How To Choose The Right Fiber Patch Cable ?

There are many different types of fiber optic cable. Fiber-Mart stocks hundreds of varieties and we can custom build thousands of other types. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming to people that don’t work with fiber optic cable regularly. So here are some common questions. 

There are many different types of fiber optic cable. Fiber-Mart stocks hundreds of varieties and we can custom build thousands of other types. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming to people that don’t work with fiber optic cable regularly. So here are some common questions.

Do you need singlemode 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 micron or 50 micron) 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 micron and 62.5 micron are multi-mode and are orange. It’s also confusing because 50 micron cable can also be 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 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, 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. 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 a 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 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). Different connector is used to plug into different device. If ports in the 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 use in short distance transmission. Typical single-mode fiber optic patch cord used yellow fiber cable and multi mode 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, 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 there features in 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. Fiber-Mart provides all kinds of fiber optic patch cables to meet demands of various customers!Any questions feel free contact us:

Basic Knowledge of Fiber Connector

Remateable connections are made possible by Fiber Connectors.  Fiber Connectors are therefore generally used where flexibility is needed at termination points when an optical signal is routed. Examples would include connections from receivers to equipment pigtails, or normal termination, or when re-configuring systems. Remateable connections make it easy to meet changing customer requirements by simplifying system reconfigurations.

Remateable connections are made possible by Fiber Connectors.  Fiber Connectors are therefore generally used where flexibility is needed at termination points when an optical signal is routed. Examples would include connections from receivers to equipment pigtails, or normal termination, or when re-configuring systems. Remateable connections make it easy to meet changing customer requirements by simplifying system reconfigurations.


Optical fiber connectors are used to join optical fibers where a connect/disconnect capability is required. Due to the polishing and tuning procedures that may be incorporated into optical connector manufacturing, connectors are often assembled onto optical fiber in a supplier’s manufacturing facility. However, the assembly and polishing operations involved can be performed in the field, for example, to terminate long runs at a patch panel.

Optical fiber connectors are used in telephone exchanges, for customer premises wiring, and in outside plant applications to connect equipment and cables, or to cross-connect cables.


Most optical fiber connectors are spring-loaded, so the fiber faces are pressed together when the connectors are mated. The resulting glass-to-glass or plastic-to-plastic contact eliminates signal losses that would be caused by an air gap between the joined fibers.

Performance of optical fiber connectors can be quantified by insertion loss and return loss. Measurements of these parameters are now defined in IEC standard 61753-1. The standard gives five grades for insertion loss from A (best) to D (worst), and M for multimode. The other parameter is return loss, with grades from 1 (best) to 5 (worst).

A variety of optical fiber connectors are available, but SC and LC connectors are the most common types of connectors on the market. Typical connectors are rated for 500–1,000 mating cycles.The main differences among types of connectors are dimensions and methods of mechanical coupling. Generally, organizations will standardize on one kind of connector, depending on what equipment they commonly use.

In many data center applications, small (e.g., LC) and multi-fiber (e.g., MTP/MPO) connectors have replaced larger, older styles (e.g., SC), allowing more fiber ports per unit of rack space and higher data rate application such as 100 Gigabit Ethernet.

Features of good connector design:

  • Low insertion loss
  • High return loss (low amounts of reflection at the interface)
  • Ease of installation
  • Low cost
  • Reliability
  • Low environmental sensitivity
  • Ease of use

Outside plant applications may require connectors be located underground, or on outdoor walls or utility poles. In such settings, protective enclosures are often used, and fall into two broad categories: hermetic (sealed) and free-breathing. Hermetic cases prevent entry of moisture and air but, lacking ventilation, can become hot if exposed to sunlight or other sources of heat. Free-breathing enclosures, on the other hand, allow ventilation, but can also admit moisture, insects and airborne contaminants. Selection of the correct housing depends on the cable and connector type, the location, and environmental factors. Careful assembly is required to ensure good protection against the elements.

