General

The Cheater’s Guide to Choosing Fiber Optic Patch Cables

What are fiber optic patch cables?

Fiber patch cable is a cable terminated with optic connectors on both ends. It has two major application areas: computer work station to outlet and fiber optic patch panels or optical cross connect distribution center. fiber engineering

Common types

Fiber patch cables can be categorized to different groups based on optical fiber mode, fiber cable type, termination types, connector polishing styles and fiber cable sizes.

Optical Fiber Mode

1. Single mode

Single mode fiber patch cables use 9/125 micron bulk single mode cable and single mode connectors at both ends. Single mode fiber cable jacket color is usually yellow.

2. Multimode

Multimode fiber patch cables use 62.5/125 micron or 50/125 micron cable and are terminated with multimode optic connectors at both ends. The cable jacket is usually orange.

3. 10gig multimode fiber patch cables

10Gig multimode fibers are specially designed 50/125 micron fiber optimized for 850nm VCSEL laser based 10Gig Ethernet. They are backward compatible with existing network equipment and provide close to three times the bandwidth of traditional 62.5/125 multimode fibers. 10 Gigabit is rated for distances up to 300 meters using 850nm Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSEL). The cable jacket is usually aqua.

Fiber Cable Type

1. Simplex

Simplex fiber patch cable has one fiber and one connector on each end.

2. Duplex

Duplex fiber patch cable has two fibers and two connectors on each end. Each fiber is marked “A” or “B” or different colored connector boots are used to mark polarity.

3. Ribbon fan-out cable assembly

For ribbon fan-out cable assembly, one end is ribbon fiber with multi fibers and one ribbon fiber connector such as MTP connector (12 fibers), the other end is multi simplex fiber cables with connectors such as ST, SC, LC, etc.

Termination Types

1. Same connector types

This fiber patch cable has the same type of connector on both ends, such as ST, SC, LC, FC, etc.

2. Hybrid connector types

This fiber patch cable has different connectors on each end. One end can be SC and the other end can be LC, ST, FC, etc.

Connector Polishing Styles

Fiber optic connectors are designed and polished to different shapes to minimize back reflection. This is particularly important in single mode applications. Typical back reflection grades are -30dB, -40dB, -50dB and -60dB.

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