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Optical Fibre

Transmission Theory
Wavelength and Losses in fibre

A single fibre strand has two areas, a First Window
Water absorbtion
central core and outer cladding for pro- 4dB
Hydroxyl Ions (OH)
tection and light refraction.

Attenuation (dB)

The central core propagates light along
the fibre by means of Total internal
Refraction. (fig.2)
Second Window
The major loss for light is by molecular Third window
water absorption and varies according
to wavelength (fig. 1).
850nm 1310nm 1550nm

Fig.1 shows Hydroxil losses vs dB Wavelength (nm)
loss/km at various wavelengths to-
gether with dB loss/km 850nm= 3 to 4 dB/Km 1310nm= 0.5dB/Km 1550nm= 0.2dB/Km

Fig. 1
Transimission Losses
Transmission equipment normally Multimode fibre (GI)
• Multiple boundary layers between inner transmission core and outer cladding material.
operate at 850, 1300 and 550nm. The dB
loses vary depending on wavelength:

850nm = 3.5db/km
t0 t1 t2
1310nm = 0.5db/km
core / cladding Characteristics
1550nm = 0.2db/km
50um / 125 µm 62.5um bandwidth typ. 300 to 400MHz/Km
62,5um / 125 µm 50um bandwidth typ. 400 to 600Mhz/Km
Discontinuities also cause power loss
within the fibre core, at connector points S in g le M o d e fib r e
• S ing le b o u nd a r y la ye r b e tw e e n in ne r t ra ns m is s io n c o re a nd o u te r c la d d ing m a te ria l.
C o re 9 /1 2 5 u m
or fusion splices. 1 2 5 u m c la d d in g

Another type of loss is Macro Bending
loss, normally associated with Single t0 t0 - t1
mode fibre, due to excessively tight B a n d w id th C h a ra c t e ris tic s
• 8 u m = In fin ite
bends along the fibre route. L o sses
• B a n d w id th ty p . 1 T H z
• C h ro m a tic D is p e r s io n :
• @ 1 3 0 0 n m = 0 .5 d B /K m T y p v a lu e s :
• @ 1 5 5 0 n m = 0 .2 d B /K m 3 .5 p s /n m *k m @ 1 3 0 0 n m
1 8 p s /n m *k m @ 1 5 5 0 n m

Fig. 2
Bandwidth capability at Gigabit speeds

Together with dB loss one needs to be aware of bandwidth carrying capacity of installed fibre
particularly at Gigabit data speeds. The limitation of bandwidth is a complex issue but general
rules should apply. Always use 50um fibre for multimode applications and be aware of the fibre
route length. For further information on the effect of high speed applications in fibre or Fibre
theory please ring our sales hot line to discuss training issues and multi media material.

Fibre Type vs Bandwidth for Gigabit links
Multimode, 50/125um = 500 Mhz/km (Max. Dist. @ 1Gbps = 500mtrs, typically)
Multimode, 50/125um = 500 Mhz/km (Max. Dist. @ 2Gbps = 250mtrs, typically)
Multimode, 62.5/125um = 250 Mhz/km (Max. 200mtrs)
Singlemode, 9/125um = Infinite, (Max. Dist. 120km)
*chromatic dispersion 20ns/Km typical

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