Types Of Fiber Optics And Types Of Connectors: Know Them All

Types Of Fiber Optics And Types Of Connectors: Know Them All

Have you ever wondered how fiber optics work and what types of connectors are used to transmit data? There are different types of fiber optics and connectors, and in this post, we review their characteristics so that you know them in detail.

Understanding fiber optic technology

Optical fiber is a transmission medium: it consists of a very fine thread of transparent material, generally glass or plastic, through which pulses of light that represent the data to be transmitted are sent, as seen in the image that opens this article.

Fiber optics have advantages over traditional copper cable, such as higher speed and greater security, but there are also different types.

Types of fiber optics

The different types of optical fiber are established depending on the transmission mode: the number of light rays that can travel through the fibre. In this way, we have a single-mode system and a multimode system.

Single Mode fiber optic

This system has a minimal diameter, about nine μm, and only allows one transmission mode: a single beam of light. This makes the signal cleaner, and it can travel greater distances without losing quality.

Single-mode optical fiber is used to cover long distances, such as links between cities or continents, or to connect network equipment between different rooms or buildings, and it is more expensive than a multimode since it requires more sophisticated equipment.

Multimode fiber optic

In this case, we have a larger diameter, about 50 or 62.5 μm, allowing several transmission modes, that is, several light rays. This makes the signal more dispersed and has more interference, limiting the distance and transmission speed.

Fiber optics of this type cover short distances, such as in local networks (LAN) or data centres. Multimode optical fiber is cheaper than single-mode and requires less complex equipment, so it will probably be the one that reaches your home router.

Another type of plastic optical fiber

Additionally, a particular type of optical fiber called plastic optical fiber (POF) is made of polymers instead of glass. Plastic optical fiber has a much larger diameter, around 1 mm, and allows effortless and economical transmission, but with very low quality.

Also Read: The New 5g Technology: What You Need to Know

Types of fiber optic connectors

The connectors allow you to join two fiber optic cables or connect a cable to the equipment.

The classic one you may have seen has a metal part called the ferrule, which contains the polished end of the fiber, and a plastic piece called the body, which makes coupling and decoupling easier. In addition, there are many other types of connectors; These are the most common.

SC connector

It is the most used connector in home networks and professional networks. It has a square body and a push-pull hitch system. It is compatible with the two types of fiber that we have explained.

LC connector

It is the most used network equipment connector with SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) ports. It has a rectangular body and a hook-up system similar to the RJ45. It is also compatible with both types of fiber.

FC connector

It is one of the first fiber optic connection systems. It is the first connector developed with a ceramic ferrule and features a cylindrical body and a threaded coupling system. It is used in applications subject to vibration or precision instruments and only works with single-mode fiber.

ST connector

It is a very popular connector in corporate and military networks. It has a cylindrical body and a bayonet-type coupling system. It is only used in multimode fibers and is the most complex.


Additionally, fiber optic connectors can be identified by colour, depending on the type of fiber optic and how polished they are. These are the most common colours:

  • Blue: corresponds to the SC connector
  • Green: corresponds to the APC connector, which is a variant of the SC connector
  • Beige: corresponds to the LC connector
  • Aqua: corresponds to the LC connector for multimode optical fiber
  • Purple: corresponds to the LC connector for another type of multimode optical fiber
  • Gray: corresponds to the ST connector
  • Black: corresponds to the FC connector

Also Read: Human-Computer Interaction And Its Examples And Goals

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