Ah, summer vacation time. Where are you going and how will you get
there? Believe it or not, choosing between deploying single-mode and multimode
fiber optic cable is much like debating whether to drive or fly for a family
CLICK TO TWEET: CommScope's Jennifer Duits compares deploying single-mode and multimode fiber to flying and driving on your vacation.
deciding on whether to drive or fly, you need to consider several things:
many people are going? Will anyone join us along the way?
is the fastest route to our destination?
much will this vacation cost and can we stick to a budget?
will the travel conditions be like?
comfortable will we be during the trip?
kind of vacation is it? Do we need to bring extra luggage?
you can answer all these questions, then you can make an educated decision and
continue planning the rest of the trip like lodging and what you will do when
you get there. When deciding between single-mode and multimode fiber, similar
criteria applies. For example:
is the required bandwidth? Will you need to adapt for network growth?
far will your signal need to transmit?
is your project’s budget?
kind of environmental factors will you face?
important is routine maintenance to you?
protocol will it be used for (i.e., Ethernet, PON, SONET, etc.)?
take a closer look on how each measure up.
Fly with Single-mode Fiber?
comparing fiber, single-mode, much like flying, goes the distance. Based on our
Performance Calculator, single-mode fiber can be used in distances up
to 10 km (37.36.2 miles) for certain Ethernet protocols. Multimode fiber is
limited in its reach. The reason behind the long-distance transmission in
single-mode fiber is the small core of the fiber only propagates a single mode
of light. With multimode fiber, modal
dispersion becomes the governing factor in determining distance.
fiber is also like flying in the respect that it costs more. You pay for the ability
to have one long run of fiber just like you pay for a non-stop flight. The last
comparison is that single-mode fiber is like driving to your destination. It has
flexibility for the future growth or adaptation. Single-mode fiber can be used
in Passive Optical Networks (PON) where multimode fiber cannot. It is an easy
way to increase your bandwidth while lowering future deployment costs. That way
if a long, lost cousin joins you at the last minute, then you can easily fit him/her
into the family “truckster” and not have to buy another plane ticket.
Drive with Multimode Fiber?
the most part, multimode fiber aligns with the decision to drive. It is great
for short distances—between 300 and 400 meters (328 and 438 yards)—and is a low-cost
alternative. If you only need a short run of fiber between buildings, then multimode
fiber is the right choice.
has a bonus feature of being easier to maintain. Due to the larger core size,
it is less-sensitive to dirt and the environmental elements.
may not be compatible with PON components, but it is preferred when you have an
Ethernet protocol. With bandwidth supports the need of 100G and beyond,
multimode is ideal when the network is needed for Ethernet. One drawback to
using multimode; you are limited to that bandwidth and cannot increase it if
you need it in the future. In other words, once you buy your plane ticket,
you’ll need to buy another one at the last minute if that cousin decides to join
Back to Campus
though the decision to drive or fly on vacation (i.e., deploying single-mode or
multimode fiber in your network) has the overarching goal of leaving your everyday
environment, the decision between the two is more applicable within this
particular set up. Usually single-mode and multimode fiber are used in
combination with each other in a campus environment.
deciding to deploy either single-mode and multimode fiber within a campus
environment, it will depend on where the fiber is being placed and if there are
any special considerations. The typical rule of thumb is use multimode fiber when
you can and single-mode fiber when you must. So, if you get lost or take a
wrong turn when planning your campus fiber environment, stop and ask for
directions. We’ll help you.