Tag Archives: single-mode

How to Match Fiber Patch Cable for Your Multimode SFP?

When you prepare to connect some SFPs with fiber patch cords, you may find SFPs are multimode modules while your fiber cables are single-mode. Try to connect those optics to fiber cable, but no green light and the link fails. So multimode SFPs can’t work over single-mode fiber cables. To avoid the wasting of time and money, you should better know well about single-mode and multimode SFPs and fiber patch cords.

Single-mode and Multimode SFP

SFP, small form factor pluggable transceiver, can support the data rate up to 1Gbps. SFPs can be divided into single-mode and multimode modules.

For single-mode SFPs, there are “LX” for 1310 nm and “EX” “EZX” for 1550 nm. Single-mode SFPs are designed to transmit signals over long distances. For example, Cisco GLC-LH-SM-15 compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 15km DOM transceiver, main product information is shown as follows:

  • Wavelength: 1310 nm
  • Interface: LC duplex
  • Max Cable Distance: 15 km
  • Max Data Rate: 1000Mbps
  • Cable Type: SMF

Comparatively, multimode SFPs are identified with “SX”. This kind of optics is specially for short distance data transmission. For instance, Cisco GLC-SX-MM compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m transceiver, this is a typical multimode SFP.

  • Wavelength: 850 nm
  • Interface: LC duplex
  • Max Cable Distance: 550m over OM2 MMF
  • Max Data Rate: 1000Mbps
  • Cable Type: MMF


Single-mode Fiber Cable and Multimode Fiber Cable

Fiber patch cables are used to connect transceivers on your switch/device. You have to buy the right fiber cable type for your optics. Fiber cable has two different categories: single-mode and multimode.

Generally, single-mode fiber cable can support further distance because of lower attenuation, but the price is higher. While multimode fiber cable has a larger core, usually multimode fiber cable is constructed in 50/125 and 62.5/125. It allows multiple modes of light to propagate. When the light passes through the core, the light reflections increases and more data can be transmitted at given time. As the high dispersion during signal transmission, the link distance gets reduced. So multimode fiber cable is for short distance application. Multimode fiber cable is a little more complex than single-mode fiber cable since it includes four different types of OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4. OM1 and OM2 fiber patch cable can support the data rate up to 10Gbps. OM3 and OM4 are laser optimized so that they can be used in high density data center to support the data rate of 40Gbps and 100Gbps. The following table shows how long each kind of fiber cable can reach running at different data rate.

Fiber Mode Cable Type 1GbE 10GbE 40GbE 100GbE
Single-mode OS2 100km 40km 40km 40km
Multimode OM1 275m(SX) 33m(SR) / /
OM2 550m(SX) 82m(SR) / /
OM3 550m(SX) 300m(SR) 100m 100m
OM4 1000m(SX) 400m(SR) 150m 150m

Note: “SR” implies multimode 10Gpbs SFP+.

For more information about single-mode and multimode fiber cable, you can refer to my previous articles:
What Is Single Mode Fiber?
What Are OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4?

Solutions for Multimode SFP

If you have Cisco Catalyst 3650 WS-C3650-48PS switches with 4x1G uplink ports, to build a 300m-network link, you are gonna purchase fiber patch cable and SFP modules. What kind of optical equipment should you choose?

As to the SFP module, you need Cisco GLC-SX-MM 1000BASE-SX SFP. Or you can spend less money on third-party SFPs with 100% compatibility. Next step, you need to find suitable fiber patch cable to match this type of SFP. Since 1000BASE-SX SFP is multimode, of course you need multimode fiber cable. Considering the distance of 300 meters, OM1 can only reach 275 meters. So OM2 is the best choice for it’s the cheapest and can reach 550 meters.

1000BASE-SX SFP connection


It’s obvious that multimode SFPs can’t work over single-mode fiber cables. When buying SFPs, watch the standards on the label carefully and find if it’s “SX” or “LX”, “EX”. If it shows “SX”, then find multimode fiber patch cable. It’s not very difficult to choose right cable for your SFP modules.

How to Select Fiber Patch Cable for 40G QSFP+ Modules?

