Considerations About Fiber Patch Cord Purchasing

Tough were those old days in the field of data communications when users had to take coppers wires as the medium to transmit data and many were looking to save money as much as they can in cabling installations and upgrades. But owing to the rapid advances of fiber optic technology over the years, fiber optic patch cords have been heavily deployed to deliver more bandwidth for significantly longer distance transmission, with very little signal loss during transmission.

Fiber optic patch cord, also called fiber optic patch cable, fiber patch cord, or fiber optic jumper, is short interconnection fiber optic cable with connector on each end. Installers often use patch cords to link the equipment and components in the fiber optic network, eg. to connect the fiber optic converter and termination box. The commonly used fiber optic jumper types include SC patch cord, ST patch cord, LC patch cord, as well as MPO cable according to different connector types. Since patch cords come in many types, do you feel at a loss while purchasing them? What’s your consideration? This article lists several parameters that need to be considered when buy patch cords.

Connector Type & Its Performance

Certainly, price comes as the most direct factor for notice, the connector type and performance seem to be more important when choosing fiber jumpers.

Various standard connectors are provided by some manufacturers, including ST, SC, MPO, LC, etc (shown below), enabling installers to choose the most suitable connector type to fit the job. Patch cord connectors should be visually inspected and optically tested. There are fundamental parameters that affect the connector performance: low insertion loss and low reflectance. Insertion loss (IL) must be in accordance with the Electronic Industries Association/Telecommunications Industry Association standard 568. Reflectance, also known as optical return loss, is the amount of light that is reflected back up the fiber toward the source by light reflections off the interface of the polished end surface of the mated connectors and air. Minimizing the reflectance is necessary to get maximum performance out of high bit rate laser systems. Good connectors with proper polish are greatly needed. Properly made fusion splices will have no refelctance; a reflectance peak indicates incomplete fusion or inclusion of an air bubble or other impurity in the splice.

various connector types

Cable Size & Its Type

Besides connector type and performance, what else should be considered? Certainly, the fiber size and type need to be specified.

Fiber optic cable is available in two versions: single-mode fiber (SMF) and multi-mode fiber (MMF) based on “mode”. The usually in yellow, is designed with a core diameter between 8 and 10.5µm. There are two sub groups (referred to as OS1 and OS2) but most cable is “dual rated” to cover both classifications. In contrast, the latter, usually in orange, has a larger core size, typically 62.5µm or 50µm. With the 50µm diameter MMF, there are three different grades (referred to as OM2, OM3, and OM4). The cable types used in the patch cord should match that of the network cabling to which they are attached via the patch panel.

single-mode vs. multi-mode fiber

Fiber patch cable assemblies can also be simplex or duplex. Simplex patch cord is typically one 3-millimeter cord that goes from point to point. It has a single strand of fiber allowing for signal flow in one direction only. Duplex patch cord has two fibers molded together with a zip cord so you can separate them. Multi-fiber or high-fiber-count optical harnesses assemblies have also been brought to the market.

simplex vs. duplex patch cable

Other Parameters

Other parameters that attract installers’ attention are the price and installation. For instance, the possible length is 1m from one port to another port. And when the patch panels are in a couple of racks or if a full rack is allocated to a set of patching, the length could be 2 meters. However, if it`s a piece of electronics over to a patch panel over to a big switch room, that could be 10 meters.

Installation is of great importance, because the whole fiber optic system performance can be affected by dirty connectors on patch cords. The best principle is that any time a connector is unplugged or remated, it should be cleaned carefully so as to avoid dirt, oil, or something else that would degrade the network performance.


Fiber patch cords can be used to provide interconnection between the optical transmission equipment and the patch panel, able to connect one port on a patch panel to another port. As a professional fiber optic product manufacturer, Fiberstore supplies all kinds of patch cords, such as SC patch cord, ST patch cord, LC patch cord, MPO cable, simplex/duplex patch cable, and so on. Want such patch cords for installation, welcome to visit Fiberstore.

Author: Angel

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