West Penn Wire Blog

Fiber Optic Cable Basics- Cable Construction

Posted by Samantha Bante on Dec 15, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Fiber optic cable has the ability to provide any business with safe, fast installations with higher bandwidth frequencies. In order to understand what fiber optic cable can do for your business or home, it's important to understand the basic construction.

Fiber optic cables are design is consisted of: core, cladding, coating and jacket (view Figure A)

Figure A:


Core- this is the very center of the cable and the light is guided down through by light transmission. The core is a single strand of glass that is measured in microns (µm). The larger the core, the more light the cable can carry.

  • Sizes of the core: 
    • 8μm (8.3 or 9μm) Single Mode
    • 50μm - Mulit-mode
    • 62.5μm - Multi-mode

Cladding- this is a thin layer of glass that surrounds the core and serves to contain the light within the core. The cladding has a different index of refraction than the core so the light waves that are re-directed back into the core allow for continuous light transmission within the fiber.

  • Size of the cladding:
    • 125 µm.

Coating- This surrounds the cladding and acts as a protector for the glass. The coating is normally clear, but for all Outdoor cables the coating is color coded to help identify the individual fibers. This needs to be removed to connect the fiber to the connector or splice.

  • Size of coating:
    • 250µm

Jacket- the cable jacket works along with the fibers to provide strength, signal integrity and overall protection of the fiber. There a variety of jacket materials that are used in the fiber cable construction. Environmental parameters that need to be considered upon installation are: temperature, chemical reaction, sunlight, mechanical and abrasion resistance. 

If you would like to learn more about the benefit to fiber optic cable compared to copper cables, click this link to be transferred to another blog post to view more. 

Fiber optic cable can be used for many applications such as: telecommunications, high bandwidth data, video signaling, long distance CCTV, communication between fire alarm panels and much more!


Need more information? No problem! Check out the West Penn Wire Resource Center or click on the following link: 

Fiber Optic Cable Details


Topics: Fiber Optic Cable, Fiber, Fiber Optic, cable construction

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