Ribbon fibers are multi-fiber cables consisting of several optical fib ers lying next to each other, all of which have identical transmission characteristics and are housed in a common cable jacket. They are much more compact and easier to handle than many individual optical fibers and are used for parallel optical transmission in Gigabit Ethernet.
Ribbon fibers can contain single- mode fibers or multimode fibers. Typically, they consist of ribbons, each with 12 optical fibers arranged side by side, which can be connected to multi-fiber connectors, such as the MTP, MPO connector or the MTRJ connector. Ribbon fiber is available with up to 144 optical fibers. If six such ribbons are combined with 144 optical fibers each, then FOC cables with 864 optical fibers are created. A common cable jacket protects the optical fibers, which lie in recesses of a semirigid, flexible material, against mechanical stress and environmental influences. Ribbon fiber is available in round and flat versions and, with some manufacturers, also with color coding.
Instead of multi-fiber connectors, the optical fibers can also be converted to single fibers with the appropriate FOC connectors such as the LC connector or the SC connector via special fan-out units or via a ready-made fan-out cable.
Ribbon fibers are used for interconnection between systems, for HS data transfer, in carrier networks, data centers and in transceiver modules of10GbE, 40GbE and 100GbE operating with multiple parallel lanes, such as 40GBase-SR4, 100GBase-SR4 and 100GBase-SR10.