As the speed changes from 1 to 10 Gbps and now increases from 10 to 40 Gbps and even 100 Gbps, data centers develop into more complex systems. So different optical technologies and cabling infrastructure are required. For 40G data rates, the special transceiver module is QSFP+ (Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable Plus). To build 40G data centers, you need to select suitable fiber patch cable for 40G QSFP+ Modules. But how?

40G transmission network needs advanced switch, matched patch cords and transceiver modules. The quality of these connections can largely affect the reliability and stability of the whole 40G network. However, connectivity of 40G is much more complex than ever. Thus, selecting the proper fiber patch cables for 40G network is more difficult and becomes a big issue in 40G migration. As mentioned, QSFP+ transceivers are suggested for 40G, this article will provide as detailed as possible about fiber patch cable selection for 40G QSFP+ transceivers.

40G QSFP+ transceivers

Patch cable is very important to 40G network not only because the switch connections necessity, but also because of the transmission principle of the fiber optic signals and the high density trend of 40G transmission. Several important factors like cable, connector and switch port should be taken into account when selecting patch cords for 40G QSFP+ transceivers.

Single-mode or Multimode Fiber Patch Cable

Fiber Patch Cable able is essential for the network performance. Optical signals perform differently when information transforms through the cables with different wavelengths. When people buy fiber optical patch cords for 40G QSFP+ transceiver, they often ask if a 40GBASE universal QSFP+ transceiver working on wavelength of 850nm can be used with OM1 patch cords. The answer is yes, but not suggested. Why? As the optical signal transmission distance gets shorter, the data rate increases. The transmission distance and quality would be limited by using OM1 optical cable with 40G QSFP+ transceiver. OM1 cable is only suggested for 100 Mb/s and 1000Mb/s transmission. Two upgraded cables—OM3 and OM4 are suggested for 40G QSFP+ transceivers in short distance.

IEEE has announced standards for 40G transmission in both long distance and short distance, which are 40GBASE-LR4 and 40GBASE-SR4. (LR stands for long reach and SR stands for short-reach and). For long reach, single-mode fiber is suggested for 40G transmission with the distance up to 10 km. For short reach, multimode fiber—OM3 (up to 100 meters) and OM4 (up to 150 meters) is suggested for 40G transmission. OM3 and OM4, which are usually aqua-colored, are accepted economic solutions for 40G in short distance with lower insertion loss and higher bandwidth.

MTP or LC Fiber Patch Cable 

The connector type of the patch cords should depend on the interface of 40G QSFP+ transceiver. Now there are two interfaces commonly adopted by 40G QSFP+ transceiver and they are MTP and LC. Usually 40G QSFP+ transceiver with MPO interface is designed for short transmission distance and LC for long transmission distance. However, several 40G QSFP+ transceivers like 40GBASE-PLR4 and 40GBASE-PLRL4 have MPO interfaces to support long transmission distance.

mtp and lc connectors for qsfp+

High density is the most obvious characteristic of 40G transmission, which is largely reflected in the MTP connectors on patch cords used with 40G QSFP+ transceiver. As QSFP+ transceiver uses four 10G channels, MTP cable which uses 4 pairs of fibers with can provide a time-save and stable solution for 40G QSFP+ transceivers.

Besides, 40G QSFP+ transceiver with LC interface is also available. This type of QSFP transceiver uses four lanes with each carrying 10G in 1310nm window multiplexed to achieve 40G transmission. For this type, patch cable with duplex LC connector should be used.

Switch Port

The importance of network flexibility gradually reveals as the speed of Ethernet increases. Cabling options for 40G network are 40G QSFP+ to 40G QSFP+, 40G QSFP+ to SFP+. It’s very common that 40G ports is needed to be connected with 10G port. In this case, fan out patch cable with MTP connector on one end and four LC duplex connectors on the other end is suggested (as shown in picture below).

