September 25, 2023


Networking, Computer, PBX, IT, DIY Solution

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of optical fiber?

6 min read

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of optical fiber?

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of optical fiber?

Because of its advantages of high speed, low loss, small size, strong anti-interference ability, and large information carrying capacity, optical fiber plays a huge role in the field of telecommunications and data communication. significant growth.

This article will specifically introduce the common types of optical fibers and the advantages and disadvantages of optical fibers.

What is optical fiber?

Optical fiber is a fiber made of glass or plastic. As a light transmission medium, it transmits signals in the form of light pulses.

The optical fiber is generally packaged in a plastic outer sheath or an armored outer sheath for protection, so that it can resist harsh environmental conditions.

Therefore, optical fibers are widely used in voice, video and data transmission in various industries such as business, government, and military.

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of optical fiber?Figure 1: Fiber Structure

What are the common optical fiber types?

Optical fibers are generally divided into two types, one is a glass optical fiber made of glass, and the other is a plastic optical fiber (POF) made of plastic.

The glass optical fiber can also be divided into single-mode optical fiber and multi-mode optical fiber.

1. Single-mode fiber

A “mode” in an optical fiber refers to the path the light travels.

The core diameter of single-mode fiber is very small, only 8-10μm, it can only transmit signal waves in one mode, and the light propagates in a straight line along the center axis of the core, which greatly reduces light reflection and reduces attenuation.

Single-mode fiber is more expensive than multi-mode fiber and is typically used for long-distance, high-capacity network connections.

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of optical fiber?Figure 2: Single Mode Fiber

2. Multimode fiber

Multimode fibers have larger core diameters than single mode fibers, 50 μm and 62.5 μm.

It can carry the transmission of multiple optical signals.

Because of this, multimode fiber has a large intermodal dispersion, and its transmission performance is poor, the frequency band is narrow, and the capacity is small.

Therefore, multimode fiber is usually used for short-distance transmission.

What are Advantages and Disadvantages of optical fiber?Figure 3: Multimode fiber


Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)

Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) is a large-core step-index fiber with a core diameter of 1 mm. The large size makes it easier to install and connect to devices, light sources, detectors, etc., even by non-professionals.

At the same time, the cost of using plastic optical fibers is relatively lower, so for applications that do not require long-distance high bandwidth, plastic optical fibers are more competitive and are a good choice for short-distance data transmission.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber?

Although fiber has advantages over copper in terms of speed and bandwidth, it also has some disadvantages.

The advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber are listed below.


Advantages of optical fiber

1. Greater bandwidth and faster speed – optical Fiber supports extremely high bandwidth and speed, and its biggest advantage is that each fiber can transmit a large amount of information.

2. Low cost – the most basic raw material for making glass optical fibers is silica, that is, sand, and sand is almost inexhaustible in nature, so its potential cost is relatively low.

3. Thinner and lighter – The optical fiber is thinner and can be drawn to a smaller diameter than copper wire. Compared to similar copper wires, optical fiber are smaller and lighter, making them more suitable where space is limited.

4. Higher carrying capacity – Since fiber is much thinner than copper wire, more fiber can be bundled into a cable of a certain diameter. This also allows the optical fiber to carry higher communication capacity.

5. Small signal attenuation – The signal loss in optical fiber is smaller than that in copper wire.

6. Strong anti-interference ability – the basic component of optical fiber is quartz, which only transmits light, does not conduct electricity, and is not affected by electromagnetic fields. The optical signal transmitted in it is not affected by electromagnetic fields. Strong resistance.

7. Long service life – The life cycle of optical fiber is usually longer, generally more than 100 years.

Disadvantages of optical fiber

1. Low power – The light source is limited to low power. While high-power transmitters can be used to improve power delivery, additional costs are added.

2. Fragility – Compared to copper wire, optical fiber is quite fragile and more susceptible to damage, and needs to be properly coated for protection.

3. Distance – The transmitter and receiver need to be kept within a short distance, or a repeater needs to be used to enhance the signal.

How to choose the right optical fiber cable?

With the development of optical fiber communication, the application of optical fiber is becoming more and more extensive, and there are many choices of related products on the market.

When we choose optical fiber, in addition to some specific specifications and parameters, a good supplier is also important, as follows A selection guide for optical fiber cables is listed, hoping to help you solve some confusion about optical fiber cable selection.

Check manufacturer qualifications

Production enterprises should obtain ISO9001 quality system certification, ISO4001 international environmental system certification, ROHS, Ministry of Information Industry and other relevant national and international agency certification, UL certification, etc.

Fiber Type: Singlemode or Multimode

In the above content, we also briefly introduced single-mode fiber and multi-mode fiber.

Single-mode fiber is usually used for long distances, while multi-mode fiber is usually used for short distances.

In addition, system cost and installation cost will vary depending on the fiber type.

Optical fiber Connectors: LC, SC, ST, FC, MPO/MTP

There are many types of optical fiber connectors, the most commonly used ones include LC, SC, ST, FC, MPO/MTP, among which LC is mostly connected to SFP optical modules, which are made with a modular jack (RJ) latch mechanism that is easy to operate;

SC It is generally used to connect GBIC optical modules, the casing is rectangular, and the fastening method is a plug-in bolt type, which does not need to be rotated;

the external reinforcement method of FC is a metal sleeve, and the fastening method is a turnbuckle, which is generally used on the ODF side;

ST Commonly used in optical fiber distribution frame, the outer shell is round, and the fastening method is turnbuckle;

MPO/MTP is a type of multi-core optical fiber connector, which is often used for high-density, high-speed transmission.

Fiber Jacket: OFNP, OFNR or LSZH

OFNP (Optical Fiber Nonconductive Plenum), flame retardant grade (pressurized grade) in NEC standard, the highest grade.

Assuming that a fan is used to force the flame to blow a bundle of flame-retardant grade (pressurized grade) optical fiber cables, the flame on the optical fiber cable will be extinguished by itself within 5m, and non-toxic and non-corrosive gas will be generated.

OFNR (Optical Fiber Non-conductive Riser), the vertical level (trunk level) in the NEC standard, ranks second in level.

A fan is also used to force the flame to the bundles of trunk-grade optical fiber cables. Although the flame will be extinguished when it spreads to within 5m, it has no smoke or toxicity specifications.

LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen), is low smoke and halogen free, with very little smoke when it is on fire, and it is non-toxic.

Therefore, be sure to refer to local fire codes for installation requirements before choosing a fiber jacket type.

In conclusion

From this article, you can learn that optical fiber provide fast, stable Internet connections, capable of transmitting large amounts of data over very long distances.

As data demands continue to grow, optical fiber cabling is the best option for ensuring network flexibility and stability.


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