How to Choose the Right Fiber Patch Cable
Fiber optic patch cable is a short interconnection optical cable with connectors on each end that works as a bridge throughout the data moving through fiber optic cable. Its thick layer of protection is used to connect the optical transmitter, receiver, and the terminal box. There is an ocean of fiber patch cables out there and the confusion about how to make the correct choice is prevalent. In this blog, we illustrate different aspects of fiber patch cable that need to be known prior to purchase of a fiber patch cable.
Transmission Medium—Multi-mode or Single-mode Fiber Cable?
There are two main types of fiber to choose from—multi-mode and single-mode. The fiber type is predominantly determined by the data rate of the system, transmission distance and cost. Multi-mode is typically recommended for applications involving shorter distance. If your application only requires transmitting a distance of 550 m or less, multi-mode fiber optic cables are recommended, which is a lower cost solution and is often preferred by designers. However, if you need to support longer distances and achieve unlimited bandwidth, single-mode fiber is the best solution. It is recommended for college campuses and metropolitan networks. The image below shows a multi-mode fiber patch cable (left) and a single-mode fiber patch cable (right).
Cable Type—Indoor Cable or Outdoor Cable
When wondering what types of fiber optic cable should be chosen, you should always take the environment into consideration. For example, if you need to install the fiber optic cable indoor, indoor cables are the ideal choice. These cables are also called tight buffered cable, where the glass fiber has a primary coating and secondary buffer coatings that enlarge each fiber to 900 micron—about 1 mm to make the fiber easier to work with. All these cables can be directly terminated. They are mainly used to connect outside plant cables to terminal equipment, and also for linking various devices in intra-building, risers, general building and plenum applications. The following gives you a vivid impression of loose tube cable and tight buffer cable.
Moisture resistance and temperature tolerance are the major factors when choosing materials for outdoor environment cables. At these time, you should choose outdoor cables. These cables are called loose tube cables. Loose tube structure isolates the fibers from the cable structure. This is a big advantage in handling thermal and other stresses encountered outdoors, which is why most loose tube fiber optic cables are built for outdoor applications.
Which Optical Fiber Should I Choose, 50 µm or 62.5 µm?
Although 62.5µm fiber was very popular only a few years ago, 50 µm quickly gained market share and is continuing to do so. 50µm fiber can have up to 20 times the bandwidth of 62.5 µm. 62.5µm multi-mode is referred to as OM1. 50µm fiber is referred to as OM2, OM3 and the recently added OM4. As you imagine, OM4 has greater bandwidth than OM3 and OM3 has greater bandwidth than OM2 and OM1.
OM3 fiber is designed to accommodate 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 300 meters, and OM4 can accommodate it up to 550 meters but OM1 and OM2 only support link lengths of up to 32 m, 82 m, respectively. Therefore, many users are now choosing OM3 and OM4 over the OM1 and OM2. Besides, if you require higher data rates or plan on upgrading your network in the near future, laser optimized 50 micron (OM3 or OM4) would be the logical choice.
The above information will guide readers through the choices that must be made in selecting fiber optic cable for high-reliability applications. Fiberstore offers a variety of fiber patch cables terminated with LC/SC/ST/FC/MTRJ/MU/SMA connectors on both ends, such as LC fiber cable, LC-LC patch cord, LC-SC fiber patch cable, SC to SC fiber patch cable, LC-ST patch cable, LC to ST patch cable, etc. These cables can also be customized in optional length.