Optical Fiber in Premises Applications: Multimode or Single-Mode?

High-speed applications in today's enterprise networks might lead one to believe that single-mode fiber enjoys an increasing advantage over multimode fiber in premises applications. However, higher speeds do not automatically mean single-mode fiber is the right choice. Although single-mode fiber has advantages for longer distances (> 1 kilometer at 1 Gb/s), multimode fiber easily supports most distances required for premises and enterprise networks. In fact, multimode fiber can support 10 Gb/s transmission to 550 meters, and 40 and 100 GB/s to at least 100 meters, for long backbone and even short campus runs. Furthermore, the optoelectronics used with multimode fiber are less expensive than those required for a single-mode system. And multimode fiber is easier to install and terminate in the field - important considerations in enterprise environments with frequent moves, adds, and changes.