What are the different types and characteristics of optical fibers?

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Shane Conder
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Optical fiber is the modern element or medium through which they come data networks transmitted, it is commonly made up of very light, transparent and glassy materials, commonly used for telecommunications and internet services. Furthermore, there are many types and characteristics of optical fibers.

Something extremely interesting is that this element can send information or transmit very valuable signals at the speed of light, which makes it today very necessary.

But what are the types of optical fiber that exist? Are there any differences? Well, in this post we are going to teach you everything you need to know on the optical fiber. We hope that all the information provided will be very useful to you, let's continue.

Different types and characteristics of optical fiber

We know very well that there are two types of optical fiber, but what are they for? What is its usefulness and duration? We will explain it to you below.

Singlemode Optical Fiber (SM)

  • The single-mode fiber is the optical fiber that allows only one mode of propagation, that is, a ray of light to transmit information. This type of light fiber è commonly featured low signal attenuation and higher transmission speed as well as greater distance.

Multimode Optical Fiber (MM)

It is the fiber in which the phases of the light they can take different paths of propagation, by transmitting the information through multiple phases, this will generate greater attenuation and a lower transmission speed.

How can we identify singlemode and multimode optical fibers?

It is very simple just look at them colors. The comfortable single is characterized by a yellow color and the multimode by an aquamarine green, orange or purple color.

They also differ in the lunghezza by wave of both, for example; the single-mode ones have about 1310 and 1150 nanometers, and as for the multimodals they are 850 and 1310 nanometers.

Characteristics that differentiate the two types of optical fiber

Monomodal fiber:

In this fiber we can find two corresponding types known as; os1 e os2. As we explained earlier, there is less attenuation in this fiber, so the input pulse is very similar to the output pulse.

How are OS1 and OS2 different?

  • Ob1: It is made with a narrower tube, why? Simply because it is designed for interior applications such as; a campus or data center, with more attenuation and shorter distance.
  • Obs2: It is made with a thinner tube, as it is designed for outdoors such as road, air or underground connections.

Multimode fiber

There are two matching types, in addition to the monomode, a step index and a gradual index, let's see what it is:

  • Step index: It is the first fiber that has been produced in multimode and is characterized by having a fairly large diameter, but has a lot of attenuation, why? Because his core it is designed with one type of optical material and its coating on a completely different one.
  • For this reason, in transmission, the light pulses can occur in a rectilinear way or they can simply collide with the walls of the same, thus attenuating the signal. For this reason its input pulse is very different from the output one.
  • Gradual index: when designed, it was considered a improvement compared to the previous fiber and is characterized by the refractive index, which makes the input pulse very similar to the output pulse.

Advantages and disadvantages of the different types and characteristics of optical fiber

Knowing a little more about optical fiber, sarai certainly anxious to know some advantages and disadvantages of using.


  1.  A very flattering advantage is that optical fibers are lighter than other common cables. It therefore favors configuration in VLAN networks.
  2. You can rest assured with its durability as it resists materials thermal and corrosive.
  3. You will have the information you need a lot quickly. Also one of the differences is that it is faster than ADSL connections. 


  1. They are very sensitive, which makes it fragile.
  2. In presence of water it is possible that they will be damaged.
  3. They cannot provide electric energy

Without a doubt, the optical fiber has come to improve the quality of our telecommunications. Symmetrical fiber is also discussed, but how it differs from optical fiber, we'll explain it to you in another section. Leave us your valuable opinion in the comments, we will be happy to read what you think.

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