How to Choose Fiber Patch Cables

Given the complexity of various types of fiber patch cables, you may find it difficult to pick up the best suitable one. We think it is better to introduce the necessary steps for choosing fiber patch cords. Maybe it is helpful to someone.

Step 1: Select Your Favorite Connector Type

Nowadays, the most popular fiber connector types consist of LC, SC, ST, FC, MTP/MPO, E2000, and MT-RJ connectors.

For a brush up on the fiber connectors, have a read at:

These common types of connectors could be divided into two kinds in terms of function. The LC and SC are preferable when you don’t need the ribbon fiber connector MPO/MTP, i.e., you only need to terminate individual fiber to discrete connectors. Otherwise, the MPO/MTP is the most appropriate one.

various types of fiber patch cables
various types of fiber patch cables

Step 2: Pick the Right Cable Mode: Single-mode or Multimode Type?

Single-mode means the fiber core is so small, typically its diameter measuring 9µm, that it can only allow a single type of light mode to pass through at a time; therefore, it can transmit data over long reach without losing much the signal quality.

Multimode means the fiber core is large enough; usually, the diameter gauging 50µm or 62.5µm that could enable multi types of light modes. As a result of the modal dispersion effect, it has higher attenuation than single-mode and only applies to shorter reach, but due to its large core size, it could support a higher data rate.

So, consider your installation distance; take the single-mode if longer than 550m. Otherwise, multimode is more cost-effective.

Figure 2: Single-mode vs Multimode
Figure 2: Single-mode vs. Multimode

Step 3: Simplex or Duplex?

Simplex means only one strand of fiber, while duplex means there are two strands of fiber.

Simplex is widely used when a one-way channel, either transmitting data or receiving data, is needed between devices or when a two-way communication over a single fiber.

Similarly, duplex is often used when bi-directional communication and separate transmit and receive are indispensable demands.

Figure 3: Simplex vs Duplex
Figure 3: Simplex vs. Duplex

Step 4: Polish Type: UPC or APC?

UPC stands for Ultra Physical Contact; its return loss generally is at least fewer than -50dB. Angled Physical Contact, aka APC, typically has a minimum of -60dB return loss, yet it’s more expensive than UPC.

You need to know that when your applications are more sensitive to return loss, you should choose APC; otherwise, UPC is also a good choice; after all, it’s cheaper plus equivalent performance.

Figure 4: Polish type: Flat vs PC vs UPC vs APC
Figure 4: Polish type: Flat vs. PC vs. UPC vs. APC

Step 5: Which Plating Material: PVC or LSZH, or OFNP?

PVC is the acronym for polyvinyl chloride, and it’s resistant to oxidation and degradation, used for horizontal runs between the tables or vertical runs within a contained ventilation building.

LSZH stands for Low Smoke Zero Halogen, generating little smoke and no halogen, suitable for horizontal structural cabling areas.

OFNP refers to Optical Fiber Nonconductive Riser, having the highest fire rating, designed for vertical runs between floors in data centers.

Figure 5: LSZH vs. PVC
Figure 5: LSZH vs. PVC

Here we recommend this excellent youtube video showing the comparison between LSZH and PVC.

Step 6: Choose the Right Jacket Diameter

There are different types of jacket diameters, including Ø3, Ø2, Ø1.6, and Ø0.9 mm. The thinner jackets spare more space than the thicker ones, while the thicker jackets are more rugged than the former ones.

Figure 6: fiber cable construction
Figure 6: fiber cable construction

Step 7: Select the Appropriate Cable Length

Usually, the fiber patch cables are often stocked in 1-, 2-, 3-, 5-, and 10-meter lengths, but other lengths are often available by request.

With these steps in mind, I bet you will choose the most appropriate type of fiber patch cable.

Related Article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.