Data Center Cabling Solutions
Do I need a Singlemode or Multimode Fiber Optic Cable for my Network?

Do I need a Singlemode or Multimode Fiber Optic Cable for my Network?

  • Aug 20, 2013
  • singlemode, multimode, fiber optic cables

You are at the point in the construction of your network where it is time to determine what kind of fiber optic cables you need to purchase—so will it be singlemode or multimode? The decision is actually very easy to make.

This is because, ultimately, it will come down to the amount of data you need to send over your network and the amount of distance being covered. 

Singlemode fiber optic cables

Singlemode fiber cables derive its name from the fact that they only let a single mode of light pass through their core at a time. Due to the allowance of only one mode of light, the amount of reflections is minimized and this in turn reduces the intensity of the stream. The light is able to move more efficiently because there is less resistance—i.e., the light does not bounce off of the walls.

These types of fiber optic cables typically find their home in long distance networks that require greater amounts of bandwidth. In addition to offering a greater amount of bandwidth capacity than multimode fiber optic cables, singlemode cables are impervious to environmental interference related to surrounding noise, radio frequency and electromagnetic activity.

Multimode fiber optic cables

On the other hand, multimode fiber cables have a larger internal core than singlemode cables. This means that more than one ray of light can pass through at a given time. However, due to the increased diameter of the core and light modes, the light has room to bounce around. This creates reflections inside of the core and slows the transfer down.

Therefore, multimode fiber cables are typically found in locations that need to transmit a larger amount of data a shorter distance, but not as quickly. It is typically found in a home setting. These cables are typically cheaper than singlemode cables and are easier to work with due to the fact that they are larger.