Intro to Networking - Fiber Optic Cable and Transceiver Types


Overview


This article describes the common types of fiber optic cable used for data transmission. Also covered are the transceiver options offered by Ubiquiti along with the Ubiquiti devices they will work with. 

NOTES:
This article applies to typical deployments of Ubiquiti devices. This article does not cover all use-cases and types of fiber optic cabling and transceivers. 

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Multi-Mode Fiber
  3. Single Mode Fiber
  4. Transceivers (SFP)
  5. Related Articles

Introduction


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Fiber optic cabling is an alternative to copper cabling for data transmission. Instead of using electrical pulses to transport information as copper cabling does, fiber optic cable transports pulses of light that are sent and received by transceivers on each end of the cable. By using pulses of light, the limits of resistance on a copper cable are avoided when using fiber optic cable. 

Fiber optic cable comes in various shapes and sizes which can be used for different types of deployments. Depending on the cost of goods, the distance of the run, and required throughput one type of fiber optic cable and transceiver may be more effective than another. The tables and information below can help in deciding which type may be best for particular deployments. 


Multi-Mode Fiber


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The key difference between multi-mode fiber optic cable and single mode fiber optic cable is the core diameter. The core diameter of multi-mode fiber optic cable is substantially larger allowing for taller wavelengths to pass down the cable. This taller wavelength allows for the use of LEDs instead of lasers in the optical transceiver. The use of LEDs is what can make multi-mode transceivers less expensive than single mode transceivers. These LEDs will typically use an 810nm wavelength. 

Fiber Type

Jacket Color

Connector Color

Core Diameter

Maximum Run Distance

OM1 Orange Beige or Gray 62.5μm
  • 275m @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-SX)
  • 33m @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-SR)
OM2 50μm    
  • 550m @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-SX)
  • 82m @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-SR)
OM3 Aqua
  • 550m @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-SX)
  • 300m @10Gbps (10GBASE-SR)
  • 100m @ 40Gbps (40GBASE-SR4)
  • 100m @ 100Gbps (100GBASE-SR10)
OM4 Aqua (Can be Purple)
  • 550m @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-SX)
  • 400m @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-SR)
  • 150m @ 40Gbps (40GBASE-SR4)
  • 150m @ 100Gbps (100GBASE-SR10)

Single Mode Fiber


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Opposed to multi-mode fiber optic cabling, single mode has a much smaller core diameter which holds a new set of requirements. The smaller core diameter does not allow for taller wavelengths to pass through the core. The wavelengths used by single mode optical transceivers are 1310nm and 1550nm. The tighter wavelength in combination with the smaller core diameter leads to a very small chance of signal degradation which allows for extreme data transport distances.  

Fiber Type

Jacket Color

Connector Color

Core Diameter

Maximum Run Distance

OS1/OS2 Yellow Blue or Green* 8μm/9μm/10μm  
  • 5km @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-SX) (1310nm)
  • 5km @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-LX) (1310nm)
  • 40km @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-EX) (1310nm)
  • 70km @ 1Gbps (1000BASE-ZX) (1550nm)
  • 10km @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-LR) (1310nm)
  • 10km @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-SR) (1310nm)
  • 40km @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-ER) (1550nm)
  • 80km @ 10Gbps (10GBASE-ZR) (1550nm)
  • 10km @ 40Gbps (40GBASE-LR4) (1310nm)
  • 40km @ 40Gbps (40GBASE-ER4) (1550nm)
  • 10km @ 100Gbps (100GBASE-LR4) (1310nm)
  • 40km @ 100Gbps (100GBASE-ER4) (1550nm)
*Green is used for angle polished fiber typically used in passive optical network (PON). Do not use angle polished fiber in a transceiver designed for "physical contact" type fiber. 

Transceivers (SFP)


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The transceiver is what will convert electrical signaling coming from a network switch into light signaling to send down the fiber optic medium. Transceivers come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common in modern-day deployments will be small form pluggable (SFP). 

The table below shows the various transceiver types that Ubiquiti offers.

Transceiver Type Compatible With Medium Type
UF-MM-1G / UF-MM-10G
  • UniFi Switch
  • UniFi Security Gateway
  • Edge Switch
  • Edge Router
Multi-Mode Fiber w/ LC Connectors
UF-SM-1G / UF-SM-10G / UF-SM-10G-S Single Mode Fiber w/ LC Connectors
UF-RJ45-1G / UF-RJ45-10G Ethernet
UF-GP-B+ / UF-GP-C+
  • UFiber OLT Models
Single Mode Fiber w/ SC/UPC Connectors

Related Articles


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EdgeSwitch - SFP/SFP+ and DAC Compatibility List

EdgeRouter - SFP/SFP+ and DAC Compatibility List

UFiber GPON - Supported SFP Modules for OLT


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