10BASE-2: A thin-coaxial-cable version of an IEEE 802.3 network.

10BASE-5: A thin-coaxial-cable version of an IEEE 802.3 network, very similar to the original Ethernet specification.

10BASE-F: A fibre-optic version of an IEE 802.3 network.

10BASE-FB: That portion of 10BASE-F that defines the requirements for a fibre backbone.

10BASE-FL: That portion of 10BASE-F that defines a fibre-optic link between a concentrator and station.

10BASE-FP: That portion of 10BASE-F that defines a passive star coupler.

10BASE-T: A twisted-pair cable version of an IEEE 802.3 network.


ACCEPTABLE ANGLE: The half-angle of the cone within which incident light is totally internally reflected by the fibre core. It is equal to arcsin.

ATTENUATION: Loss of signal power between points. In fibre cables attenuation is a ratio of input power vs. output power, measured in decibels per unit length, usually dB/km.

ATTENUATION COEFFICIENT: A factor expressing optical power loss per unit of length, expressed in dB/km.


BACKBONE: A high-speed transmission system used to connect relatively distant points. Backbone fibre cable networks can be used to join autonomous networks within buildings or between different buildings.

BACKSCATTERING: The return of a portion of scattered light to the input and of a fibre; the scattering of light in the direction opposite to its original propagation.

BANDWIDTH: The information carrying capacity of a fibre cable. The bandwidth for a given wavelength is the lowest frequency at which optical power has decreases by 3 dB and is expressed in MHzkm.

BEND RADIUS: The radius of curvature that a fibre optic can bend without causing harmful effects on the optical or mechanical performance of the fibre cable.

BER: Bit-error rate.

BROADBAND: A method of communication in which the signal is transmitted by being impressed on a higher-frequency carrier.


CHROMATIC DISPERSION: Different wavelengths travel along an optical medium at different speeds. Wavelengths reach the end of the medium at different times, causing the light pulse to spread. The chromatic dispersion is expressed in picoseconds (of dispersion) per kilometre (of length) per nanometer (of source bandwidth). It is the sum of material and waveguide dispersion.

CLADDING: The layer of material, usually glass, that immediately surrounds the fibre cable core. The cladding is usually coated with another material to provide protection when handling.

CLEAVE: The process of cutting an optical fibre by a controlled fracture of the glass, for the purpose of obtaining a fibre end, which is flat, smooth, and perpendicular to the fibre axis.

COATING: A material applied to the cladding for protective purposes.

CONCENTRICITY: In a wire or cable, the measurement of the location of the centre of the conductor with respect to the geometric centre of the circular insulation.

CORE: The central part of the glass construction of the fibre through which light is transmitted.

CORE ECCENTRICITY: A measure of the displacement of the center of the core relative to the cladding centre.

COUPLER: A multiport device used to distribute optical power.

CRITICAL ANGLE: The smallest angle at which a meridional ray may be totally reflected within a fibre at the core-cladding interface.

CUT-OFF WAVELENGTH: The wavelength at which a singlemode fibre transmits a single mode of light.


DB: Decibel.

DBm: Decibel referenced to a milliwatt.

DECIBEL (dB): The standard unit used to express gain or loss of optical power. A standard logarithmic unit for the ratio of two powers, voltages or currents. In fibre optics, the ratio is power. dB = 10 log10(P1)(P2)

DIELECTRIC: Nonmettalic. All-dielectric designs are inherently nonconductive; all-dielectric fibre cables contain no metal and are lightning resistant.

DIFFRACTION GRATING: An array of fine, parallel, equally spaced reflecting or transmitting lines that mutually enhance the effects of diffraction to concentrate the diffracted light in a few directions determined by the spacing of the lines and by the wavelength of the light.

DISPERSION: The cause of bandwidth limitations in a fibre. Dispersion causes a broadening of input pulses along the length of the fibre. Two major types are: mode dispersion caused by differential optical path lengths in a multimode fibre cable and material dispersion caused by a different delay of various wavelengths of light in a waveguide material.


EDFA: Erbium-doped fibre amplifier.

EIA: Electronic Industry Association.

EMI: Electromagnetic interference.

ESCON: An IBM channel control system based on fibre optics.

ETHERNET STANDARDS: Not all Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 standards are identical. In fact, in some instances, there are enough differences in Ethernet standards to cause major problems. In a network environment (such as Ethernet Version 1.0 and IEEE 802.3) nodes can coexist and communicate properly on a network but the important link is overall transceiver-to-node integrity.


FIBRE ATTENUATOR: This component is a passive device installed into a optical fibre system and helps to reduce the optical signal if needed.

FIBRE CHANNEL: An industry-standard specification for computer channel communications over optical fibre and offering transmission speeds from 132 Mbaud to 1062 and transmission distances from 1 to 10km.

FIBRE DISTRIBUTED DATE INTERFACE (FDDI): Erbium-doped fibre amplifier.

FIBRE ENCLOSURE: This component is used to house, route and terminate fibre optic cable either by fusion splice or using fibre optic connectors. A fibre enclosure will normally be a box, tray or dome that can be mounted into an equipment rack or on a wall or installed into underground pits.

