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FAQ - Simplex vs Duplex Fiber Cables

FAQ - Simplex vs Duplex Fiber Cables

Fiber Optics Cables

When you’re choosing cables for fiber optics, you have to get a few things right. You might be tempted to look for the cheapest cables you can find. After all, saving money is important.

But, price differences usually exist for a reason, and if your cheap cables aren't designed for the network you have in mind, you’ll run into trouble.

To avoid that, you have to learn a few essentials, and one of the best places to start is with duplex and simplex cables.

What Is Simplex?

Simplex is a fiber optics communication design that sends signals only in one direction. There is a transmitter on one end of the cable and a receiver on the other end. The receiver cannot transmit, and the transmitter cannot receive, so communication is permanently only flowing in one direction.

It’s ideal for communication that doesn’t need to travel in both directions, such as for remote monitoring.

What Is Duplex?

Duplex, as you might guess from the name, is fiber optics communication that travels in both directions. You have one cable, but you can put transmitters and receivers on either end, allowing for two-way communication on a single cable.

There are actually two types of duplex: half and full. With half duplex, you can only send information one direction at a time. Transmissions can go either direction in the cable, but each end can only transmit or receive at a given moment, not both. It’s similar to traditional radio communication in this way.

Full duplex allows for communication to go both directions simultaneously.

What Are the Main Differences Between the Two?

Considering how simplex and duplex cables operate, there are a few important distinctions between the designs and functions of each type of communication.

For starters, simplex cables use a single strand of glass and a single outer jacket. Generally speaking, they are thinner (for the same volume of data transmission).

Duplex cables actually come in a few different designs. Full duplex traditionally uses two strands in a single cable. It’s basically two simplex cables tied together in a single cable bundle.

Half duplex can use a single line; you simply have a transmitter and receiver on either side.

These days, there are also single-fiber full duplex cables. These cables are designed like simplex, but they allow two-way communication by splitting communication into different frequencies. By choosing frequencies that minimally interfere with each other, you can filter the communication according to frequency and broadcast in both directions at the same time.

That covers the essentials of simplex and duplex fiber cables. If you have more questions, visit our contact us page contact us any time.

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