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Sustainability Considerations with Multimode Fiber

Feb 2022

With sustainability and environmental issues top of mind, individuals and businesses are doing what they can to limit their environmental impact and reduce their carbon footprint. Although many people are more conscious about how their actions impact the environment, there are things that we still take for granted or do not think about.

One of those areas is cabling infrastructure.

Are you considering ripping out your old multimode fiber backbone and replacing it with singlemode fiber?

Think again. What are you going to do with the multimode fiber cabling that you remove from your building? After pulling out the old multimode fiber, you could throw it away, along with the other waste and leftover materials created from the rip-and-replace project. All that multimode fiber will then wind up in a landfill, and here’s the problem: no one knows how long it will take for multimode fiber to decompose. Some feel it could be hundreds of years.

Replacing multimode fiber increases the likelihood that the old fiber will end up in a landfill.

Recycling as an Option

Can multimode optical fiber be recycled?

It depends on where the project is geographically located as it requires a specialized recycler. It’s not as simple as throwing multimode fiber into the blue recycle bin and expecting it to be recycled. Exactly how much of the cable is recyclable depends on the makeup of the cable. The cable’s jacket and armor can be ground up and recycled, but what about the reinforcing strands of Kevlar®? Even if some of the multimode cable’s components can be recycled, not all of them can be.

When it comes to sustainability, ripping out the old multimode fiber and replacing it with singlemode fiber is not very sustainable.

The More Sustainable Approach

There is a sustainable alternative to ripping and replacing existing multimode fiber: OneMode™.

Panduit’s OneMode offering is a device that allows singlemode optical modules to be used with an existing multimode fiber backbone. OneMode works by shaping the singlemode laser light so that when it launches into the multimode fiber backbone, it uses only the fiber’s fundamental mode. This means that the multimode fiber is behaving as if it were singlemode fiber. All the modal and chromatic dispersion limitations that exist with multimode fiber disappear.

Installation is quick and straightforward. Deploying OneMode only requires access to the ends of the legacy multimode fiber. The fibers can be upgraded within hours with minimal disruption to operations. Given that OneMode takes much less time than a rip-and-replace project, it is less expensive to deploy.

OneMode is the sustainable, environmentally friendly, and economical way to upgrade your existing multimode fiber backbone.

Learn more about how this solution could work in your facility at Or reach out to your local Panduit sales rep for a demo to see if this is the solution that your building needs.


Tom Kovanic

Tom Kovanic joined Panduit in 2009 and is currently Business Development Manager with Panduit Ventures. Tom has spent his entire engineering and business career in the video and communications segments. He is well versed in video acquisition and manipulation, optical and RF communications. Tom holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Bradley University and a Master’s in Business Administration from San Diego State University.