The need for a faster internet connection is becoming more and more important in the modern world. Fiber optic cables provide a step closer to obtaining faster connectivity. Apart from having a huge capacity, fiber optic cables are also cost-efficient, less susceptible to interference, and more secure than traditional copper cables.
Fiber optic cables sound like amazing technology, but with all these nice qualities, how much does a fiber optic cable cost?
Fiber Optic Cable Average Cost
The average fiber optic cable cost depends on several factors. For a cable measuring 1,000 feet or 300 meters, prices range from as low as $156 to as high as $1,850 (this price range only includes the fiber optic cable itself).
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This price depends on the type of cable (whether it’s singlemode or multimode and if it’s simplex or duplex), its length, and if it has additional protection. Fiber optic cables come in spool form if you order it in bulk, or rolled if its length isn’t long enough for a spool.
- These fibers transmit information at twice the bandwidth and are generally used in longer connections. It can transmit information 50 times farther than multimode fibers.
- Unlike singlemode fibers, multimode ones transmit information using LEDs. They are suitable for short to midrange distances, typically in a distance of under 2,000 feet (about 600 meters).
Aside from this, fiber optic cables are also divided into two other categories based on whether they’re single- or double-stranded. Single-stranded cables are called simplex as there is only a single transmitting and receiving line. Cables with two strands, called duplex, use two separate lines for sending and receiving information.
Ultra Specs Cable offers the following prices for a singlemode cable measuring 1,000 feet (300 meters):
- For singlemode simplex cables 9/125, the price ranges from $620 to $1,850.
- For singlemode duplex cables 9/125, the rate is more varied, going as low as $160 and as high as $1,850.
Multimode cables offered by Ultra Specs Cable typically begin at around $300 for a cable measuring 1,000 feet (300 meters). Their prices are listed below:
- For both multimode simplex and multimode duplex cables 50/125, the price range is between $300 and $1,850.
- Multimode simplex and multimode duplex cables 62.5/125 goes as low as $300 and as high as $1,850.
- They also have a multimode duplex 62.5/125 cable in raw, bulk form that can be bought for $329.
Ultra Specs Cable also offers fiber optic cables in raw, bulk form that is only 820 feet (250 meters) long:-
- A singlemode duplex 9/125 bulk fiber optic cable rolled in a spool sold for $200.
- A multimode duplex cable 50/125 in raw, bulk form sold for $180.
Another manufacturer, L-Com, unlike Ultra Specs Cable, sell cables that can be used to assemble singlemode or multimode fiber patch cables. For 1,000 feet (300 meters), the prices for these cables are listed below:
- Simplex 9/125 cables are sold at around $156. Duplex 9/125 cables go from $249 to $561.
- Simplex 50/125 cables can be bought at about $171. Duplex 50/125 cables range from $312 to $903.
- Simplex 62.5/125 cables are available at $327. Duplex 62.5/125 cables are sold at a range of $528 to $606.
A fiber optic cable measuring 1,000 feet is enough for installation in a small- to medium-sized house, for connecting nearby structures, or for wiring the premises of an average-sized office.
For the price you pay, you get your own quality fiber optic cable at the length you bought, as well as the connectors you need to assemble and install the cables.
Other Costs to Consider
The U.S. Department of Transportation offers a handy table of costs—both actual and estimated—of fiber optic cable installation. Depending on the length of cable to be installed, the fiber optic cable installation can exceed thousands of dollars.
Another thing to consider is the cost it’d take to clean the cables. There are cleaning kits available on the Internet at about a few hundred dollars.
Alternatively, you could use lint-free pads and rubbing isopropyl alcohol to clean the fiber optic cable connectors. Make sure to not use cotton or cloth as they can leave threads behind and degrade the connectors. You could also use canned air, although be cautious as they have liquid in them that can leave a residue.
Using either of the above ways to clean fiber optic cables, specifically their connectors, effectively saves you as much as a few hundred dollars.
Businesses that use fiber optic cables could also get their cables insured. USA Business Insurance covers fiber optic cables under their general liability insurance.
Do it Yourself Fiber Optic Cable Installation
While shelling out money to have your fiber optic cables professionally installed is a good choice, sometimes it isn’t practical, or the costs are too expensive to manage. Instead, you could save money by DIY installing the cables.
The Fiber Optic Association set guidelines for installing the cables.
- Outdoor fiber optic cables can be buried, placed inside a conduit, or attached between poles. Indoor fiber optic cables, on the other hand, can be installed inside protected spaces, such as above the ceiling or in the floor.
- To ensure that the cable won’t be damaged, follow the recommendations given by the fiber optic cable’s manufacturer.
- Before pulling the cable into its pathway, make sure that the cable’s length is enough. Try to complete the installation in one pull.
- Pull the cable by its strength members and not by the jacket.
- Don’t twist the cables as it can damage the fibers. Instead, when needed, lay the loops of cables in a “figure-8” pattern.
- Don’t bend the fiber optic cable greater than what the manufacturer specified as it can break.
- For vertical cables, it’s suggested that they should be dropped from above rather than pulled upwards.
To cut back on the money you need to spend, you first need to make sure you know what kind of cables you need. Buying incorrect cables can cost you a lot.
Also, determine the best and shortest route that you will run the cables through. A shorter route requires less cable, and this, in turn, equates to less spending.
Consult with sellers and look for the best price available. You can connect with a lot of sellers over the internet who can give you more information both on the product and on its price. Also, there are online services that can help you cross-reference different fiber optic cables, such as Tripp Lite’s.
Fiber Optic Cable Cost Factors
Aside from whether the fiber optic cable is singlemode or multimode, and whether it’s simplex or duplex, there are also other cost factors that can affect the price you’d pay for a fiber optic cable.
- As earlier mentioned, the main factor is whether it’s singlemode or multimode. Singlemode cables often cost more than multimode ones, but it isn’t always the case.
- Connection Lines. Is the cable simplex or is it duplex? Simplex cables are generally less expensive than the double-stranded duplex cables.
- The longer the cable, the more material it needs, therefore increasing the price. Minimize the length of cable you need to minimize the expenses.
- Additional Protection. Sometimes, the cables are designed to withstand harsh environments through layers of added protection. These layers add up to the cost needed to create the cables in the first place. Check with what these layers are and determine whether you need them or not.
- Manufacturers offer fiber optic cables with more features other than their basic offering. Generally, higher quality fiber optic cables also come with layers of protection. They’re designed to be stronger, more resistant to tension and hostile environments, and offer greater transfer rates. Higher quality cables are more expensive.
What Else You Need to Know
Fiber optic cables come in 9/125, 50/125, and 62.5/125 versions. What these numbers basically mean is the ratio of the diameter in microns of the core of the cable to its cladding. The cladding is a special covering that keeps the light from escaping the fiber.
The first numbers (9, 50, and 62.5) describe the diameter of the cable’s core while the second number is the diameter of the cladding.
Also, there are 16 types of connectors available for fiber optic cables. The most common connectors are the ST, SC, FC, MT-RJ, and LC. Take this into consideration whenever you’re buying fiber optic cables as mismatched cables can incur additional costs.