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Difference Between Single-Mode Fiber and Multimode Fiber

September 13,2021

The concept of single-mode and multimode is the concept of propagation mode for multimode and single-mode fibers. The term “mode” is used to describe the way an optical signal travels through the glass core of an optical fiber. In a single-mode fiber, light travels along a single path, while in a multimode fiber, light travels in multiple paths.


SINGLE-MODE FIBERS: Typical single-mode fibers are 8 and 10 µm core diameters with a cladding diameter of 125 µm.

MULTIMODE FIBERS: Typical multimode fibers are 50 and 62.5µm core diameters with a cladding diameter of 125µm.


SINGLE-MODE FIBER: The general fiber optic patch cord color is yellow, with blue connectors and protective sleeves.

MULTIMODE FIBER: The general color of the fiber patch cord is aqua green, the connector and protective jacket with beige or black.


SINGLE-MODE FIBER: Laser as the light source, the light generated by the laser light source is a single light, can be precisely controlled, with high power.

MULTIMODE FIBER: LED as the light source, the light produced is more dispersed.


MULTIMODE FIBER: LED light sources are used in multimode fibers, going to create a range of wavelengths that propagate at different speeds. This results in multimode dispersion, which limits the effective transmission distance of multimode fiber optic patch cords.

SINGLE-MODE FIBER: The laser used to drive a single-mode fiber produces a single wavelength of light, so its modal dispersion is less than that of a multimode fiber.


Because multimode fiber has a larger core size than single-mode fiber, it supports multiple transmission modes, and the modal dispersion of single-mode fiber is less than that of multimode fiber. Because of these reasons, single-mode fiber has a higher bandwidth than multimode fiber.


SINGLE-MODE FIBER: The price is lower than multimode fiber, but the equipment for single-mode fiber is more expensive than that for multimode fiber, and the cost is higher than that for dual-mode fiber.

MULTIMODE FIBER: Price is higher than single-mode fiber, the equipment of multimode fiber is cheaper than the equipment of single-mode fiber, so the cost of multimode fiber is much smaller than the cost of single-mode fiber.


SINGLE-MODE FIBER: Single-mode fiber runs at 100M/s or 1G/s data rate, and the transmission distance can reach at least 5KM. usually, single-mode fiber is used for remote signal transmission.

MULTIMODE FIBER: Multimode fiber is mainly used for fiber optic communication over short distances, such as in buildings or on campuses. The transmission distance is up to 2km at a transmission speed of 100M/s