Fibre Optic Cable Assemblies
Single-mode and multi-mode cables, assembled as pigtails or patch cables
Fibre optic cable assemblies are available as variants assembled on one or both sides. They are glass optic fibres (GOF), which are factory assembled with different GOF connectors specifically for your application. The fibre optic patch cables or, assembled on one side, the fibre optic pigtails from our HITRONIC® glass fibre series enable consistently smooth installation for industrial, telecommunication and building cabling. A plug & play solution from LAPP.
What is a fibre optic cable?
Fibre optic cables, often referred to as glass fibre cables (only partially correct), are cables for transmitting optical signals in Ethernet networks, for example. Fibre optic cables achieve the highest speeds and consist of many individual quartz-glass or plastic fibres which, in bundles, form a fibre optic cable. Only fibre optic cables made of glass optic fibres (GOF) are also glass fibre cables.
Due to their extremely low loss rates and high transmission speeds, fibre optic cables are ideally suited for long distances. Fibre optic cables are often used in the form of fibre optic patch cables or pigtails, as single-mode or multi-mode cables. But in the following paragraphs we will explain to you what this exactly means.
What is a fibre optic patch cable?
Fibre optic patch cables are fibre optic cables that have already been assembled. This means that fibre optic cables are already fitted with fibre optic connectors in the factory. Unlike Ethernet patch cables, where the connectors are often assembled mechanically and directly moulded, i.e. permanently attached to the outer sheath of the cable, fibre optic cable assemblies are always assembled manually.
Fibre optic patch cables are often referred to as “patch cords”. Fibre optic cable assemblies are available as cables assembled on one or both sides. The term fibre optic patch cables refers to fibre optic cables assembled on both sides, while the one-sided cables are referred to as fibre optic pigtails.
Fibre optic cable pigtails are fibre optic cable patch cables assembled on one side. They are only fitted with a fibre optic connector on one side and can be permanently connected to another fibre optic cable using a special splicing tool.
In the product group Fibre Optic Cable Assemblies, you will only find GOF assemblies in standard lengths.
Would you like individual dimensions, other fibre optic cables or other connectors?
What is a single-mode fibre optic patch cable?
Single-mode fibre optic patch cables are fibre optic cables with a very small diameter fibre core. This means single-mode fibres only allow one light mode to pass through the core. Fibre optic cables with single-mode fibres are often referred to as mono-mode fibres.
Due to the very small core diameter of just 9 μm, so-called higher transverse modes cannot propagate in the core. They simply have a different angle and therefore do not strike the wall of the fibre core. This concentration on just one light mode gives a single-mode fibre optic patch cable several advantages:
- Signal attenuation extremely low.
- Long distances can be covered without amplification.
- High bandwidths are possible.
At the same time, however, with single-mode fibres splicing is more complex, as the fibres need to be precisely matched using special splicing tools. Just like the connectors for single-mode light lasers, they are considerably more expensive than other solutions.
The benefits of single-mode fibre optic assembled cables are shown when transmitting over long distances or at particularly high data rates.
Single-mode fibre optic patch cables can attain data rates of up to 40 Gbit/s even over long distances spanning several kilometres.
What is a multi-mode fibre optic patch cable?
Multi-mode fibre optic patch cables have significantly larger core diameters than single-mode cables. This allows several light modes to be transmitted through the fibre core.
The core diameter of a multi-mode fibre is generally 50 or 62.5 μm. Compared to single-mode fibres, multi-mode fibres have the following advantages:
- Larger core diameters and therefore easier handling simplify production of the glass fibre.
- Easier production means that multi-mode fibres are generally cheaper.
- Connection of multi-mode fibre optic pigtails is easier due to the larger core diameter. This makes the splicing tool considerably less expensive.
- Multi-mode fibres can be purchased with step and gradient index profiles.
Multi-mode fibres can also attain transmission rates of 100 gigabits per second. But only over short distances.
What fibre categories are there for fibre optic patch cables?
You are already familiar with categories of Ethernet cables, which are classified according to category Cat.5, Cat.6 or Cat.7, for example, and primarily define the transmission speeds possible for the respective category.
There is also a parallel for fibre optic cables. The fibre categories are divided into categories for single-mode and multi-mode fibres and are defined as follows:
|Designation||Core/sheath diameter||Colour code||Area of application|
|Single-mode fibre categories|
|OS1||9/125 µm||Yellow||For covering long distances and for high bandwidths|
|OS2||9/125 µm||Yellow||For covering long distances and for high bandwidths|
|Multi-mode fibre categories|
|OM1||62,5/125 µm||Orange||Typically for LED-based applications|
|OM2||50/125 µm||Orange||Typically for LED-based applications|
|OM3||50/125 µm||Aqua||For high-speed applications such as 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet or fibre channel|
|OM4||50/125 µm||Aqua/Violett||For high-speed applications such as 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet or fibre channel|
|OM5||50/125 µm||Lime||For high-speed applications such as 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet or fibre channel|
The fibre categories for fibre optic patch cables are internationally standardised in the ISO/IEC 11801 and 24702 standards.
When to use single-mode or multi-mode?
As in the increasing number of vehicles on the motorway, it's the same for fibre core that many light modes increasingly impede the flow of traffic. As bandwidth increases, the signal attenuation and the signal run time delay also increase.
The consequence of this is that considerably lower bandwidths and shorter distances can be attained than in single-mode fibre optic cables in which only one light mode is transmitted in the core. For longer distances, amplifiers or signal processors are required in the case of multi-mode fibre optic assemblies.
Depending on the index profile, multi-mode fibre optic patch cables are therefore used more frequently in office and building cabling applications, e.g. on patch fields, as well as for connecting switches, routers or other network devices. For long distances and high speed requirements, on the other hand, you should rather consider single-mode fibre optic cables. But always keep in mind: single-mode and multi-mode cables are generally not compatible with one another.
Which fibre optic connector are there for fibre optic patch cables?
Fibre optic patch cords or fibre optic cable assemblies, which also include fibre optic pigtails, are available with all common fibre optic connectors such as LC, SC and often also ST connectors for older installations. LC connectors belong to the small-form factor connector category (SFF connector) and are characterised by their particularly small design and higher packing density compared to other connectors.