December 2, 2016

Fiber Optic Patch Cable Selection Guide

It is known that fiber optic patch cable has become an appropriate way of communication signal transmission in telecommunication networks with its high performance and reliability. And with the increasing demand for fiber patch cables, many vendors has designed various types of patch cords to satisfy different application environments. However, with so many patch cables available on the market, do you really know how to choose a right one for your network applications? Read this post, and you will get some useful information.

The Necessities and Advantages of Fiber Optic Patch Cable

Before the introduction of fiber optic cable, copper cables has dominated the telecommunication market, since it is economical in network device connections. However, as the need for faster data transmission increase and the cost of optical deployment dramatically decreases, fiber optic patch cable, which can transmit much more data with the lowest loss at higher speed for longer distance, becomes an important component in telecommunication and computer networking. Additionally, fiber patch cable is lightweight, thin but sturdy. Meanwhile, fiber patch cable has pulling specifications that are up to 10 times greater than copper cable’s. It is easier to handle due to its small size, and it takes up much less space in cabling ducts.

How to Choose Right Fiber Optic Patch Cable?

Choose Right Connector Types

As we all know, fiber optic patch cable is a fiber optic cable capped at either with connectors that allow it to be rapidly and conveniently connected to CATV, an optical switch or other telecommunication equipment. These connectors terminated with fiber cable can be LC, SC, FC or ST, etc. Different connectors is used to plug into different device. If ports in the both ends devices are the same, we can use such as LC-LC, SC-SC, MPO-MPO patch cables etc. If you want to connect two different port types devices, for example a LC port type to a SC port type, in this case, you may need a LC-SC fiber patch cable to achieve device connection. The following image shows fiber patch cables with different connector types.

different patch cable terminated with different connectors

Single-mode or Multimode?

According to different core diameter, fiber patch cable can be classified into single-mode and multimode fiber patch cables (shown in picture below). Single-mode fiber patch cable uses small fiber core, about 9/125 microns, and it is often used for long distance data transmission. On the contrast, multimode fiber patch cord has a much larger fiber core—50/125 microns or 62.5/125 microns, and it is more suitable for short distance data transmission. Typically, a single-mode fiber patch cable can support distance up to 80 km at a rate of 10Gbps, while the maximum transmission distance of a multimode patch cable is 550 m at the rate of 10Gbps. The aqua one in multimode patch cable and the yellow one is single-mode patch cable.


Simplex or Duplex?

A simplex fiber patch cable consists of a single strand of glass fiber and is most often used where only a single transmitting or receiving line is required between devices or when a multiplex data signal is used as. For example it is used with BiDi fiber transceiver. A duplex fiber patch cable typically has two strands of fiber, which is often used for duplex communication between a separate transmitting and receiving are required. The following image shows different structure of simplex and duplex patch cords.

different structure of simplex and duplex patch cords


UPC and APC (shown below) are two commonly used ferrule polish types for connectors. UPC or ultra physical contact is an extended PC (physical contact) polish which results in a better surface finish. The rounded finish created during the polishing process allows fibers to touch on a high point near the fiber core where light travels. APC, also named as angled physical contact, is polished with an 8-degree angle that end-face brings the fibers tighter and reflects light at an angle into the cladding instead of reflecting it directly to the light source, which causes its optical return loss to be -60dB or higher, making it a better-performance connector than UPC, but it is more expensive than APC. Besides, when applications are sensitive to return loss than others, for example, FTTX (fiber to the x), passive optical network (PON), and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), APC connector will be more preferable than UPC connector. However, if you have limited cost budget and not ask for higher-quality system, UPC connector can be chosen.



The cable jacket is the first line of mechanical, moisture, flame and chemical defense for a cable. More specifically, the jacket provides protection for the shielding and conductors. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), LSZH (low-smoke,zero-halogen) and OFNP (optical fiber nonconductive plenum) as shown below are three common cable jackets. The following image shows different applications of these three cable jackets.



Fiber patch cable plays an essential role in telecommunication networks. Besides the aspects we have mentioned above that should be considered when choosing patch cables, we should also take the applications into consideration. For example, when the application environment is harsh, like sun or water exposure, and underground, an armored patch cable will be required. All in all, hope this article can help you choose the right patch cable.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar