Single Mode VS Multimode Fiber Patch Cord: What are the Differences and Similarities?

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Fiber patch cord is a widely used transmission medium in optical transmission. According to the fiber type, it can be divided into single-mode fiber patch cords and multi-mode fiber patch cords.

What is Single Mode Fiber Patch Cord?
The core diameter of the single-mode fiber patch cord is relatively small, and the light propagates along a straight path without bouncing off the edge, thus completely avoiding dispersion and waste of light power, the single-mode fiber patch cord can achieve lower attenuation so that the signal can travel faster and farther.

What is Multimode Fiber Patch Cord?
The multimode fiber patch cord uses multimode fiber, with connectors at both ends, used to realize the connection from the equipment to the fiber optic wiring link, with a thicker protective layer, generally used between the optical transceiver and the terminal box connect. In multimode fiber patch cord, light travels in multiple paths.

single mode vs multimode patch cord

Single Mode VS Multimode Fiber Patch Cord: What are the Differences?

  • Types
    Single-mode fiber patch cords can be divided into OS1 and OS2 single-mode jumpers. Multimode fiber patch cords can be divided into OM1, OM2, OM3, and OM4 multimode fiber jumpers.
  • Color
    Single-mode fiber optic patch cords are generally yellow, and the connectors and protective sleeves are blue. OM1 and OM2 multimode fiber patch cords are orange, OM3 and OM4 multimode patch cords are aqua, and connectors and protective sleeves are beige or black.
  • Fiber Diameter
    The core diameter of the single-mode fiber optic patch cord is 8-10µm (OS2). The core diameter of the multimode fiber optic patch cord is generally 50µm (OM1) or 62.5µm (OM2, OM3, OM4).
  • Polish
    Single-mode patch cords usually have APC or UPC options while multimode patch cords are usually PC/UPC polish.
  • Light Source
    The light source for single-mode fiber patch cord transmission is laser. The light source transmitted by the multimode fiber patch cord is LED.
  • Intermodal Dispersion
    Single-mode fiber optic patch cords have a single propagation mode, that is, light propagates along the core (axial mode) without reflection to the cladding boundary, so no inter-modal dispersion occurs. The multi-mode fiber patch cord can accommodate up to 17 light propagation modes at the same time, and its inter-mode dispersion is much higher than that of the single-mode fiber patch cord.
  • Bandwidth
    Single-mode fiber optic patch cords can provide higher bandwidth than multimode fiber optic patch cords. Since the single-mode fiber patch cord only allows one mode to propagate in the fiber, and the rest of the high-order modes are all cut off, the problem of mode dispersion is avoided, so the single-mode fiber patch cord has an extremely wide bandwidth. Multimode fiber patch cords narrow the bandwidth due to modal dispersion.
  • Transmission Distance
    Because of the lower attenuation, the single-mode fiber patch cord can support longer-distance data transmission. The transmission distance of the multimode fiber optic patch cord is short.
    single mode multimode transmission distance
  • Price
    Since the optical transceiver is very expensive, the cost of using a single-mode fiber patch cord will be higher than that of a multi-mode fiber patch cord.
  • Coupling Difficulty
    Due to the smaller core diameter of single-mode fiber optic patch cord, it is more difficult to couple light into single-mode fiber optic patch cord than into multimode fiber optic patch cord.
  • Technique
    Manufacturing and handling single-mode fiber optic patch cords is more difficult than multimode fiber optic patch cords.
  • Application Scenario
    Single-mode fiber patch cords are suitable for long-distance, high-bandwidth data transmission and wiring environments that require low loss. Therefore, single-mode fiber patch cords are widely used in communication networks, high-speed metropolitan access networks, and support for high-speed video, data and voice service networks. Multimode fiber optic patch cords are suitable for short-distance transmission and indoors, and are mainly used in security systems, enterprise networks and data centers.
  • Connection
    In general, single-mode optical modules need to be used with single-mode fiber patch cords, and multi-mode optical modules need to be used with multi-mode fiber patch cords.
    The short-wave module uses multimode orange fiber patch cord, and the long-wave module uses single-mode yellow fiber patch cord.
    Because the core diameter of single-mode fiber patch cord and multimode fiber patch cord is different, and the wavelengths of transmission are also different, so single-mode fiber patch cord and multimode fiber patch cord cannot be connected to each other and used together.

Single Mode VS Multimode Fiber Patch Cord: What are the Similarities?

  • Both single-mode and multi-mode patch cords are made of fiberglass.
  • Single-mode and multi-mode patch cords support simplex and duplex transmission.
  • Both single-mode and multi-mode patch cords can be connected with FC connectors, SC connectors, ST connectors, LC connectors, MPO connectors, etc. The common fiber optic patch cords can be divided into FC-FC, FC-SC, FC-LC, MPO-MPO, SC-SC, LC-LC type, etc.

sigle mode multimode fiber connector

Summary
From the above comparison, we can see that the appearance, parameters and application fields of single-mode fiber patch cords and multi-mode fiber patch cords are different. When choosing single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic patch cords, we should choose according to the actual wiring requirements, and consider the actual transmission distance and cost of the network.

Echo Huang

Echo Huang is an expert wordsmith and marketing professional at Bonelinks with more than 8 years of experience in high technology businesses – fiber optics, IoT, and telecommunication. She is very glad to share industry knowledge and communicate with others.

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