Types of Fiber Optic Cables

Confused about the types fiber optic cables? We understand! We’re here to help you figure out what kind of fiber optic cable you need.

So what exactly is fiber optic cable?  Basically, fiber optic cables are bundles of 100% glass threads that are coated in two layers of plastic that is reflective. They are taking the place of copper wires to protect the fibers from issues like chemical exposure or wide temp ranges. Their biggest advantage is their ability to increase of transmission speed of digital information. Fiber optic cables are available in many different types, and choosing one can be a bit of a challenge as it depends on where and how it will be installed as well as how many fibers it has.

Here is a rundown of the different types of fiber optic cables:

Simplex- These cables are one fiber and available in 2mm or 3mm with a jacket for indoor use. Two simplex cables joined together is called a zip cord, which is mainly used for backplane and patch cord applications as well as desktop connections.

Duplex- This consists of two single strands of fiber optic cable attached at the center and surrounded by a buffer. This cable is available in 2mm or 3mm.

Distribution- These are smaller cables that contain many tightly  buffered fibers bundled under the same jacket. They are used for dry conduit runs that are short. Distribution cables are double buffered. Connectors can be installed at breakout box locations.

Breakout- These cables are bigger and more costly than distribution cables, but they offer a strong design that is good for conduit runs and plenum applications. They make it possible for a fast installation of connectors onto a jacketed fiber.

Loose tube- Made of many fibers together inside a little plastic tube, loose tube cables are good for burying right into the ground or stringing overhead. They are very fragile due to their thin buffer coating, so handle them with caution.

Ribbon- This type of cable is available without a jacket and can be made with multiple ribbons. It offers the highest packing density and is ideal for outdoor use since it is filled with water-blocking gel.

Fiber optic cables come in a decent variety of types, all depending on your networking needs. We here at FireFold carry just about any type you could imagine in a variety of lengths. Plus, we carry couplers and converters that you can use right along with these cables – all in a convenient area within our Networking section of the website. If you just need the cables, well, you’re in the right spot!