yellow SC/SC Single-Mode Fiber Optic Cable - Shop Cables.com.

Multi Mode Fiber Optic Cables

Multi mode fiber optic cables usually feature a standard aqua blue jacket, which might make them hard to distinguish from each other. Datacomm manufactures both our OM3 and OM4 cables in the US, and they're assembled using high-quality materials for optimum performance. But there are different types of multi mode fiber cables! 

OM3 fiber optic cable is rated for 10GB up to 300 meters. They're capable of transmitting at speeds at 40GB up to 150 meters, or even 100GB up to 100 meters. Meanwhile, our OM4 fiber optic cords can achieve 40G performance over 150 meters, and 100G over 100 meters. Like our OM3 cables, these fiber patch cables are a big step up from copper cables. They're available in the same variety of configurations as the OM3 cables, but it's important to keep in mind that whichever cable you decide on for your data network, you'll always have the option of purchasing in custom colors and lengths from Cables.com

Aqua LC/ST Duplex Multi Mode Fiber Optic Cable - Shop Cables.com.

How Fast is Fiber Optic Cable?

Fiber optic cable connection speeds are much faster than even the fastest copper. Consumers that require fast access to data benefit from fiber optic cable. You can expect your single mode fiber optic cable to transmit data at speeds between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps depending on cable length.

Fiber optic cables can carry signals much farther than copper, with far less degradation in the signal strength. While copper cables can carry signals up to 328 feet without signal amplification, fiber option cables can send signals as far as 25 miles, depending on the wavelength the cable uses, and whether the cable is single or multi-mode. Organizations with multiple buildings spread across a campus, like research centers, hospitals, and some manufacturing facilities, can benefit from fiber optic cabling to carry signals between buildings.

Can You Install Fiber Optic Cables Outdoors?

Our Outdoor Rated Fiber Optic Cables (sometimes spelled "fibre optic," or referred to as "optical fiber") come in singlemode or multimode fiber optic types like our LC to LC OM3 Fiber Optic Cable for Direct Burial, and are among the complete line of fiber optic cable products that Cables.com currently offers. 

We currently offer these Outdoor Rated Fiber Optic Cables from 10 meters to 300 meters. 

Where Can I Buy US-manufactured Fiber Optic Cable?

If you're looking to install optical fiber, there's an option for you! Our cables warehouses are located in New York, and our Datacomm cables are proudly manufactured right here in the US. If you'd like to know more about ordering from Cables.comContact Us or reach out to us at sales@cables.com. You can also reach us by phone at 1-800-372-3725, or at 631-617-5190 if you're located in New York state. We offer free shipping for most orders over $99 and same-day shipping for in-stock items if ordered by 2 PM EST. 

Can't locate the right cable for you on our online catalog? Please Contact us about preparing a custom cable for you, and consider buying in bulk to save! We look forward to working with you.   

SHOP NOW: Single Mode LC/LC Fiber Optic Cables - Multi Mode OM4 Fiber Optic Cables - Custom Color Fiber Optic Cable


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