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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Single Mode Fiber?

Advantages of Single Mode Fiber

  • Single mode fiber distance: single mode fiber supports a greater distance than multimode fiber because of its lower attenuation. For example, multimode fiber generally has a reach of several hundred meters, whereas SM fiber has the potential to reach 200 km.
  • Bandwidth capacity: A single mode optical fiber cable offers a higher bandwidth than a multimode fiber optic cable.
  • Data dispersion: single mode fiber only transmits light of one mode, causing no modal dispersion.
  • Single mode fiber speed: Single mode fiber doesn’t have modal dispersion, modal noise, and other effects that come with multimode transmission. So it can carry signals at much higher speeds and up to 50 times more distance than multimode fiber.

Disadvantages of Single Mode Fiber

  • Requires much tighter tolerances: it is difficult to couple light into a single mode fiber than into a multimode fiber because of the smaller fiber core diameter inside the SMF. The smaller cores (8-10 µm) require much tighter tolerances than coupling light into the larger cores (62.5/50 µm) of multimode fibers.
  • Costs more: single mode fiber components and equipment are more expensive than that of multimode fiber. Multimode fiber can support multiple light modes, its price is higher than single mode fiber. However, on the device side, single mode fiber devices are more expensive than multimode fiber devices because single mode fiber typically uses solid-state laser diodes.
  • Stricter technology: it is more difficult to manufacture and handle SMFs than MMFs.



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