10 Things an IT Guy Needs to Know About Fiber Optic Cable

10 Things an IT Guy Needs to Know About Fiber Optic Cable

 

 

 

Fiber Optic cabling can be very complex. Below are 10 things that can help someone in the Information Technology business know more about their fiber. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that needs to be known about fiber.


1) IMPORTANT: Never look directly into an active fiber. While most media converters use eye-safe class 1 lasers, there are transceivers that use lasers that can harm your eyes. This light is invisible to your naked eye and can hurt you before you realize it. Safety first!

2) There are two main types of Fiber Optic Cabling, Singlemode and Multimode. Multimode fiber works well for shorter runs. It is great for connecting multiple equipment rooms in large buildings, or even small campuses. Singlemode is generally used for long runs. It can go for miles. 

3) Have the fiber installed correctly, by a professional and it should last a long time. The fiber needs to be terminated into boxes, either wall-mount or rack-mount. Patch cables should be used between the fiber boxes and your equipment.

4) Do not bend the fiber too much. 

5) Singlemode fiber is usually a little cheaper than Multimode fiber. Multimode electronics cost less than Singlemode electronics. 

6) Multimode Fiber is currently divided into 4 types.  

Category

100Mb

1Gb

10Gb

40Gb

100Gb

OM1 (62.5/125)

2000 meters

275 meters

33 meters

NA

NA

OM2 (50/125)

2000 meters

550 meters

82 meters

NA

NA

OM3 (50/125)

2000 meters

550 meters

300 meters

100 meters

100 meters

OM4 (50/125)

2000 meters

1000 meters

400 meters

150 meters

150 meters

 7) There are several different types of fiber connectors. The most common ones used in data communications are LC, SC & ST.

 

unicam-mm-connectors

 

     a. ST connectors are round. This is an older style connector and is generally not used for new cabling, unless it needs to be matched to existing cable.
     b. SC connectors are square. This connector is most often used to terminate fiber in the field.
    c. LC connectors are very small, and are generally seen paired together. This is the most common connector found on modern fiber electronics. 

8) Fiber transceivers do not auto-negotiate. You cannot connect a 100BaseT fiber transceiver to a 1000BaseT transceiver. You cannot connect a Singlemode transceiver to a Multimode transceiver. All transceivers must be of the same type and speed. 

9) Fiber patch cables come in different types, lengths and with different connectors. Always use patch cables to connect the equipment to the cabling. You can purchase cables with a LC connector on one end, and a SC connector on the other (or multiple other choices). This will allow you to connect the cable terminated in the fiber box to the fiber transceiver. 

10) Common fiber transceivers use two fibers, one to transmit and one to receive. If you connect the fiber and the equipment is not passing traffic, try swapping the fiber strands.

If you're responsible for several different fiber optic cables, consider getting a laser pin such as the Eclipse 902-186N. This low-cost device will help you identify the fibers, and at least make sure they can pass light.

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