Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables are used for installations with very heavy transmission loads, with video systems, and for applications needing high-security, low-noise, and broad bandwidths. Fiber optic cable has a core of glass or plastic filament encased in a protective sheath. It is used to transmit data that have been converted into light pulses, as opposed to the electrical signals carried by Category 5 and other copper cables. It has an exceptional capacity for carrying high volumes of data at very high speed. The two major classifications of fiber optic cables are multimode and single mode.

Single-mode fiber optic cables are primarily used for long distances, greater than 2 km (1.2 miles), and high bandwidth applications. Multimode fiber optic cabling (Fig. 40-3) is used for shorter distances of less than 2 km (1.2 miles) and applications that have multiple connection requirements. Multimode fiber optic cabling is the most common fiber optic cabling used within commercial office buildings.

As fiber optic cables transmit light impulses rather than electrical energy, they are immune to EMI. This characteristic also provides a level of security from electronic eavesdropping. There is no risk of fiber optic cable generating static electricity or sparks, which can be an important safety consideration in some factory office environments or clean rooms. Like Category 5 cable, fiber optic cables are susceptible to damage when improper installation practices are employed. Fiber op

Figure 40-1 Category 5 unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable.

Figure 40-1 Category 5 unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable.

Figure 40-3 Multimode fiber optic cable.

tic cable has the capacity to transmit data over great distances without any appreciable attenuation or loss of signal. Fiber optic cable is becoming the norm in new facilities or in situations where faster, higher capacity communications platforms are in use or planned for the future. Fiber optic cabling is currently more expensive than other types of wiring, but costs are going down as it becomes more common.

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