What is an optical Fiber Cable?

An optical fiber cable, commonly referred to as a fiber optic cable, serves as a high-capacity transmission medium utilized in telecommunications and networking. Comprising of individual strands of glass or plastic fibers, it facilitates the transmission of data through light pulses over extensive distances. The advent of optical fiber cable has brought about a significant transformation in communication technology, allowing for swifter data transmission, increased bandwidth, and seamless long-distance connectivity.

The optical fiber itself is the central component of an optical fiber cable in Ersa Electronics. It is a slender material, typically composed of glass or plastic, that carries light signals. Surrounding the core is a cladding layer that aids in containing the light within the core by reflecting it through total internal reflection. To safeguard the cladding, an outer coating or jacket is applied, providing both mechanical strength and protection against environmental factors.

The transmission of data through an optical fiber cable relies on the principle of utilizing different wavelengths or colors of light to transmit light signals. This technique, referred to as wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), enables multiple data channels to be simultaneously transmitted over a single optical fiber, significantly enhancing the cable’s overall capacity.

One of the primary advantages of optical fiber cables is their ability to transmit data over long distances with minimal loss or degradation. Unlike traditional copper cables, which experience attenuation and interference, optical fibers can carry signals over tens or even hundreds of kilometers while maintaining strong signal strength. This characteristic makes optical fiber cables exceptionally well-suited for long-distance telecommunications networks and undersea communication links.

One of the notable advantages of optical fiber cables is their ability to provide high bandwidth. By utilizing light as the transmission medium, these cables can achieve extremely high data rates, allowing for the efficient transmission of large amounts of information within a short period. This makes optical fiber cables ideal for applications that require fast data transfer, such as video streaming, cloud computing, and data centers.

Another advantage of optical fiber cables is their immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). Since they do not conduct electricity, they are not affected by these types of interferences. This characteristic makes them particularly useful in environments with high levels of electrical noise or where electrical isolation is necessary, such as industrial settings or high-voltage areas.

Furthermore, optical fiber cables have a lightweight and compact design compared to traditional copper cables. This makes them easier to install, handle, and route within buildings or underground conduits. Additionally, optical fibers are resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for use in harsh environments or areas prone to moisture and chemical exposure.

In conclusion, optical fiber cables are advanced transmission mediums that utilize glass or plastic fibers to transmit data using light pulses. They offer high-speed and high-capacity data transmission over long distances, while also providing immunity to electromagnetic interference and having compact physical characteristics. The use of optical fiber cables has revolutionized telecommunications, enabling the rapid growth of global networks and meeting the high-bandwidth requirements of modern communication systems.

Optical Fiber Cables Color Code

An established color code is utilized to terminate fiber optic cables. In cases where the cables contain more than 12 strands, the color code is repeated. To differentiate each group of 12 strands, alternative methods are employed, such as using multiple buffer tubes with 12 or fewer strands that are either numbered or colored according to the same color code. Another method is to group 24 strands, with the color code repeating but with slight variations. For instance, the first group of 12 strands may have solid colors, while the second group may have a solid color with a stripe or other identifying mark.

The color arrangement is depicted in the diagram provided below. It closely resembles the color scheme used for twisted pair cables, with the exception that the second set of colors is utilized initially and two additional colors are appended at the conclusion.

Optical Fiber Cables vs Copper

When comparing optical fiber cables and copper cables, there are several factors to consider, including bandwidth, distance, signal integrity, cost, and installation requirements.

Below is a chart about their differences.

FactorsOptical Fiber CablesCopper Cables
Signal IntegrityImmune to EMI/RFISusceptible
CostHigherLower upfront
Installation RequirementsSpecialized expertiseStandard
Flexibility and SizeCompactBulkier
Immunity to Electromagnetic InterferenceYesNo

Optical Fiber Cable Types

There exist various classifications for optical fiber cables, each tailored to fulfill distinct needs and purposes. These classifications are based on factors like fiber structure, mode of propagation, and utilization. Below are a few examples of frequently employed optical fiber cable types:

1. Single-Mode Fiber (SMF):

Single-mode fiber cables are specifically engineered to transmit a solitary mode of light, enabling efficient long-distance communication with minimal signal loss. These cables possess a compact core size, typically measuring 9/125 microns and are extensively utilized in long-haul communication systems, including telecommunications networks and submarine cables. SMF cables provide ample bandwidth and are well-suited for transmitting data across extended distances.

2. Multimode Fiber (MMF):

Multimode fiber cables are purposefully designed to simultaneously carry multiple modes of light. They possess a larger core size, commonly measuring 50/125 or 62.5/125 microns, in comparison to single-mode fibers. MMF cables are predominantly employed in shorter-distance applications, such as local area networks (LANs) and data centers. While they offer lower bandwidth capabilities compared to single-mode fibers, they prove to be more cost-effective for transmitting data over shorter distances.

