How To Choose The Right Fiber Patch Cable ?

Do you need single mode or multimode fiber optic cable?

If you already have a cable and you need more of it, you can usually tell the type of cable by the color of it. Single-mode cable is typically yellow.  Multi-mode cable (either 62.5 microns or 50 microns) is usually orange. And 10GB multi-mode cable is usually aqua. If you don’t know the color, you have to find some sort of documentation that describes the type of cable you need. Below are some terms and the type of cable they are usually associated with.

·OS1, OS2, 9 micron, 9µm, 9/125 = Singlemode

·OM1, 62.5 micron, 62.5µm, 62.5/125 = Multi-mode 62.5

·OM2, 50 micron, 50µ, 50/125 = Multi-mode 50

·OM3, 10GB, 10gig, 50 micron, 50µm, 50/125 = 10GB Multi-mode

As you can see, it can be a bit confusing since both 50 microns and 62.5 microns are multi-mode and are orange. It’s also confusing because 50-micron cable can also be the 10GB aqua cable. In cases where it isn’t clear, you may have to find documentation for the hardware you are using to figure out what you really need. The different cables all have strengths and weaknesses.  Single-mode cable is frequently used for very long distance cable runs. It’s not unusual to use a 20KM piece of single-mode cable. But, the hardware to support single-mode cable is traditionally more expensive.

Multi-mode fiber doesn’t work over such long distances, but the hardware for it is traditionally less expensive. Multi-mode 62.5 and multi-mode 50 are commonly used with LED-based communications hardware. 10GB multi-mode, which is also 50 micron, is faster than the other types of multi-mode, mainly because its been designed to work with faster, laser-based communications hardware.

What is Return Loss?

When light hits the end of a fiber optic cable, a portion of it can bounce back towards the source. This is known as Back Reflection and it can cause a few different problems. Return Loss is the term for how much the end of a cable cuts down on Back Reflection. You want as much Return Loss as possible.

What is Insertion Loss?

When light travels out of the port on your hardware into the fiber optic cable, some of it is lost in the transition. The amount that is lost is referred to as Insertion Loss. You want as little Insertion Loss as possible

Do you need UPC?

Most of our customers are simply looking to minimize Insertion Loss and maximize Return Loss. This means they want as much light as possible to pass through the fiber to its destination and as little light as possible to bounce back to its source. For most applications, UPC will provide this for you. However, in some circumstances, you need more Return Loss than UPC can offer. That is when you use APC. If you have green connectors on your fiber or devices, you may need APC.

Do you need APC?

APC is designed specifically to maximize return loss. APC ends are actually polished to have an ~8° angle on the end of the fiber. An APC end will almost always have a green connector to make it clear that the fiber is APC. The part that is actually polished to an angle is so small that you won’t be able to tell it is angled from looking at it.

If you mix APC and UPC, the result can be tremendous insertion loss (meaning a lot of light will be lost at the point where you connect the APC to the UPC). So, if you have a port on your device that specifies it needs APC, you will need to use a cable with an APC end on it. If you have a cable with a green connector and you want to attach an adapter cable to the end, you will need to make sure an APC end connects to it.

Do you need simplex, duplex, or more?

Simplex cable has a single fiber optic cable and usually one connector on each end. Fiber optic communication equipment typically sends data in one direction on a cable. So, for bi-directional communication, hardware typically uses duplex cable.

Duplex cable has two fiber optic cables and it usually has two connectors on each end. LC and SC connectors can be joined together with a clip that spaces them the correct distance apart to plug both connectors into equipment at the same time. If there is equipment that requires the ends be plugged in closer or farther apart, you can simply remove the clips.

You can also get the cable that has many more strands of fiber in it.

What jacket do you need?

Our duplex cable typically comes in a basic zip-cord style where the two fibers are in their own jackets and those two jackets are seamed together. You can also get round jacket cable where multiple cables are run inside a single round jacket, often with reinforcers running through it.

If you are going to be running the cable outdoors or in a conduit where it may be exposed to moisture you will need an Outdoor rated cable.

