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Types of Fiber Optic Cables and Connectors - Quick Reference

Single-Mode Fiber

  • Single-mode fiber is a type of fiber optic cable through which only one light signal can travel at a time.
  • Because single-mode fiber is more resistant to attenuation than multi-mode fiber, it can be used in significantly longer cable runs.
  • The core of a single-mode fiber is normally 9 microns wide. A micron is one millionth of a meter.
  • Single-mode fiber can support Gigabit Ethernet over distances as long as 10 kilometers.
  • The opposite of single-mode fiber is multi-mode fiber.
  • Single-mode fiber cables are generally yellow in color,
  • Single-mode fiber is sometimes abbreviated as SMF.


Multi-Mode Fiber

  • Multi-mode fiber is a type of fiber optic cable which is thick enough for light to follow several paths through the code.
  • Multi-mode fiber is best suited for use in short lengths, such as those used in Local Area Networks (LANs) and Storage Area Networks (SANs).
  • Multi-mode fiber comes in two standard widths, 62.5 micron and 50 micron. A micron is one millionth of a meter.
  • 62.5 micron multi-mode fiber can support Gigabit Ethernet over distances as long as 275 meters; 50 micron multi-mode fiber can increase that range to 550 meters
  • The opposite of multi-mode fiber is single-mode fiber.
  • Multi-mode fiber is easier to work with than single-mode fiber. The fiber is larger and the tolerances required are much lower.
  • Multi-mode fiber is sometimes abbreviated as MMF.
  • Multi-mode fiber cables are generally orange in color.
  • Multi-mode fiber is generally less expensive than single-mode fiber.

SC Connector (Subscriber Connector)

  • The SC connector is a fiber optic connector with a push-pull latching mechanism which provides quick insertion and removal while also ensuring a positive connection.
  • The SC connector has been standardized as FOCIS 3 (Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards) in EIA/TIA-604-03.
SC male cable from C2G

ST Connector (Straight Tip Connector)

  • The ST connector is a fiber optic connector which uses a plug and socket which is locked in place with a half-twist bayonet lock.
  • The ST connector was the first de facto standard for fiber optic cabling.
  • The ST connector has been standardized as FOCIS 2 (Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards) in EIA/TIA-604-02.
  • Reference: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/connID.htm
ST male cable from C2G

LC Connector (Lucent Connector)

  • The LC connector is a small form-factor fiber optic connector.
  • The LC connector resembles a small SC connector.
  • Lucent Technologies developed the LC connector for use in TelCo environments.
  • The LC connector has been standardized as FOCIS 10 (Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards) in EIA/TIA-604-10.
LC male cable from C2G

FC Connector (Ferrule Connector/Fiber Channel)

  • The FC connector is a fiber optic connector with a threaded body which was designed for use in high-vibration environments.
  • The FC connector has been standardized in a FOCIS 4 (Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards) in EIA/TIA-604-04.

MT-RJ Connector (Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack)

  • The MTRJ connector is a small form-factor fiber optic connector which resembles the RJ-45 connector used in Ethernet networks.
  • The MTRJ connector was designed by AMP, but was later standardized as FOCIS 12 (Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards) in EIA/TIA-604-12.
MTRJ male cable from C2G
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