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Glossary of Basic Fiber Terminology

Aerial

A type of fiber optic cable that is designed for hanging from a pole or supporting wire.

APC - Angled Physical Contact

Connector with an angled tip. The angled tip helps reduce insertion loss.

Armored

Fiber optic cables built with a protective structure around the outside. Armor is usually metal, and protects the cable from burrowing rodents and other threats.

Buffer

A layer which surrounds the cladding of a fiber, and provides some measure of physical protection. The buffer is typically made of a plastic material.

Burial

A type of fiber optic cable that is designed for burial directly in the earth. Burial cable is typically armored to protect it against rodents, and also built with moisture-resistant properties to protect against water intrusion.

Cladding

The layer which surrounds the core of a fiber. The cladding is slightly less transparent than the core, and reflects light back in to the core.

Connector

The structure at the end of a fiber optic cable that allows connection to a fiber port on a patch panel or electronic device.

Core

The transparent center of a fiber optic cable, where light is internally transmitted.

dB

Abbreviation for decibel, the unit of measurement for optical power in a fiber optic cabling system.

Duplex

A fiber optic patch cord with two connectors at each end, zip-corded together.

Ferrule

A round part of a connector that holds the fiber in place for polishing.

Fiber (or, optical fiber)

The glass construction of a fiber optic cable, consisting of the core, cladding, and buffer.

GBIC

Gigabit Interface Converter (pronounced "JEE-bic"). A transceiver device that plugs into a switch or other network device in order to provide a high-speed fiber optic interface.

Laser-Optimized Multi-Mode Fiber (LOMMF)

Multi-mode optical fiber that is designed for use with VCSEL lasers. Normally has an aqua-colored jacket; also known as OM3.

Multimode

A fiber cable that transmits more than one mode, or paths, of light to travel down the core. May come in two standard core sizes — 62.5/125 (OM1) or 50/125 (OM2).

Insertion Loss

The loss (in dB) from inserting a component such as a connector or coupler into a fiber optic signal path.

Loss Budget

The total amount of allowed loss, in dB, in a given fiber optic installation. Loss may be due to insertion loss because of connectorization, attenuation because of cable length, splicing of cable runs, and other factors.

Messenger

A parabolic structure that is added to an aerial fiber optic cable in order to help hang it to a pole or supporting wire.

OFNP

Optical Fiber Nonconductive Plenum. Plenum-jacketed fiber optic cables.

OFNR

Optical Fiber Nonconductive Riser. Riser-rated (usually PVC) fiber optic cables.

OTDR — Optical Time-domain Reflectometer.

A device used to locate faults in fiber optic cable installations.

Polish

The type of finish used on a connector.

Return Loss

The loss of signal power caused by a reflection.

Simplex

A fiber optic patch cord with a single connector at each end.

Single-mode

Supports only one mode of light propogation above the cutoff wavelength.

VCSEL-Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser

A type of launch laser used on network electronic devices that are designed for use with LOMMF/OM3 fiber. VCSELs (pronounced "vixel") are a low-cost, low-power consumption laser.

This white paper is for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. C2G makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information found in this document.