Factors like single-mode or multimode fiber jumpers, fiber patch cable connector and switch port are important in selecting the right patch cords for 40G QSFP+ transceivers. They are closely related to the transmission distance, network flexibility and reliability of the whole 40G network. But in practical cabling for 40G QSFP+ transceivers, there are more need to be considered. Planning and designing takes a lot of time and may not achieve results good enough. However, Fiberstore can solve your problems with professional one-stop service including the cost-effective and reliable network designing and 40G products.

Originally published at http://www.articlesfactory.com/articles/communication/how-to-select-fiber-patch-cable-for-40g-qsfp-modules.html

What Can We Get From Fiber Cable Jacket?

Fiber optic cable is applied as the most advanced communication medium by more and more users. Compared with copper cable, it can support more and better optical signal transmission of voice, data, video, etc. and offer many other advantages. When purchasing fiber optic cables, you must see the cable jacket at first. So what information does the outside jacket tell? What type of cable jacket should you select? Come with me to find the secrets of fiber cable jacket.

Fiber Cable Jacket Introduction

Fiber optic cable is constructed very complicated from the inside core, cladding, coating, strengthen fibers to the outside cable jacket. The core made of plastic or glass is the physical medium for optical signal transmission. As bare fiber can be easily broken, cable outer jacket is needed for fiber protection. The cable jacket is the first line of moisture, mechanical, flame and chemical defense for a cable. Without the jacket, fiber optic cables are very likely to be damaged during and after installation.


Fiber Cable Jacket Characteristics

In most situations, robust cable jacket is better because the environment above or underground may be harsh. For better applications, you’d better take cable jacket seriously. Cable jacket is not as easy as you think. There are many characteristics you need to consider. Except the flexibility, it should withstand very low and high temperature. Whether the cable jacket has the good features of chemical and flame resistance. All these characteristics depend on cable jacket materials.

Fiber Cable Jacket Materials

Cable jacket is made of various types of materials. As mentioned above, the cable jacket should stand the test of different environmental conditions, including the harsh temperature, the sun & the rain, chemicals, abrasion, and so on. The following shows several common cable jacket materials for your reference.

PE (Polyethylene)—PE is the standard jacket material for outdoor fiber optic cables. It has excellent properties of moisture and weather resistance. It also has the good electrical properties over a wide temperature range. Besides, it’s abrasion resistant.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride )—PVC is flexible and fire-retardant. It can be used as the jacket materials for both indoor and outdoor cables. PVC is more expensive than PE.

LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen)—LSZH jacket is free of halogenated materials which can be transformed into toxic and corrosive matte during combustion. LSZH materials are used to make a special cable called LSZH cable. LSZH cables produce little smoke and no toxic halogen compounds when these cables catch fire. Based on the benefits, LSZH cable is a good choice for inner installations.

Fiber Cable Jacket Color

Fiber cable jacket color depends on the fiber cable type. Fiber cable includes single-mode and multimode types. For single-mode fiber cable (Blog about single-mode fiber cable please read my blog What Are OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4?), the jacket color is typically yellow. While for multimode cable ( more details on multimode fiber cable ), the jacket color can be orange (OM1&OM2 cable), aqua (OM3 cable) and purple (OM4 cable). For outside plant cables, the jacket color is black.

How to Choose Fiber Cables?

To choose a fiber optic cable depends on your own applications. I’ll talk about this from two sides of jacket color and jacket material. The cable jacket color is not just for good looking. Different color means different fiber mode. Which one suits you the most, the yellow or orange fiber cable? You should know well about the color codes before buying your fiber cables. What’s more, you should also consider the installation requirements and environmental or long-term requirements. Where will be your fiber cables installed, inside or outside the building? Will your cables be exposed to hash environment very long? This can help you decide which jacket material is the best.


As a popular data transmission medium, fiber cable plays an important role in communication field. To some degree, the success of fiber connectivity lies in a right fiber cable. How to buy suitable fiber optic cables? This article describes the method from cable jacket. When selecting fiber cable, many other factors still need to be considered. Hope you can get your own fiber cable.

