In the data transmission industry, wire assemblies are used as the primary way to send a signal from one device to another. Generally, this signal goes through a copper wire. Copper wiring transmits data through electrical signals, or pulses. This is an old but trusty method that has been used for decades. With the introduction of Fiber Optic cabling in the 1970s, and its subsequent rapid growth, copper wiring is looking old and dated.
Fiber optic wires use a completely different and faster method in transmitting data than copper wires. Data is sent through the wires using light pulses that travel through the fibers of the cable. The cable is typically made up of plastic or glass so that light can penetrate it. The light signals then shoot directly though the cable, hitting the cable walls. The angle of the pulse can be no more than 42° or it will lose its signal power. Light travels at a very fast speed, thus fiber optic wires have a much higher speed vs copper or traditional wiring.
There are many types of fiber optic cable assemblies. Selecting the appropriate one depends on the end connector and application.
The three main cables are single-mode fibers, multi-mode fibers, and plastic optical fibers.
- Single Mode Fiber
A cable that has only one strand of glass fiber running through it. Its thickness can range from 8.3 – 10 microns in diameter.
Single-mode fibers can only transmit data in one direction, however these cables have a higher bandwidth and therefore cost more.
- Multi-Mode Fibers
These cables have multiple strands of glass fiber with larger diameters, ranging from 50 – 100 microns. The multiple strands can follow a linear or non-linear path.
Although this type has higher bandwidth due to its thickness, it’s limiting factor is length. As the cable gets longer, the signal becomes distorted.
- Plastic Optical Fiber
This type of cable uses plastic instead of glass fibers. These are a good option if you want a cheaper option for a short-distance application. Plastic optic fibers can lose their signal over long distances.
The connectors used at the ends of fiber optic assemblies are very important in making sure the cable is secured and connected properly to the given application.
Fortunately, Circuit Assembly offers all major types of cable assemblies with appropriate connectors, such as FC, LC, SC, and ST.
- FC / Fixed Connectors - These connectors are intended to be fixed on an application via a screw and threaded end housing. Its main purpose is to secure the cable assembly to applications with movement.
- LC / Lucent Connector - These contain small ferrules (ring or cap) and a push pull latching mechanism. These connectors are most popular with single mode fiber.
- SC / Subscriber Connector - These have a ceramic ferrule and are used for push pull application with dual fiber.
- ST / Straight Tip connectors - These contain a unique design where a half-twist bayonet locking mechanism is used. These come equipped with a longer ferrule. These connectors are primarily used with multi-mode fiber assemblies.
Circuit Assembly Corp is happy to offer all major fiber assemblies! We produce all of our technical manufacturing with the highest of quality and support.
Contact our field applications engineering team and let's customize your optics today!