FIBRE MEDIA CONVERTER: A fibre media converter is a device that will convert an optical fibre signal to another media normally copper.

FIBRE OPTIC CABLE: This cable is made from extruded glass optical fibre and can transmit a vast amount of information along its glass core offering far greater speed and information carrying capacity (bandwidth) over traditional copper systems.

FIBRE OPTIC CONNECTORS: Connectors terminate the end of a fibre optic cable and allows for fast and reliable connection and disconnection between fibre cable and equipment. A fibre optic connector also aligns the fibre cores so light can pass without major optical loss.

FIBRE OPTIC TEST EQUIPMENT: This equipment is used by installers for testing and commissioning optical fibre networks.

FIBRE OPTICS: Light transmission through optical fibres for communication or signaling.

FIBRE TO THE HOME: Is a generic term for any broadband network that uses optical fibre to replace all or part of the traditional copper component.

FOBOT: Abbreviation for fibre optic breakout tray and is used to house, route and terminate optical fibre cable.

FOIRL: Fibre-optic interrepeater link.

FREQUENCY: The number of cycles per unit of time, denoted by Hertz (Hz). 1 Hertz = 1 cycle per second.

FREQUENCY MODULATION: A method of transmission in which the carrier frequency varies in accordance with the signal.

FTTB: Fibre-to-the-building or Fibre-to-the-basement fibre cables reaches the boundary of the building, such as the basement in a multi-dwelling unit with the final connection to the individual living space being made vis alternative technology.

FTTC: Fibre-to-the-cabinet or Fibre-to-the-curb fibre cable is terminated in a street cabinet typically closer than 300m from the customer premises with the final connection being copper.

FTTH: Fibre-to-the-home fibre cable reaches the boundary of the living space such as a box on the outside wall of a home.

FTTH PRODUCTS: This is a generic term for products used to build a broadband network that uses optical fibre cable and technology to connect individual dwellings into a central location.

FTTN: Fibre-to-the-node - this is very similar to FTTC, but the street cabinet is further away from the user's premises which can be up to several kilometers away.

FTTP: Fibre-to-the-premises - this term is used in several contexts: as a blanket term for both FTTH and FTTB, or where the fibre optic cable network includes both homes and small businesses.

FUSED COUPLER: A method of making a multimode or single-mode coupler by wrapping fibres together, heating them, and pulling them to form a central unified mass so that the light on any input fibre is coupled to all output fibres.

FUSION SPLICER: These high precision units will perform a permanent very low loss join of two fibre optic cores using a technology where the glass is fused ot 'melted' together.


GRADED INDEX: Core refractive index profile that varies with the radius of the core.


HALOGENS: Chemicals from the halogen family (chlorine, fluorine, bromine) are typically compounded into plastic materials to improve the flame retardance. When the materials are exposed to a high heat source, halogen gases are released, limiting the spread of flames but potentially causing a health hazard.

HERTZ: The unit of frequency, in cycles per second.

HYPALON: A thermoset jacket material providing excellent abrasion and flex fatigue resistance; flame and oil resistance to weather, ozone, and oxidizing chemicals. Ideal for industrial and petrochemical applications.


INDEX OF REFRACTION (IOR): The ratio of the velocity of light in free space to the velocity of light in a given material. Symbolised by n.

INSERTION LOSS: Total optical power loss caused by insertion of an optical component such as a fibre optic connector, fusion splice, or coupler into a previously continuous path.

ISDN (INTEGRATED SERVICES DIGITAL NETWORK): ISDN is an international standard for transmitting digital information (text, sound, voice, data, video, etc.).


JUMPER: Fibre optic cable that has fibre optic connectors terminated on both ends.


KEVLAR: The trademark of the Dupont Company for aramid yarn used as strength members in fibre optic cable.

KPSI: Tensile strength in thousands of pounds per square inch.


LAN: Local area network.

LASER: A device that produces monochromatic, coherent light through stimulated emission. Most lasers used in fibre optic communication are solid-state semiconductor devices.

LIGHT EMITTING DIODE (LED): A semiconductor device which emits incoherent light from a p-n junction.

LOOSE TUBE BUFFERING: A fibre cable construction in which the optical fibre is placed in a plastic tube having an inner diameter much larger than the fibre itself. The loose tube isolates the fibre from the exterior mechanical forces acting on the cushion. The space between the tube and the fibre is often filled with a gel to cushion the fibre and help prevent water penetration.

LOSS BUDGET: The total acceptable loss for a given system from transmitter to receiver. Includes fibre optic cable, fusion splices and fibre optic connectors.


MACROBENDING: In an optical fibre, all macroscopic deviations of the fibre's axis from a straight line; distinguished from microbending.

MATERIAL DISPERSION: Pulse dispersion due to the variations in a material’s refractive index as a function of wavelength.

MICROBENDING: Minute but severe bends in a fibre that results in light displacement and increased loss. Most Microbending can be avoided by correct selection of materials and proper fibre cable handling and installation techniques.