Advice on Patch Cable Selection for Optical Transceiver

Fiber optic network connection can’t be achieved without optical transceiver and patch cable. Optical transceiver varies from transmission media, interface, transmission distance, data rate, and brand, for example, SFP for 1000Mbps, SFP+ for 10G, QSFP+ for 40G, CFP and QSFP28 for 100G. It’s not difficult to identify these optical transceiver. But when you connect the optical transceiver to the patch cable, many details need to be noticed. This article will give you advice on how to choose the suitable patch cable for your optical transceiver.

Transmission Media—Copper & Fiber

According to transmission media of fiber optic and copper, transceivers can be divided into two kinds, copper based transceivers and fiber optic based transceivers. MSA has defined several copper based transceiver like: 100BASE-T, 1000BASE-T and 10GBASE-T. Copper transceivers are available in GBIC, SFP and SFP+ form factors, which usually has a RJ45 interface. So Cat5/6/7 cables are typically used to connect with the transceivers. Maybe Cat8 will be researched and developed to support higher data rate up to 40G sooner or later.


As to fiber optic transceivers, things are more complex. For that fiber optic transceivers require different fiber patch cords which have more types. Fiber patch cables cover single-mode and multimode. Single-mode patch cable can be classified into OS1 and OS2. While multimode cables can be divided into OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 cable. Different cables are used in different applications. Single-mode cable can support long distance transmission and multimode cable for short distance link. If the transmission distance is shorter than 500 meters, multimode patch cable is suggested. For long distance transmission, single-mode transmission is suggested. You patch-cableshould also consider that the transmission data rate can also affect the transmission distance. Let’s look at the following point.

Supported Distance and Data Rate

MSA has defined a variety of transceivers that can support different transmission distances and data rates. When you buy a fiber optic transceiver, you will find the data rate, wavelength, distance, etc. on its labeling. The following table show the basic information of most often used transceivers and supported cable type.

Description Wavelengh Data Rate Cable Type Distance
SX 850nm 1G MM 500 m
LX 1310nm 1G SM 8 km
EX 1310nm 1G SM 40 km
ZX 1550nm 1G SM 70 km
SR 850nm 10G MM 300 m
LR 1310nm 10G SM 10 km
ER 1550nm 10G SM 40 km
ZR 1550nm 10G SM 80 km
SR4 850nm 40G MM 100 m
SR10 850nm 100G MM 100 m
LR4 1310nm 40G SM 10 km

As mentioned before, single-mode patch cable is better for long distance transmission and multimode patch cable for short distance transmission. Actually single-mode patch cords can be used for different data rates in both long and short distances. But single-mode fiber optic cable will cost more. To achieve reliable performance in short distances with cost effective solutions, you should know the performance of multimode fiber optic cables. The following chart provides the detailed transmission distances and data rates information for different multimode fiber optic cables over wavelength of 850 nm for your reference.

Fiber Type 1G 10G 40/100G
OM1 300 m 36 m N/A
OM2 500 m 86 m N/A
OM3 1 km 300 m 100 m
OM4 1 km 550 m 150 m
Transceiver Interfaces

The selection of patch cable for transceiver should also consider the interfaces through which patch cords is connected to the transceiver. In addition, transceiver usually used one port for transmitting and one port for receiving. Generally, fiber optic transceivers usually employs duplex SC or LC interfaces. However, for BiDi transceivers only one port is used for both transmitting and receiving. Thus, simplex patch cord is used with BiDi transceiver.

Some 40G/100GBASE QSFP+ transceivers used MTP/MPO interfaces, which should be connected to the network with multi-fiber patch cords attached with MTP/MPO connectors. If these ports are used for 40G to 10G or 100G to 10G connection, then fanout patch cable should be used. For example, a MTP to 8 LC fanout cable can splitter 40G data rate to four 10G data rate.


Next time when you select patch cords for your fiber optic transceivers, you can consider these factors like transmission media, transmission data rate and distance, transceiver interfaces. FS.COM offers a wide range of fiber optic transceivers and patch cords. Custom service is also available. Any problem, please contact us via sales@fs.com.

The New 10G Multimode Optical Solution – 10GBASE-LRM

10 Gigabit Ethernet has been applied for a long time in data centers and enterprise LANs. For 10G Ethernet connection, there are both single-mode and multimode solutions. First let’s see the original multimode solutions and supportable distances for 10G Ethernet.

