Fiber Optics and its Types

Fiber optics is one of the technologies used to transmit data through thin glass or plastic fibers. It is mostly used in communication channels like telephone, televisions, and the Internet. Core and cladding are two parts of fiber optic cable. The cladding reflects the light to the core, thus preventing the loss of signal.

Fiber optics are mostly used in medical and industry services. In the medical field, it is used for endoscopies, to view and treat internal organs. In industries, it is used in controlling temperature, pressure, and vibrations.

Fiber Optics and its Types


Fiber optics is defined as technology that transmits light through thin and flexible Fibers made up of glass or plastic. This technology converts electrical signals into light at the input side and then converted them back to electrical signals at the output side.

Fiber Optics

Fiber optics is a cylindrical shaped fiber that is as thin as hair. It is used in optical communication systems. It consists of the following elements −


The core is the innermost part of optical fiber. It transmits the light signals from sender to receiver and is made up of glass or plastic material. It is very thin with a diameter of 9 microns for single-mode fibers and up to 62 microns for multi-mode fibers. It is a critical part of optical fiber that determines the performance of the cable.


It is the outer layer of the core. It ensures that the light signal remains inside the core and is getting transmitted along the fiber optic cable. It prevents the loss of signal. This is achieved through the principle of total internal reflection where the light signal reflects the core instead of reflecting out of the cable. It is made up of silica or plastic. It provides mechanical support to the fiber optics cable to avoid its bending and breaking.


It is the protective layer that surrounds the cladding. Its main function is to protect the fiber optics cable from moisture, physical stress, damage, and breakage. It allows the fiber to be bent wherever required for installation. The thickness of the coating is usually between 250 to 900 microns.

Types of Fiber Optics

Based on modes of light transmission, fiber optics cable is classified into the following types −

Single-mode fiber optics

This type of optical fiber is made to transmit a single mode of light. The light travels in a straight line from one end to another. These features make it ideal for long-distance transmission which can be up to 10km. It is used for high-speed data transmission and long-distance applications.

Multi-mode fiber optics

This type of fiber optics is made to transmit multiple modes of light. The light travels at different angles inside the core. It has a larger core diameter of 50 to 60 microns. These features make it usable for short-distance transmission of up to 3 km. It is mostly used in LAN networks.

Fiber optics are also divided into construction −

Ribbon fiber optics

Various fibers are combined to create a flat ribbon shape that makes it effective to splice and terminate. It is used in applications that are of high density for smaller spaces.

Loose tube fiber

This type of optical fiber has a tube at the center that houses the optical fibers. There is a gel-like substance inside the tube that protects the fibers from environmental issues.

Tight buffer fiber

In this, the optical fibers are surrounded by a tight buffer layer of plastic material. This makes the cable flexible and easy to handle.

Applications of Optical Fiber


Optical fibers are used in medical equipment like endoscopes, spectrometers, and surgical lasers. It transmits light and images into the body and is used to analyze the samples.

Decorative lighting

Optical fibers are used in decorative applications, to create unique and colorful lighting for Christmas trees and other architectures.


Fiber optics are used in Internet connections. It provides long-distance communication with high bandwidth and low interference.

Military and aerospace

Optical fibers are used to transmit signals without interference in military and aerospace applications. It monitors and controls processes in uncertain environments.


Optical fibers are used as sensors in many industries. It detects changes in temperature and other environmental factors.


This technology of using fiber optics cable has revolutionized the method for transmission of data and signals. Its ability to provide high bandwidth with low interference has flourished in modern technology and thereby enabling high-speed connections.

As technology advances, there will be a huge demand for fiber optics cable as it is a reliable mode of communication. It will play a crucial role in advancement and innovations for years to come.

Updated on: 03-May-2023


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