Fiber patch cord, often called fiber patch cable, fiber jumper, or fiber patch lead, is a length of fiber cable that terminated with fiber optic connectors (LC, SC, MTRJ, ST and etc.) at each end. The connectors allow fiber optic patch cord to be rapidly connected to an optical switch or other telecommunications/computer device. Its thick layer of protection is used to connect the optical transmitter, receiver, and the terminal box. A plug at one end is called a fiber optic pigtail.
The difference between fiber optic patch cord and fiber pigtails are that patch cables have connectors on both ends, whereas pigtails have a connector on one end and bare fiber on the other. We can really use a patch cord as pigtails by cutting in the middle of the cable.
Types of fiber optic patch cord
Common Types of Fiber Patch Cords
According to different specifications and standards, the common fiber patch cords can be categorized in the following perspectives: fiber cable mode, transmission mode, jacket type, connector type, and polishing type.
- Fiber Cable Mode: Single Mode or Multimode
The mode of fiber patch cables is an indication of how light beams travel within the fiber. There are two fiber cable modes: single mode and multimode.
Single mode fiber patch cord only allows one mode of light to pass along its length with a very thin diameter of 8-10 microns, thus it can carry signals at much higher speeds with lower attenuation. Single mode fiber has two varieties: OS1 and OS2, which are different in construction and application. Generally speaking, OS1 and OS2 are both applicable for long-haul transmission but OS2 is more suitable for long-haul transmission by offering better performance with fewer losses.
Multimode fiber patch cord usually has bigger cores at 50 or 62.5 microns, which enables multiple light modes to be transmitted. It has five varieties supporting different transmission rates or distances: 62.5-micron OM1, 50-micron OM2, 50-micron OM3, 50-micron OM4, and 50-micron OM5. These can be classified by standard jacket colors. The distance which multimode fiber jumpers can reach is usually short because multiple light paths travel down the cable. Multimode fiber patch cords are the best-suited type for short-distance transmission within a building or campus.
- Number of Fiber Strands: Simplex or Duplex
Based on the number of fiber strands, there are two types of fiber patch cord: simplex and duplex. Simplex fiber patch cord contains one single strand of fiber and has one simplex connector on each end. It can be linked with a pair of transceiver modules featuring with one port, whereas duplex fiber patch cord consists of two strands of glass or plastic with one duplex connector (or considered as two simplex connectors). It is often linked with common transceivers or dual fiber transceivers.
- Connector Type: LC, SC, ST or Others
There are many connector types used in fiber patch cables such as LC, SC, ST, MTP or MPO. The different connector types are to plug into different interfaces, so you’d better affirm the interface type of the devices you are using the first time.
According to the criteria whether the connector on each side is the same, fiber patch cord can be divided into same-connector type and hybrid type. Fiber patch cords that have the same type of connector on both ends include LC to LC fiber patch cord, SC to SC fiber patch cord and etc., while hybrid fiber patch cord has different connectors on each end, like fiber patch cord LC to SC.
- Polishing Type: PC, UPC or APC
Fiber optic connectors are designed and polished to different shapes to minimize back reflection. According to this connector polish types, there are PC, UPC, and APC fiber patch cords. The PC polish type has been replaced by UPC type nowadays. Whether to choose UPC or APC depends on your actual application. Since APC provides less insertion loss than UPC, the APC fiber patch cables are more applicable for high bandwidth applications and long-distance links, such as FTTX, passive optical network (PON) and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), while UPC fiber patch cords apply to optical systems that are less sensitive to insertion loss such as digital TV and telephony.
How to evaluate the performance of fiber jumpers? What are the key parameters?
- Insertion loss;
- Return loss;
- Temperature stability
- Tensile performance
Why do we need fiber patch cord?
Fiber jumper products are widely used in: communication room, fiber to the home (FTTH), local area network (LAN), fiber sensor, fiber communication system, fiber connection transmission equipment, national defense and combat readiness, etc. They are also suitable for cable TV network, telecommunication network, computer optical fiber network and optical testing equipment.
From the introduction of the fiber patch cord types and their applications above, you may get some ideas on which type of fiber jumpers to be chosen. The parameters of common fiber patch cables such as fiber cable mode and connector types are the key elements that matter a lot. Fiber patch cord is widely used in our daily life, so let’s get started by picking a suitable fiber jumper!