10G-multimode solution-supportable-distance

10GBASE-S operates at 850nm wavelength. It can support up to 300m distance over laser-optimized OM3. This makes it a popular standard for data centers and cooperate backbones. For the conventional OM1 and OM2 which are not optimized for laser transmission, the furthest supportable distance is 33 m and 82 m. So these two solutions are only used in equipment rooms or small data centers.

10GBASE-LX4 was specified to support 300 m over three cable types. So it relies on coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM) which is more complex and expensive technology. 10GBASE-LX4 operates at 1300nm wavelength and that requires additional cost on mode-conditioning patch cords (MCPCs).

The high cost and relatively slow adoption of 10GBASE-LX4 drive the development of a new standard—10GBASE-LRM. 10GBASE-LRM is developed to offer a longer reach for conventional fiber cables at a lower cost and smaller size than 10GBASE-LX4. The following will talk about 10GBASE-LRM from three sides.

Transmission Distance

On condition the supporting distance, 10GBASE-LRM can only support 220 m. It’s suitable for LAN networks within buildings. But a cabling survey provides that for 10G network, the distance is not able to address 30% of in-building channels.

Electronic Dispersion Compensation

The key to the long reach of 10GBASE-LRM on conventional multimode fiber is electronic dispersion compensation (EDC). EDC is deployed as an integrated circuit that acts like a complex filter on the received signal from the optical fiber. The purpose is to extend the maximum supportable distance. 10GBASE-LRM applies EDC technology and is therefore independent of the optical wavelength. 10GBASE-LRM operates at 1300 nm.

EDC chips is added to a linear detector in the receiver. As an additional component, it increases cost, consumes power and wastes heat. It can only work as intended in conjunction with a linear detector and amplifier. Because the EDC device must operate on a faithful analog rendition of the optical waveform in the fiber. For 10GBASE-LRM, to reproduce the optical waveform with precision, extra requirements and cost on the receiver design are needed.

Multiple Transmit Launch Conditions

In order to improve the chances of operating at a higher bandwidth, 10GBASE-LRM relies on multiple transmit launch conditions.

One launch is achieved by using mode-conditioning patch cord. The other launch is produced using a regular multimode patch cord. Through the two launches, different modes can be achieved and a favorable operating condition can be easily found.

There are four possible patch cord combinations at both ends of the channel. The preferred launch uses MCPCs on both ends. This process requires a test for link stability for each configuration. The user should shake and bend the patch cord at the transmit end while observing channel health indicators at the receive end. The shaking and bending of the cords causes changes to the received waveform which the receiver must tolerate in normal operation. If there were transmission errors, then users should change another launch. The errors indicate that the channel is operating near or beyond the limit of the receiver’s capability and the link may fail in operation.


However, the 10GBASE-LRM standard’s committee refuse to implement this channel test. So the burden of the shaking and bending lies on the users. It’s not good for the popularity of 10GBASE-LRM.

Comparison of Several 10G Transceivers Cost

The following will compare the cost of 10G transceivers from several sides, including laser, receiver, package and cords.

Laser: 10GBASE-LRM uses 1310nm fabry perot lasers, which cost fewer than 10GBASE-L’s and 10GBASE-LX4 DFB lasers, but more than 10GBASE-S’s 850nm VCSELs. 10GBASE-LRM requires tighter transmitter waveform control to limit the transmit waveform dispersion penalty that EDC can’t compensate. Thus, it reduces transmitter yields and increases cost.

Receiver: 10GBASE-LRM adds EDC chip cost to receiver and needs a linear detector and amplifier instead of other cheap digital equipment.

Package: 10GBASE-LRM requires a smaller package than 10GBASE-LX4. However, not like 10GBASE-S, 10GBASE-LRM requires higher-cost single-mode transmitter alignment for compatibility with mode conditioning patch cords.

Cords: 10GBASE-LRM needs mode conditioning patch cords for reliable link operation. And the cost is much higher than regular SMF or MMF fiber optic patch cords.

