We introduce a graded-index plastic optical fiber (GI POF) design for very short-distance household applications, in which the transmission quality is predominantly determined by system noise rather than the loss and bandwidth. The developed GI POF has strong mode coupling with low accompanying scattering loss, which is closely related to the specific microscopic heterogeneities in the core material. Such characteristic mode coupling significantly decreases reflection noise, improving the transmission quality compared with silica GI multimode fiber (MMF) for lengths below 30 m. Moreover, in the GI POF link, the transmission quality tends to improve with increasing fiber length, despite the increased loss and decreased bandwidth. This feature suggests that the system noise can be controlled by the microscopic heterogeneous properties of the GI POF for a very short MMF link, where the fiber loss and bandwidth are sufficiently low and high, respectively. This unconventional concept for optical-fiber design can advance fiber-optic communication in emerging applications in households located near optical network terminals.
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