Depending on user requirements, housings for outside plant applications may be tested by the manufacturer under various environmental simulations, which could include physical shock and vibration, water spray, water immersion, dust, etc. to ensure the integrity of optical fiber connections and housing seals.

what’s the difference of Fiber Connectors?

Given the variety of splice options available to fiber network planners today identifying the best connector for FTTH can be overwhelming. Consequently often not much thought is given to connector selection with choice driven by cost, availability or what’s been used before. However each connector has its own unique design and therefore, pros and cons. Over time or depending on project size this can have a dramatic impact on deployment speeds and costs.


So what are the differences and what do they mean to your implementation? This table of common connectors gives an overview of strengths and weaknesses, with more detail in the accompanying descriptions:

1.Standard Connector (SC)

Simple, rugged and low cost, SC connectors use a ceramic ferrule to deliver accurate alignment of the SMF. The SC connector comes with a locking tab that enables push on / pull off operation.

At the time of writing the most popular choice for such equipment like Fiber Multiplexers, GPON and EPON ONU’s, Fiber Media Converters and more.

Figure 3: SC connector

2.Ferrule Core Connector (FC)

Although the FC connector was widely used in fiber optic networks until of late, its use is dwindling fast. This connector uses a threaded container and a position locatable notch to achieve exact locating of the SMF in relation to the receiver and the optical source. Once the connector is installed, its position is maintained with total precision.

FC connector is pretty common choice for example in Video over Fiber Transmission Equipment.


Figure 4:  FC connector

3.Lucent Connector (LC)

The Lucent Connector, sometimes referred to as the Little Connector, is a small form factor FOC that uses a 1.25 mm ferrule. There are 3 different types of LC connectors:

  • Single Mode LC APC
  • Single Mode LC UPC
  • Multi-Mode LC UPC

If you had used any SFP module, you have sure seen this connector.


Figure 5:  LC connector

LC connector is always present on SFP’s, and if some equipment uses SFP as transmitter, like for example our USB over fiber transmitters, then you can recognize it easily.

4. ST Connector


The ST connector’s keyed bayonet design is similar to that of a BNC (Bayonet Nut Connector or Bayonet Neill-Concelman) connector. The connector is used widely for MMF and SMF FOC and is extremely easy to use. The ST connector is manufactured in two versions – the ST and the ST-II. Both types are keyed and spring loaded, and use a “push-in and twist” mechanism.


Figure 6:  ST connector

In some cases, if Multimode type cable is required, some of our customers order RCA audio over fiber converter, with ST connectors:

5. MTP/MPO connector


The MT ferrule connector is another of NTT’s inventions and has been around since the 1980s, although the technology has only recently become popular under branded versions of the Multiple Fiber Push-On/Pull-Off connector, such as MTP and MPO. It is larger than the other connectors but for good reason – it can support up to 24 fibers in a single ferrule.

Multi-fiber connectors are not currently designed for field-fit applications so must be lab terminated. In high density patch environments such as datacenters they are used extensively, both at single mode and multi-mode wavelengths. On a ‘per-fiber’ basis the costs are relatively inexpensive. However as might be expected, the attenuation loss can be higher than a single ceramic ferrule connector. That being said, it is possible to order ‘low loss’ MTP/MPO connectors which have comparable insertion loss performances. These are more costly however.

Network planners should also consider that whilst still using a uniter/adaptor much like other connectors, the MTP/MPO must also be mated to an opposing male or female connector. This may require more than one connector specification or type within inventory, adding to cost and complexity.

Because the sequence of the fibers cannot physically be changed after termination, the connector is often supplied with a fan-out assembly at the opposing end (such as LC, SC FC etc.). This allows the operator to change channels simply by re-patching the fanned-out side of the cable. The consequence of this is that the small form high density design of the MTP/MPO will only benefit one side of the assembly.

Fiber-Mart can supply many kinds fiber connectors. If you have any questions or requirement of fiber connectors,welcome to contact us:

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