Through the comparison among these 10G optical transceivers, you may find which one costs fewer. 10GBASE-LRM transceiver is cheaper than 10GBASE-LX4, more expensive than 10GBASE-L and 10GBASE-S transceivers.


10GBASE-LRM is a multimode solution for 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Based on the above content, 10GBASE-LRM has some advantages over 10GBASE-LX4. It offers lower cost and smaller package. But the distance and reliability are not very ideal. Compared with 10GBASE-S, 10GBASE-LRM is not so good as to the cost, simplicity, reliability and distance capability. FS.COM provides various types of cost-effective 10GBASE transceivers, such as 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-SR, 10GBASE-ER, etc. Other compatible brands like Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Brocade are also available. Among so many choices, you must choose the most suitable solution for your network connection.

What Should You Know Before Using an OTDR?

OTDR, the optical time domain reflectometer, is the most important investigation tool for optical fibers. It’s applied in the measurement of fiber loss, connector loss and for the determination of the exact place and the value of cable discontinuities. It’s the only device which can verify inline splices on concatenated fiber optic cables and locating faults.

To know how to use OTDR for the fiber investigations, first you should know the structure and working principle of OTDR equipment. When a short light pulse transmits into the fiber under test, the time of the incidence and the amplitude of the reflected pulses are measured. The commonly used pulse width ranges from nanosecs to microsecs, the power of the pulse can exceed 10 mW. The repetition frequency depends on the fiber length, typically is between 1 and 20 kHz, naturally it is smaller for longer fibers. The division by 2 at the inputs of oscilloscope is needed since both the vertical (loss) and the horizontal (length) scales correspond to the one-way length.


Besides, to use an OTDR successfully, you should also know how to operate the instrument. The following is about the experiences collected from some experienced people who use OTDRs during installation and for maintaining telecommunication networks.

Keep Connectors Clean

Before use OTDR, first, you should watch out if the connectors are clean. If it’s dirty, then clean it. Otherwise, it will make measurements unreliable, noisy or even impossible. What’s worse, it may damage the OTDR.

Check the Connector or the Patch Cord

Check whether the patch cord, the module, and the fiber under test are single-mode or multimode. To test the patch cord, activate the laser in the CW (Coarse Wavelength) mode and measure the power at the end of the patch cord with a power meter. This should be between 0 and – 4 dBm for most single-mode modules and wavelengths.

Set the Range

The range is the distance over the cable which the OTDR will measure. The range should be longer than the cable you are testing. For example, if your link is 56.3 km long, choose 60 km. For distances greater than approximately 15 km, make your first measurement in longhaul mode, otherwise use shorthaul.

Determine the Wavelength

Usually single-mode is set for 1310 nm or 1550 nm, and multimode is set for 850 nm or 1300 nm.

Averages of Noisy Traces

If the trace is very noisy, increase the number of averages. Usually 16-64 averages are adequate. To improve the signal to noise ration of the trace, the OTDR can average multiple measurements, but averaging takes time. So try to average over a longer time.

Realtime Mode

In this mode, you can modify parameters only if you stop a measurement explicitly. So it avoids you to erase a trace averaged over a long time by accident. You use realtime mode to check your connection, the quality of splices, and whether a fiber is connected. Start in automatic mode, then switch to realtime mode and select the most suitable parameters.

Adjust the Refractive Index

If you know the exact physical length of the fiber under test, you can measure the refractive index. Start with the refractive index 1.5000. Place a marker at the end of the fiber. Then select the refractive index function and adjust it until the displayed marker position is equal to the known fiber length. Then, the effective refractive index will be displayed.

Macrobending Loss

Single-mode fibers (1550 nm) are very sensitive to macrobending such as a tight bend or local pressure on the cable. It doesn’t always happen at this wavelength of 1310 nm. So characterize your link at both wavelengths.

OTDRs are invaluable test instruments. Maybe a small mistake will cause serious damage to this equipment. So before use it, you should better know it as detailed as possible to avoid any loss because of innocence and make full use of it in optical fiber events.

Related article:
How to Choose a Right OTDR?
OTDR Selection Guide