Travelling at the speed of Light: Overview of Fibre Transport Solutions

Fibre transport technology has revolutionized the way audio is transmitted in professional settings, offering unparalleled quality and reliability.

This technology uses optical fibres to carry audio signals over long distances with minimal loss of quality, making it an essential tool for live events, broadcasts, and studio recordings. Unlike traditional copper cables, fibre optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference, ensuring that the audio signal remains pristine from source to destination. Additionally, the capacity of fibre optics to handle vast amounts of data at high speeds enables the simultaneous transmission of multiple audio channels, which is crucial in complex setups requiring a multitude of inputs and outputs.

The significance of high-quality, reliable audio transmission cannot be overstated in professional audio applications. In live events, for example, the clarity and integrity of the sound reaching the audience can greatly impact the overall experience. Similarly, in broadcast environments, the quality of audio transmission directly affects the production value and can influence viewer engagement and satisfaction. In studio settings, the purity of the audio signal is paramount for recording, mixing, and mastering, where even the slightest degradation in quality can compromise the final product. Fibre transport solutions address these challenges by providing a robust, scalable, and efficient means of audio signal transmission, ensuring that sound quality is preserved at every stage of the signal chain.

Applications and Use Cases

Fibre technology has become a staple in live event productions, including concerts, festivals, and sports events, where managing complex audio routing is a critical challenge. These settings demand a high level of flexibility and reliability to ensure that audio signals are distributed efficiently across various zones and stages.

In the broadcast sector, fibre solutions play a crucial role in facilitating high-quality audio feeds for television and radio broadcasting. The pristine audio quality and reliability of fibre optic technology ensures that broadcasts are delivered with clear, uninterrupted sound.

Fibre products are also highly beneficial in permanent installations and studio settings, where audio connectivity and flexibility are paramount. Whether it's for theatres, conference centres, or recording studios, fibre solutions provide scalable and reliable audio routing capabilities. The ability to support high-resolution audio formats ensures that installations and studios can deliver superior sound quality, whether for live performances, recordings, or playback scenarios.

Multi-mode vs. Single-mode Fibre

Choosing between multi-mode and single-mode fibre depends on the specific requirements of the audio network, including distance, bandwidth, budget, and future scalability.

Multi-mode Fibre: Multi-mode fibre is designed with a wider core (typically 50 or 62.5 micrometres) allowing multiple modes (or light paths) to be transmitted simultaneously. This design is optimal for short to medium distances, typically up to 2 kilometres, making it suitable for applications within single buildings or campus environments. The strength of multi-mode fibre lies in its cost-effectiveness for shorter distances and high data rates. However, its bandwidth and distance capabilities are lower than single-mode fibre due to modal dispersion (where different light modes arrive at different times)

Single-mode Fibre: Single-mode fibre, with a narrower core (about 9 micrometres), allows only one mode of light to propagate. This limitation significantly reduces modal dispersion, enabling signals to travel over longer distances (up to 100 kilometres or more) with higher bandwidth. Single-mode is ideal for long-distance, high-bandwidth applications such as inter-city audio transmission or extensive venue setups. Its weakness compared to multi-mode lies in the higher cost of the transceivers and more precise installation requirements.

Image courtesy of Guillermo Huerta-Cuellar

For short-range, cost-sensitive applications where high bandwidth is not a priority, multi-mode fibre may be the best choice. Conversely, for long-distance transmission where maximum bandwidth and minimal signal degradation are crucial, single-mode fibre is preferable. Understanding these key differences and assessing the specific needs of the audio network will guide users in selecting the most appropriate fibre type for their application. 

The Future

Looking ahead, the future of fibre transport technology in the audio industry appears promising, with ongoing advancements aimed at further improving audio quality, system scalability, and operational flexibility. As the industry moves towards more complex and demanding audio setups, the role of  fibre transport solutions is set to become even more integral, ensuring that audio professionals can deliver exceptional sound experiences in any scenario.

Optocore’s Optical Leap

Optocore stands at the forefront of fibre-based audio transport solutions, cementing its position as a leading provider in the industry. With a commitment to innovation, quality, and reliability, Optocore designs and manufactures a range of products that cater to the rigorous demands of professional audio applications. Known for its pioneering technology, Optocore offers solutions that enhance the performance and flexibility of audio systems, whether for live sound, broadcast, installation, or studio environments.

Optocore's product lineup, including the Festival Box and AutoRouter, exemplifies the company's dedication to meeting the evolving needs of the audio industry. The Festival Box is designed to simplify the complex requirements of festival setups, offering a versatile and user-friendly interface for audio distribution. The AutoRouter, on the other hand, enhances system efficiency by automatically managing fibre connections, ensuring optimal signal routing without manual intervention. These products, among others in Optocore's portfolio, are built with the highest standards of quality, ensuring durability and performance that professionals can rely on.

