What is Fiber Optic Cable? Optical Fiber Uses and Types

FTC disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Fiber-optic Cable, also known as Optical Fiber Cable, is growing rapidly in telecommunication, and it will soon replace copper wire networking.

Moreover, the fiber optic cable is designed to transmit data for a longer distance and contribute to high-performance data networking.

In comparison to other wired cables, the fiber optic cable can provide you with higher bandwidth.

We will here look after how fiber optic cable works. It uses characteristics and specifications.

What are Optical fiber and fiber optic cables?

Fiber optic cable is a cable-based communication technology that uses light to transfer information through one or more transparent glass pipes.

However, Optical fiber or Fiber optics is very thin strands of glass or plastic that act as a medium to transfer information in the form of light pulses from one end of the fiber to another.

Fiber optic cable mainly consists of two parts: the Core and Cladding.

The Core of the optical fiber consists of one or more transparent glass pipes that actually carry the light signal.

Each strand of glass fiber is surrounded by a protective layer called Cladding.

Cladding is another glass with a lower refractive index than the core because of less mass density of glass fiber.

It further causes total Internal Reflection within the core that keeps the light signal inside the core.

The benefit of using fiber optic cable

  • Fiber optic cable can carry unlimited information
  • It has an extensive bandwidth which increases its capacity. Compared to copper cable, the standard capacity of fiber cable is 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps, and 100 Gbps.
  • Fiber optic cable can cause very low transmission losses
  • There is no heat dissipation in fiber optic cable
  • Optical fiber is less susceptible to any cross-talk and electromagnetic interference.

Types of Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber Optic Cable is divided into two main parts:

  • Single-Mode Fiber (SMF)
  • Multi-Mode Fiber (MMF)

The difference between Single-Mode and Multi-Mode fiber cables is in the size of the core.

Single-Mode Fiber Optic Cable has a very thin core that allows light to travel without bouncing off the edges. Also, it allows only the single mode of light to propagate.

Further, the Single-Mode Fiber Optic cable is used in Internet and Telephone applications, CATV, and more.

Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Cable has a wider core that multiple modes of light propagate. Also, the Multi-Mode Fiber Optic cable is 10 times larger than Single-Mode.

It is used for shorter distances which makes it very useful in interconnecting computer networks.

Fiber Optic Cable uses

Fiber Optic Cable uses are found in many fields such as Internet and broadband, networking, telecommunication, lighting.

Additionally, you will find fiber optic cable in professional fields like medical applications, sensors for monitoring and controlling, and mechanical inspection.

Optical Fiber in Internet and networking

Fiber optic cable is widely used in the internet and networking because of its high speed and bandwidth.

Further, the fiber optic cable is beneficial in networking, particularly for providing intensive data transfer facilities.

Also, the bandwidth of fiber optic cable is significantly higher compared to the traditional ethernet connection.

Optical fiber is safe in high-voltage locations, harsh chemicals, or weather conditions and in the area where it contains flammable gases.

Optical fiber cables for lighting

Fiber optic cable is trendy in common applications like LED lighting used for both domestic and commercial environments.

You will find optical fiber in decorative lighting, feature lamps, and accent lights because it can provide a wide spectrum of colors and patterns.

Also, fiber optic LED lighting consumes less electricity, is environmentally friendly and economical than standard bulb options.

Industrial and commercial uses of fiber optic cable

Optical fiber is used in sensory devices, wiring purposes in industrial and automobile sectors.

Further, it is used in wiring for HDTV, CATV, the Internet, Video-on-demand, and many other applications.

Fiber Optic uses in the Defense/Government sector.

Optical Fiber is used as hydrophones for SONAR and seismic purposes in submarines, aircraft, and other companies.

Fiber Optic uses for Medical purposes.

Optical fiber is best suited for medical purposes because of its flexible and extremely thin strands.

It is used for insertion purposes in our lungs, blood vessels, and many other hollow parts of the body. Further, it helps to diagnose internal body parts without any need for surgery.

How do Fiber Optics work?

Fiber optics has multiple components that play a key role in effective data transfer.

The core that consists of multiple transparent strands of glass provides the pathway for light to travel. Further, the core is surrounded by another layer of glass called cladding.

The cladding is of low refractive index that reflects the light inwards to avoid any loss of signal. It is also effective in allowing light to pass through any bend in the cable.

Moreover, the components like repeaters are needed at various points to strengthen the signal for longer cable runs.

Understanding Fiber Optic cable characteristics and performance

Fiber Optic Cable transmission speed and bandwidth define the overall performance of the cable.

The transmission speed of Fibre Optic Cable

The transmission speed of Fiber Optic cable is extremely high compared to any other type of wired transmission.

Furthermore, the fiber optic cable depends on the type of modes, such as single-mode and multi-mode.

Fiber optic Bandwidth

Fiber Optic bandwidth is very high, which is very effective in transmitting data quickly and efficiently.

Also, the attenuation in fiber optic cable is very minimal, which keeps the strength of the signal strength for a longer distance.

Deployment and networking of Fiber Optic cable

The installation of fiber optic cable connects cities, countries, and suburban areas.

The providers and industrial professional has separated the installation packages and is often abbreviated with different acronyms.

Some of the most common acronyms are:

FTTP (Fiber to the Premises): The deployment of Fiber optic cable in the building.

FTTB (Fiber to the building/business/block): It means the same as FTTP.

FTTC/N (Fiber to the Curb of Node): Fiber Optic cable laid to the node and extended with copper wiring inside the premises.

Direct Fiber: The Fiber Optic cable starts from the central office and reaches directly to the customer. It has the greatest bandwidth but is highly expensive.

Shared Fiber: The Fiber Optic cable started from the main central point, but it split into multiple users when it reaches the premises.


The fiber optic cable is effective and better than any other type of wired network because there is no involvement of electricity.

Also, the fiber optic cable is reliable, faster, and expensive for internet wiring than traditional internet cables.

The traditional cable wiring supports the data transmission speed of up to 1000 Mbps, whereas the Fiber Optic cable supports 2000 Mbps speed.