The fiber optics technology has emerged as the fastest and most effective medium for communication of high volume data with the lowest levels of attenuation. Cables are at the core of the transmission system, and these cable
s are used to carry light signals over the path of data transmission. The data is modulated within the light waves. Depending upon the requirements of transfer, there are two major modes of cable available - the single mode and the multimode. In this article, we shall focus on understanding multimode fiber optic cables.
First of all, let us understand what an optical fiber is. It is a fiber constructed of glass or plastic of a specific nature. Note that it does not comprise of any metallic substance, since that avoids electro-magnetic interference and distortion of information along with distance. This results in high accuracy of data along the transmission cable. The objective of these cables is to carry light waves along its length.
The core technology used for the light-based transmission is total internal reflection. Total internal reflection ensures that the light always reflects along the inner body of the material and thus always remains inside the body of the fiber. As a result, the loss of signal is minimized, and hence the distance that the message can be carried without losing the signal is maximized.
The light waves carrying the information along the channel have a path of propagation. A fiber optic cable is called multimode if the cable can support the transmission of multiple paths of propagation. Thus, with a multimode cable, the optical network can easily support a higher number of ongoing transmissions happening at the same time. On the other hand, a single mode fiber cable can support only one path of propagation, and hence can support a smaller bandwidth.
Since the multimode cables carry higher amount of information at the same time, they have a higher diameter of the core used to carry the message compared to the single mode ones. Also, the higher diameter lets these cables carry power a higher amount of transmission power. Typically these are the ones used for short distance wired communications, often a distance less than 500 meters. Single mode cables are popular for longer distances of communication. Multimode fiber optic cables with graded index fibers are even better in terms of accuracy and performance.
Now that you understand the basics of multimode cables in context of optical fiber based communications, you are better positioned to delve deeper and understand the applications that you would want to deploy the network in your situation, such as applying on your telecommunication network of local area computer network. You would want to drill down deeper and use the best match in your scenario to gain the best mileage from the cable in your application.
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