Optocore Festival Box & Autorouter (Images courtesy of Optocore)

By leveraging fibre optics, Optocore's solutions provide a significant advantage in terms of audio quality, system scalability, and operational flexibility. The company's focus on developing innovative, user-centric products has made it a preferred choice for audio professionals worldwide, seeking to overcome the challenges of modern audio transmission with state-of-the-art technology.

The Optocore Advantage

Optocore's products are engineered to support high-resolution audio formats, a crucial feature that ensures superior sound quality over long distances without degradation. This capability is fundamental in professional audio environments where the integrity of the audio signal must be preserved, regardless of the transmission distance. High-resolution audio support means that Optocore systems can transmit detailed, dynamic audio content, capturing the full spectrum of sound with clarity and precision. This is particularly important in settings such as live concerts, broadcasts, and studio recordings, where audio quality can significantly impact the overall experience.

The design of Optocore's fibre optic solutions inherently provides scalability and reliability, two key considerations in professional audio applications. Systems can be expanded easily to accommodate growing network requirements, allowing for the addition of more input and output channels as needed. This scalability ensures that audio networks can evolve in line with technological advancements and changing user needs. Furthermore, the inherent reliability of fibre optic technology, with its immunity to electromagnetic interference and lower risk of signal loss, guarantees consistent, high-quality audio transmission. This reliability is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the audio signal across varied and challenging environments.

Low latency transmission is another hallmark of Optocore products, essential for live performances and broadcasts where timing and synchronization are critical. Latency, the delay between an audio signal being input into the system and output from it, can be a critical issue in live settings. Optocore's technology minimizes this delay, ensuring that audio signals are transmitted almost instantaneously. This capability is vital for ensuring the seamless execution of live events and broadcasts, where even slight delays can disrupt performance timing and audience engagement.

Netgear’s Fibre Fueled Expansion

In the evolving landscape of professional audio applications, the integration of fibre optics through solutions like NETGEAR's AV Line switches, specifically the 4250 and 4300 range, represents a significant leap forward. These switches, designed with the audiovisual industry in mind, feature onboard SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) ports that support both multi-mode and single-mode fibre connections. This scalability, combined with the inherent reliability of fibre optic connections, ensures consistent, high-quality audio transmission across various professional settings. Furthermore, the low latency characteristic of fibre optics is integral to the switches' design, ensuring that audio signals are relayed almost instantaneously, which is vital for synchronization in live performances and broadcasts.

NETGEAR's 4250 and 4300 range, with their advanced features and fibre integration, provide audio professionals with a robust, efficient, and future-proof networking solution. By leveraging these switches, the audio industry can achieve unprecedented levels of audio quality and operational efficiency, paving the way for innovative applications and improved experiences in live events, broadcasting, and studio productions.

Netgear M4259 Series Switches (Image courtesy of Netgear)

Adamson's Lightspeed Sound

Adamson Systems Engineering, a renowned player in the professional audio industry, integrates fibre connections into their Network Distribution System (NDS) and Gateway devices, highlighting the company's commitment to leveraging advanced technology for superior audio distribution. These fibre connections are pivotal in achieving high-resolution audio transmission over long distances, a crucial requirement in large-scale live events, tours, and installations where Adamson's audio solutions are frequently deployed.

Adamson Network Distribution System (Image courtesy of Adamson)

The inclusion of fibre optics in the NDS and Gateway devices allows Adamson to offer scalable, reliable, and efficient audio networking solutions which is particularly beneficial in large venues and outdoor settings, where traditional copper cabling might suffer from signal degradation over distance and exposure to external interferences.

Furthermore, the use of fibre connections in Adamson's products underscores the company's forward-thinking approach. As the audio industry continues to evolve, with increasing demands for higher audio quality and more complex networking requirements, Adamson's fibre-enabled devices are well-positioned to meet these challenges. By embracing fibre optics, Adamson not only enhances the performance and flexibility of its audio solutions but also aligns itself with the future trajectory of the industry, where fibre connections are increasingly becoming the standard for high-end audio applications.

A special thank you to Optocore, Adamson Systems and Netgear for their insights into fibreoptics and their continued development and innovation in the field.

OPTOCORE AutoRouter 20 Locations (

OPTOCORE Festival Box Grand (

NETGEAR AV Line M4250-40G8F-PoE+ 40x1G PoE+ 480W and 8xSFP Managed Switch (GSM4248P) (



By Travis Taylor 
National Technical Sales & Systems Design

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