How Do Single Mode Fiber and Multimode Fiber Differ?


What makes single mode and multimode fiber cabling so different?

The benefits of fiber cabling are staggering—the technology allows for signal to be sent down ultra-thin strands of glass (fiber) enabling for quicker connections than ever. To understand fiber, there are a few components to look at. The center of the cable is called the “core,” which is where the data actually passes through. This is surrounded by a material called the “cladding,” which traps light in the core. Then, there are a few more protective coatings to stop moisture or any other forms of damage that may come about. Still, there’s a distinction to be made between single mode fiber optic cable and multimode cabling.

Single Mode Cabling

The core of single mode cabling is small, diametral, and only allows one kind of light to pass through it. While this means some limitations come along with single mode fiber cabling, it also allows for signals to travel further and as a result, single mode cabling is often used in long distance fiber applications. It’s especially useful for telecom companies or larger colleges and universities that need an efficient system.

Multimode Fiber Cabling

In contrast, multimode cabling has a large diametral core that lets multiple modes of light pass through, which means more kinds of data are able to be transmitted. This also means that it is more suitable for shorter locations. Multimode cables are often used in data centers as they offer a cost-effective solution that often makes sense when working with shorter distances.

Which Should You Use?

There’s no real clear winner here—both have their advantages and disadvantages that hinge upon application. If you’re planning to revamp a data center, multimode cables might be a suitable, cost-effective solution. However, cable providers tend to stick to single mode cables that are able to work over long distances and provide quick speeds.  We can help you with your solution.

Get in Touch with FiberPlus

FiberPlus has been providing data communication solutions for over 25 years in the Mid Atlantic Region for a number of different markets. What began as a cable installation company for Local Area Networks has grown into a leading provider of innovative technology solutions improving the way our customers communicate and keeping them secure. Our solutions now include:

  •     Structured Cabling (inside and outside plant)
  •     Electronic Security Systems (Access Control & CCTV Solutions)
  •     Distributed Antenna Systems
  •     Public Safety DAS
  •     Audio/Video Services (Intercoms and Display Monitors)
  •     Support Services
  •     Specialty Systems
  •     Design/Build Services

FiberPlus promises the communities in which we serve that we will continue to expand and evolve as new technology is introduced within the telecommunications industry.

Have any questions? Interested in one of our services? Call FiberPlus today 800-394-3301, email us at, or visit our contact page.  Our offices are located in the Washington, DC metro area, Richmond, VA, and Columbus, OH.  In Pennsylvania, please call Pennsylvania Networks, Inc. at 814-259-3999.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 18th, 2018 at 10:19 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.