3. Graded-index fiber:

Graded-index fiber cables feature a core with a refractive index that gradually diminishes from the center to the periphery. This unique design aids in minimizing modal dispersion, which refers to the spreading of light pulses as they traverse through the fiber. Graded-index fibers find extensive usage in multimode applications and provide enhanced bandwidth capabilities when compared to step-index fibers.

4. Step-Index Fiber:

Step-index fiber cables possess a core that maintains a consistent refractive index throughout. They are not as frequently utilized in contemporary fiber optic systems due to their higher modal dispersion in comparison to graded-index fibers. Nevertheless, step-index fibers can still be observed in specific specialized applications.

5. Loose-Tube Fiber Cable:

Loose-tube fiber cables comprise one or more optical fibers enveloped by buffer tubes. These buffer tubes offer protection to the fibers against environmental elements like moisture, temperature fluctuations, and physical strain. Loose-tube cables are commonly employed in outdoor or challenging environments, such as aerial installations or underground conduits.

6. Tight-Buffer Fiber Cable:

Tight-buffer fiber cables feature a thicker layer of protective material directly surrounding the optical fiber. This design ensures enhanced mechanical safeguarding and is suitable for indoor applications where the cables are exposed to handling or installation pressures. Tight-buffer cables are frequently utilized in premises wiring, such as office buildings or residential installations.

7. Ribbon Fiber Cable:

Ribbon fiber cables consist of multiple optical fibers arranged in parallel and held together by a slender ribbon-like structure. This configuration allows for a high fiber density and facilitates easy splicing. Ribbon cables find common usage in high-density environments, such as data centers or backbone networks, where efficient cable management is imperative.

Optical Fiber Cables Advantages and Disadvantages

Optical fiber cables possess a multitude of advantages over traditional copper cables; however, they also come with certain drawbacks that must be taken into consideration. Below are the primary advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber cables:


1. Enhanced Bandwidth: Optical fiber cables offer significantly greater bandwidth in comparison to copper cables. This enables them to transmit large volumes of data at high speeds, making them well-suited for applications that require extensive data capacity, such as video streaming, cloud computing, and data centers.

2. Long-Distance Transmission: Optical fiber cables can transmit signals over long distances without experiencing significant signal loss or degradation. Unlike copper cables, which suffer from attenuation, optical fibers can transmit data over tens or even hundreds of kilometers without the need for signal boosters or repeaters. This makes them ideal for long-haul telecommunications networks and undersea communication links.

3. Immunity to Electromagnetic Interference: Optical fibers are impervious to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) due to their lack of electrical conductivity. This characteristic renders them highly reliable in environments with high levels of electrical noise or where electrical isolation is necessary, such as industrial settings or areas with high-voltage equipment.

4. Enhanced Security: Optical fiber cables provide a higher level of security compared to copper cables. They are challenging to tap into without detection, making them less susceptible to unauthorized interception of data. This makes optical fibers suitable for applications where data security is crucial, such as financial transactions or the transfer of sensitive information.

5. Lightweight and Compact: Optical fiber cables are lightweight and have a smaller physical footprint than copper cables. They are easier to install, handle, and route within buildings, underground conduits, or confined spaces. Their compact size also allows for higher fiber density and efficient utilization of space in cable management systems.


Expense: The installation and maintenance of optical fiber cables can be costlier compared to copper cables. The fiber optic cable itself, along with the specialized connectors, splicing equipment, and testing tools, can be more expensive. However, the overall cost may vary depending on factors such as the installation distance and specific application requirements.

Fragility: Optical fiber cables are more delicate than copper cables and require careful handling during installation. They can easily break if bent beyond their minimum bend radius or subjected to excessive tension or physical stress. Proper installation practices are crucial to ensure the durability and reliability of the fiber optic cable.

Skill and Expertise: Installing and maintaining optical fiber cables necessitate specialized knowledge and expertise. Skilled technicians are required for fusion splicing, connector termination, and testing of optical fibers. This can increase the complexity and cost of deploying fiber optic systems, particularly for small-scale installations or organizations without in-house expertise.

Limited Power Transmission: Unlike copper cables, which can transmit both data and power, optical fibers can only transmit data in the form of light pulses. Therefore, separate power cables or alternative means of power transmission may be necessary for devices or systems that require electrical power.

Limited Availability: While optical fiber networks are rapidly expanding, they may not be as widely accessible as traditional copper networks in certain regions. In some areas, the existing infrastructure primarily relies on copper cables, making it more challenging to implement fiber optic connectivity without significant investment and infrastructure upgrades.


In conclusion, having a comprehensive knowledge of optical fiber cables is essential for the efficient transmission of data over long distances at high speeds. These cables provide numerous benefits including wide bandwidth, resistance to interference, and a transformative impact on communication networks.

Share with : Share on Linkedin Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook


Your email address will not be published.