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What's Inside a Fiber Optic Cable?

What is a fiber optic cable?

Fiber optic cables, or optical fiber, work by transmitting data through pulses of light that travel through glass filaments at the speed of light.

by Vikas Dayal • June 11, 2024

Cable Warehouse, Fiber Optic Cables, 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.

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. 

How Fast is Fiber Optic Cable?

Fiber optic cable networks, also known simply as "fiber," are on the cutting edge of internet connectivity today. Though there are still numerous uses for ethernet and standard wireless connections, fiber optic cables will get you the fastest, most reliable internet speeds. Businesses that require fast access to data and the ability to both download and upload lots of data quickly would particularly benefit from fiber optic cable.

How quickly? That would depend on the type of optical fiber you choose.

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

It's easy to think that "more" means "better," especially when you have your high-speed data network in mind. But believe it or not, it's very possible that single mode fiber cables are the best option for you.

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 single mode fiber optic cable - shop

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

Aqua LC to LC Multimode Fiber Optic Cable - shop

Which Fiber Optic Cable is Best For You?

While Single Mode Fiber Optic Cable tends to be a little more pricey due to its unlimited bandwidth, most data centers can manage just fine with less expensive (but no less reliable) Multi Mode 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

SHOP NOW: OM1 Fiber Optic Cables - OS2 Fiber Optic Cables - Custom Color Fiber Optic Cables

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