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All Blog Articles / Cabling / Glass Optical Fiber vs Plastic Optical Fiber

Glass Optical Fiber vs Plastic Optical Fiber

Posted on by FS.COM

High bandwidth networking has become the trend. As the transmission media, optical fiber is gradually known by the public. It can realize the high speed data transmission over long distance. In fact, optical fiber has two types: glass optical fiber vs plastic optical fiber. This article will give an introduction to them and make a simple comparison.

Overview of Glass Optical Fiber

Glass optical fibers are constructed of tiny strands of glass that are bundled together inside an application-specific sheathing like stainless steel for durability and high temperatures. They are attached to certain photoelectric sensors and guide light from the sensing head to the target. Glass optical fibers have an impressive temperature range, as low as -40°F and up to +900°F. That’s because the cables have no electrical components. They merely act as a conduit, or light guide between the target and the sensor.

Glass optical fiber

Advantages of Glass Optical Fiber

Glass optical fiber enables you to use a photoelectric sensor in areas where you wouldn’t normally be able to use them. The sensors are available with a wide range of housings, mounting styles, and features for your specific application.

Glass fiber cables can be used in high-temperature applications like furnaces, ovens, and condensers in large engines, and they can also be used in extremely low temperature areas such as cold storage warehouses.

Since glass cores are efficient at transmitting light and allow for significantly higher transfer speeds, glass optical fibers can be used over long sensing distances. Even more, glass fiber optic cables are optimized for small spaces and small targets. They can be used with both visible red and infrared light and are compatible with a long list of fiber heads.

Overview of Plastic Optical Fiber

Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) is an optical fiber which is made out of plastic rather than traditional glass. It transmits the light through the core of the fiber. With very small diameter, the POF cable is easy to run along skirting boards, under carpets and around tight corners. Made from just one acrylic monofilament, plastic fiber optic cables are efficient when used with visible red status indicator light sources. Plastic optical fiber is cheap and the installation is very simple.

plastic optical fiber

Advantages of Plastic Optical Fiber

Plastic optical fiber offers additional durability for uses in data communications, as well as decoration, illumination and industrial application. As the ideal short-range communication network transmission medium, plastic optical fiber has an important position in military communication network and multimedia equipment in the data transmission.

To be extremely reliable and rugerizada, POF has been adopted in many different markets. With data rates up to 1 Gbps and guarantee high quality service, POF is the most robust technology for Ethernet networks to 100 Mbps. Plastic fiber cable is also particularly suitable for developing new applications with high bandwidth, including IPTV and Triple Play services.

Glass Optical Fiber Vs Plastic Optical Fiber

From the perspective of the inner structure, the diameter of plastic optical fiber is about 1mm which is about 100 times larger than that of glass optical fiber.

From the perspective of the safety, plastic optical fibers use harmless green or red light that is easily visible towards the eye. They are safer than glass optical fiber when installed in a house without risk to inquisitive children.

From the perspective of the installation, plastic optical fibers could be more easily handled without special tools or techniques. You don’t have to be trained to do the installation, just simply work with scissors, hook it up and it works.


As transmission medium, glass optical fiber and plastic optical fiber are both used for high speed data transmission. However, they consist of different materials. So they have their own advantages and are suitable for different applications. Glass optical fiber vs plastic optical fiber, which one to choose really depends on your specific requirement.