If the cable is going to be abused in any way, including running along the ground where it might be stepped on or used in a way where it’ll be unwound and wound back up repeatedly, the armored cable may be required.

If you want a cable that can be run over by a tank, just mention it, we have something that can handle tanks.

If the cable is in a plenum space, you may need a cable that is plenum rated. The plenum is an air space above multiple rooms. For instance, in office buildings, it’s not unusual for the walls of rooms to only go up as high as the drop ceiling. If you pop your head above the ceiling, you’ll see across many walls and see the ceilings of many rooms. That area is a plenum area where multiple rooms share a common overhead air space. The rules for using plenum vary based on local building codes.

How much do you need?

This is a pretty simple question, but if you need a cable fast, it can be very helpful to know the effect that length has on fiber optic cable.  10GB Multi-mode cable will do up to 10GB/s up to 330M. But, if you need a 20M 50-micron cable that can do 10GB/s then you can often use Multi-mode 50 cable available instead. Here’s a quick chart to show bandwidth vs speed:

Fiber optic patch cord is available in OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 multimode and OS2 single-mode types. Both ends of the cable are terminated with a high-performance hybrid or single type connector comprising of an SC, ST, FC, LC, MTRJ, E2000 connector in simplex and duplex. These are typically not ruggedized, depending on the application, making them suitable for internal use. How to choose the right patch cables for your network?

Just follow these 6 steps:

Step 1: Choose the Right Connector Type (LC/SC/ST/FC/MPO/MTP)

On both ends of the fiber optic patch cord are terminated with a fiber optic connector (LC/SC/ST/FC/MPO/MTP). A different connector is used to plug into the different device. If ports in both ends devices are the same, we can use such as LC-LC/SC-SC/MPO-MPO patch cables. If you want to connect different ports type devices, LC-SC/LC-ST/LC-FC patch cables may suit you.

Step 2: Choose Single-mode or Multimode Cable Type?

Single-mode fiber patch cord uses 9/125um glass fiber, Multimode fiber patch cord uses 50/125um or 62.5/125um glass fiber. Single-mode fiber optic patch cord is used in long-distance data transmission. multimode fiber optic patch cord is used in short distance transmission. Typical single-mode fiber optic patch cord used yellow fiber cable and multimode fiber optic patch cord used orange or aqua fiber cable.

Step 3: Choose Simplex or Duplex Cable Type?

Simplex means this fiber patch cable is with one cord, at each end is only one fiber connector, which is used for Bidirectional (BIDI) fiber optic transceivers. Duplex can be regarded as two fiber patch cable put side by side, which is used for common transceivers.

Step 4: Choose the Right Cable Length (1m/5m/10m/20m/30m/50m)

Fiber optic patch cables are made in different lengths, usually from 0.5m to 50m. You should choose an appropriate cable length according to the distance between the devices you want to connect.

Step 5: Choose the Right Connector Polish Type (UPC/APC)

Since the loss of the APC connector is lower than UPC connectors, usually, the optical performance of APC connectors is better than UPC connectors. In the current market, the APC connectors are widely used in applications such as FTTx, a passive optical network (PON) and wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) that are more sensitive to return loss. But APC connector is usually expensive than UPC connector, so you should weigh the pros and cons. With those applications that call for high precision optical fiber signaling, APC should be the first consideration, but less sensitive digital systems will perform equally well using UPC. Usually, connector color of APC patch cable is green, and of UPC patch cable is blue.

Step6: Choose the Right Cable Jacket Type (PVC/LSZH/OFNP/Armored)

Usually, there are three cable jacket types: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) and Optical Fiber Nonconductive Plenum (OFNP). You can see their features in the figure below and choose the right one for your network.

Besides the three cables mentioned above, there is another common cable—Armored Cable. The double tubing and steel sleeve construction make these patch cables completely light tight, even when bent. These cables can withstand high crushing pressures, making them suitable for running along floors and other areas where they may be stepped on. The tubing also provides excellent cutting resistance, abrasion resistance, and high tensile strength.

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