Understanding The Basic Components Of Fiber Optic Cables

Are you planning a data cabling project for your business, but aren't sure if you should get fiber optic cables instead of the customary copper cables? Understanding the basic facts about fiber optic cables can help you make smart decisions that will improve your work efficiency. These cables are popularly known for the fast transmission of vast amounts of data in near-light-speed, but how do they accomplish this? Understanding the components and materials that help the cables to achieve this kind of performance is crucial.

Generally, fiber optic cables have three layers — core, cladding, and coating. This post will outline each segment's basic functions, so you can understand how data-carrying protons travel along the cable as waves.


A core is the part of the cable that carries the light. It is tiny and made using pure glass or plastic, a material about the diameter of a person's hair. The glass that manufacturers use to make the core is pure silicon dioxide, and it's usually very clear, making it easy for you to see it through.

The general sizes start from 3.7um to 200um, but sometimes the core diameters can be customized to suit the company's requirements. Cores made of plastic are larger than the glass, so you have to be precise when buying to get the size that's ideal for your application. Also, note that fibers with various refractive indexes make the light to be transmitted at various angles, hence attaining varied speeds.


The other component you will find in a fiber cable is the cladding. This is that part that covers the core, and its function is to ensure the light doesn't leak out as it runs through the glass walls. Cladding comes with a lower refractive index than the core, and that's the feature that ensures light doesn't pass through but stays on the core while bouncing along the cable. Like the core, cladding comes in different diameters that are ideal for different applications, so verify your requirements to select a perfect diameter.


Finally, there's an exterior layer that isn't involved in the transmission of light. The purpose of the coating, also known as the jacket, is to protect the core and cladding from environmental factors. Usually, the coating is sturdy, so moisture, construction equipment, or any other similar element cannot tear it. Manufacturers create coats in various colors to indicate the various cable dimensions or generations. Therefore, be sure to confirm this to get the right cable coating. Contact a professional in your area for residential electrical installation services.

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