Fiber Optic Patch Cables Tutorial
What is Fiber Optic Patch Cable? Fiber Optic Patch Cable is a fiber optic cable terminated with fiber optic connectors on both ends. It is used for linking the equipment and components in fiber optic network, also known as fiber optic jumper, fiber optic patch cord, fiber optic patch lead etc. There are many kinds of fiber optic patch cables with different types of connectors, such as LC, FC, SC, ST, MU, MTRJ and E2000 etc.
Types Of Fiber Optic Patch Cable There are various types of fiber optic patch cables and they can be classified mainly by the types of connectors and cables.
Fiber Optic Patch Cables with Different Connector Types Fiber optic patch cables can be classified by the types of fiber optic connector. For example, LC patch cable is named as it is with LC connectors. Similarly, there are SC, ST, FC, MT-RJ, E2000, MU and MPO/MTP etc. patch cables. What's more, there are PC, UPC, APC type fiber patch cords, which are differentiated from the polish types.
LC Patch Cable: LC patch cable is terminated with LC connectors. LC is the short form of Lucent Connector. LC connector is a push and latch structure, with plastic housing and accurate 1.25mm ceramic ferrule. LC type is a popular kind of small form fiber optic patch cable which reduce the space and it is widely used for densely installation. The LC patch cables use a 1.25 mm ferrule, half the size of the ST patch cable. It has good performance and is highly favored for single mode patch cord. LC patch cables comply with IEC, Telcordia, ANSI/EIA/TIA .The connector of LC patch cable is used on 1.6mm/2.0mm as well as 3.0mm cable. There are LC/PC (for multimode), LC/UPC and LC/APC (for single mode) patch cables. An example of LC-LC Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
SC Patch Cable: SC patch cable is terminated with SC connector. The SC connector was invented by the Japanese company NTT. SC stands for Subscriber Connector or Square Connector or Standard Connector. It is extremely common in datacom and telecom fiber optic market. It has a push and pull type and can be used for 1000 mating cycles. SC patch cable is with a locking tab on the cable termination and provides for accurate alignment through their ceramic ferrules. It has an advantage in keyed duplexibility to support sending and receiving channels. SC patch cable features low cost, simplicity as well as good durability. It is the most cheapest type, convenient to use and cost saving. SC patch cable is widely used in fiber optic networks and can be with zirconia sleeve and plastic housing. An example of SC-SC Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
ST Patch Cable: ST fiber optic patch cable is terminated with ST connector. ST stands for Straight-Tip and features a Bayonet twist locking mechanism. ST connector has 2.5mm diameter ferrule as in SC connector. It was developed by AT&T and was very popular in the 1980s and 1990s. ST connector has bayonet-style housing and a long spring-loaded ferrule hold the fiber. It is available in both multimode and single mode versions. Horizontally mounted simplex and duplex adapters are available with metal or plastic housing, with a choice of phosphor bronze or zirconia split sleeve. Although there are plastic housing ST connectors, more and more people tend to use metal housing ST. ST fiber optic patch cable has straight tip type terminations and is easy to insert and remove. If you experience high light loss, try to reconnect it. It is rated for 500 mating cycles. ST fiber optic patch cable is one of the older generations, but it is still widely used for multimode networks, including LANs for buildings and campuses.ST-ST Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
FC Patch Cable: FC fiber optic patch cable is terminated with FC connector, a screw type connection. FC stands for Fixed Connector. Same as SC connector, FC is also invented by NTT. FC is with metal housing, screw structure. FC connector ferrule and sleeves used in FC adaptor are both same as SC ones. FC patch cable is available in both single mode and multimode versions. It is applied in high-vibration environment and can screw on firmly, but you need to have the key aligned in the slot properly before you tighten it. FC-FC Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
MTRJ Patch Cable: MTRJ patch cable is terminated with MT-RJ connector. MT-RJ stands for Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack. MTRJ connector is developed from MT and RJ connectors. It is with plastic housing and plastic ferrule and features two-fiber connection, that is to say, two fiberglass connection within one MTRJ fiber optic connector. MTRJ connectors use molded MT ferrules originated by NTT. Each MTRJ connector houses two fibers (duplex) and the footprint resembles copper RJ45 Ethernet connector. It is half the size of a SC connector and contributes to the price drop per fiber port on fiber-to-the-desktop solutions. MTRJ connectors come in male (with two metal pins) and female (no pins). MTRJ patch cable has female type and male type. The difference between them is that the male type is with two pins on each of the MTRJ connector. The MTRJ patch cable is commonly used for networking applications. Its size is slightly smaller than a standard phone jack and is easy to operate. MTRJ-MTRJ Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
E2000 Patch Cable: E2000 patch cable is terminated with E2000 connector. E2000 connector has a spring-loaded shutter used to protect the ferrule from dust and scratches. It features a spring-loaded shutter which fully protects the ferrule from dust and scratches. The shutter closes automatically when the connector is disengaged, locking out impurities which could later lead to network failure, and locking in potentially harmful laser beams. When it is plugged into the adapter the shutter opens automatically. With similar structure of SC connector, E2000 connector is smaller. E2000 patch cable is one of the latest style yet one of the most expensive fiber patch cables. E2000-E2000 Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
MU Patch Cable: MU patch cable is terminated with MU connector. MU connector is also the invention of NTT. It is with plastic housing and a push pull structure. MU connector is also a small form-factor connector which features a 1.25mm diameter ferrule as in LC connector. MU connector has the same push-pull locking mechanism as SC connector. MU fiber optic connector is similar size of LC and sometimes named small-SC. MU connectors are used in advanced optical transmission, exchange, and subscriber systems or high speed data application. MU patch cable is developed to replace SC in the future. MU-MU Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
MPO/MTP Patch Cable: MPO patch cable is terminated with MPO connector. The MPO is an high-density multi-fiber connector built around precision molded MT ferrule. It is a push-pull connector compliant IEC 61754-7 and TIA/EIA 604-5A and offers low cost per termination for high density applications. It is usually used in ribbon fiber optic patch cables or ribbon fan out multi fiber assemblies. MPO has multi fiberglass core inside each single connector, that is to say, there are several fiberglass connections in each single MPO patch cable, for example, 12 fiber, 24 fiber, 36 fiber, etc. MTP is upgrade version of MPO. MTP patch cable allows high-density connections between network equipment in telecommunication rooms. It uses a push-pull latching mechanism for easy and intuitive insertion and removal. MTP-MTP Patch Cable is shown in the picture above.
Fiber Optic Patch Cables with Different Cable Types Fiber optic patch cables can be classfied by different parameters of fiber optic cables:
- According to the materials of cable, there are PVC, Riser, Plenum, OFNR, OFNP, LSZH etc. patch cables.
- According to the cores of optical fiber, there are simplex and duplex patch cables. Simplex fiber patch cable consists of a single fiber, while duplex fiber patch cable consists of two fibers.
- According to the modes of optical fiber, there are single mode and multimode patch cables. Generally, single mode patch cables are yellow with 9/125µm fiberglass, while multimode patch cables are orange with OM1 62.5/125µm or OM2 50/125µm fiberglass. In addition, multimode patch cables also include OM3 and OM4 types.
Moreover, there are Multi-Core Patch Cables and other special fiber patch cables such as VF-45 Patch Cables, Fiber Loopback Cables, Plastic Optical Fiber Patch Cables, FTTH Patch Cables, Polarization Maintaining Patch Cables and Mode Conditioning Patch Cables.
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