Fiber Optic Cable Construction

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Core

This is the physical medium that transports optical data signals from an attached light source to a receiving device. The core is a single continuous strand of glass or plastic that’s measured in microns (µ) by the size of its outer diameter. The larger the core, the more light the cable can carry.

All fiber optic cable is sized according to its core’s outer diameter. The three multimode sizes most commonly available are 50, 62.5, and 100 microns. Single-mode cores are generally less than 9 microns.

 

Cladding

This is the thin layer that surrounds the fiber core and serves as a boundary that contains the light waves and causes the refraction, enabling data to travel throughout the length of the fiber segment.

 

Coating

This is a layer of plastic that surrounds the core and cladding to reinforce and protect the fiber core. Coatings are measured in microns and can range from 250 to 900 microns.

 

Strengthening fibers

These components help protect the core against crushing forces and excessive tension during installation. The materials can range from Kevlar® to wire strands to gel-filled sleeves.

 

Cable jacket

This is the outer layer of any cable. Most fiber optic cables have an orange jacket, although some types can have black or yellow jackets.

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