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A Quick Introduction to Singlemode Fiber Optical Cable


Singlemode fiber (SMF) is a kind of optical fiber that is utilized in the transmission of data over long distances. In SMF, data transmission is handled by a single glass fiber strand. Unlike in multimode fiber were multiple glass strands are used. In Europe, more than 90% of the deployed optical fiber cable is single-mode fiber cable. This type of cable is generally used in extensive data applications where networks are to be stretched across physically distant locations.



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Construction of SMF Optic Cable

As shown in the picture above, single-mode fiber optic cable consists of the following components;

1. Core
The core resides in the central portion. It is the part that guides light rays. Generally speaking, 8.3 microns to 10 microns cores are used in single-mode optical fiber cables.

2. Cladding
Cladding is the part that surrounds the core. Fused silica glass is used in the construction of both; core and cladding. The refractive index of the cladding is always kept lower than the refractive index of the core. This difference between the refractive indexes keeps light rays bound inside the core.

3. Buffer
The buffer or coating is a layer of specially designed material to protect both the cladding and the optical fiber from physical damaged. Moreover, the buffer also prevents the fiber strand from micro bends related to scattering losses.

4. Jacket
The outer layer of an optical fiber is called a jacket. The cable jacket keeps the sensitive internal components safe from external environmental conditions. In addition to this, it also provides adequate information about the type of cable. Single-mode optical fiber cables come with a yellow color jacket.


SMF cables are designed with a small diametral core allowing only one mode of light to propagate. This phenomenon helps in the minimization of internal light reflections and, subsequently, in lowering attenuation. Thus, single-mode fiber optic cable can transmit a signal over long distances. In typical scenarios, SMF cables are used in the construction of large enterprise, telecommunication, and CATV networks.



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Benefits of SMF Optical Cables:

  • Single-mode fiber supports higher transmission rates
  • This kind of cable offers approximately 50 times longer distance as compared to multimode fiber
  • Single-mode optical fiber cables operate with minimum attenuation
  • These cables are less prone to opti
  • Supporting equipment for SMF based networks is readily available

Disadvantages of SMF Optical Cables:

  • SMF optical cables cost more than the MMF cables
  • LASER signaling is required with these cables

Can Single-Mode Fibers be Used with Multimode Fibers?


Well, it is not recommended as Up to 99% of the total power can be wasted when a multimode fiber cable is connected with single-mode fiber. So, it is not a great idea to use single-mode fiber with multimode fibers and creating such a network is not going to be a very productive thin.