MODAL DISPERSION: Dispersion resulting from the different transit lengths of different propagation modes in a multimode fibre. MODE A path of light through a fibre.

MODE COUPLING: The transfer of energy between modes. In a fibre, ode coupling occurs until EMD is reached.

MODE FILED DIAMETER (MFD): In single fibre, the region in which the light transmitted is larger than the glass core diameter. This mode field diameter is a measure value and often listed as a requirement with core diameter in a fibre specifications.

MODE FILTER: A device used to remove high-order modes from a fibre and thereby simulate EMD.

MULTIMODE FIBRE: A type of optical fibre that supports more than one propagating mode.

MULTIPLEXING: The process by which two or more signals are transmitted over a single communications channel. Examples include time-division multiplexing and wavelength-division multiplexing.


NEOPRENE: A rubber elastomer jacket material providing excellent cold temperature flexibility, abrasion resistance and flame retardance. Ideally suited for outdoor, field deployable fibre optic cable and repeated flexing applications.

NUMERICAL APERTURE (NA): The "light-gathering ability" of a fibre, defining the maximum angle to the fibre axis at which light will be accepted and propagated through the fibre. NA = sin q, where q is the acceptance angle. NA is also used to describe the angular spread of light from a central axis, as in existing a fibre, emitting from a source, or entering detector.


ODN: Optical distribution network.

ONT: Optical distribution terminals.

OPTICAL TIME DMAIN REFLECTOMETRY (OTDR): A method of evaluating fibre optic cable networks based on detecting backscattered (reflected) light. Used to measure fibre attenuation, evaluate fusion splice and fibre optic connector loss and also to locate faults.


PC: Physical Contact.

PCM: Pulse-coded modulation.

PHOTON: A quantum of electromagnetic energy. A "particle" of light.

PIGTAIL: A fibre optic cable that has a fibre optic connector on only one end.

PISTONING: The movement of a fibre axially in and out of a ferrule and, often caused by changes in temperature.

PLENUM CABLE: A fibre cable whose flammability and smoke characteristics allow it to be routed in a plenum area without being enclosed in a conduit.

POLYETHYLENE (PE): Tough, chemical and moisture resistant jacketing material, ideal for outdoor cable applications.

POLYURETHANE: A jacketing material used mostly for outdoor fibre optic cable applications. Provides excellent abrasion resistance and low temperature flexibility.

POLYVINYLCHLORIDE (PVC): Flame retardant jacketing material providing good mechanical protection, flexibility, and abrasion resistance. Ideally suited for indoor fibre cable applications.

PULSE SPREADING: The dispersion of an optical signal with time as it propagates through an optical fibre.


REFRACTION: The bending of a beam of light at an interface between two dissimilar media or in medium whose refractive index is a continuous function of position (graded-index medium).

REFRACTIVE INDEX: The ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in a material. Also called Index of Refraction.

REPEATER: A device that receives, amplifies (and perhaps reshapes), and retransmits a signal. It is used to boost signal levels when the distance between repeaters is so great that the received signal would otherwise be to be properly received.

RISER CABLE: Indoor fibre optic cable made especially for between floor applications.


SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO (SNR): The ratio of signal power to noise power.

SINGLEMODE FIBRE: An optical fibre that supports only one mode of light propagation about the cutoff wavelength.

SPECTRAL WIDTH: A measure of the extend of a spectrum. For a source, the width of wavelengths contained in the output at one half of the wavelength of peak power. Typical spectral widths are 20 to 60 nm for an LED and 2 to 50 nm for laser diode.

SPLICE: An interconnection method for joining the ends of two optical fibres in a permanent of semi permanent fashion.

STEP INDEX: A refractive index profile characterised by a uniform refractive index within the core and a sharp decrease at the core-cladding interface.

STRENGTH MEMBER: That part of a fibre optic cable composed of aramid yarn, steel strand, or fibreglass filaments that increase that tensile strength of the fibre cable.


TDM: Time-division multiplexing.

THERMOPLASTIC: A plastic jacketing material that softens when heated and becomes firm on cooling. Thermoplastics include PVC, PE, Polyurethane, and Nylon.

THERMOSET: A jacketing material where the molecules have been cross-linked (interlocked) through exposure to heat or irradiation. Once the material is "set", it cannot be softened or melted by re-heating. Thermosets include Neoprene and Hypalon.

TIGHT BUFFER: In tight buffer fibre optic cable construction the thermoplastic is extruded directly over the coated fibre, increasing the outside diameter to 900 micron (0.9mm), an industry standard.


WAVEGUIDE DISPERSION: Dispersion caused by the fact that light travels at different speeds in the core and cladding of singlemode fibres.

WAVELENGTH: The distance between the same two points on adjacent waves, the time required for a wave to complete a single cycle.

WAVELENGTH-DIVISION MULTIPLEXING (WDM): A transmission technique by which separate optical channels, distinguished by wavelength, are multiplexed onto an optical fibre for transmission.


ZERO DISPERSION: Wavelength in singlemode fibres, the wavelength at which the effects of chromatic dispersion and waveguide dispersion are lowest; thus providing the greatest information carrying capacity.