Fiber patch cable connectivity has quickly become the standard for high-speed connections in data center, which drives the need for higher-density network platforms. Knowledge of fiber patch cable types – or at least their basics – is now a requirement when working with modern data center networks.
Fiber optic patch cable (fiber optic patch cord, optical jumper) continues to increase in popularity. Because of its low-loss and high-bandwidth properties, fiber patch cable can be used over greater distances in data centers. Being lightweight and small-size also makes them ideal for applications in which running copper cables would be impractical. One of the real benefits is its immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI). Fiber is more secure as tapping into a fiber cable to read data signals can be far more difficult and costly.
Fiber Patch Cable: The Best of the Rest
The scale expansion of data center results in the increasing demand for fiber. Fiber patch cable is a great innovation in technology, and it will benefit the data center greatly because of its advantages in transmission speed and bandwidth. Let’s take an overview of fiber patch cables involved in data center – common fiber patch cable and special fiber patch cable.
Figure 1: Fiber and Copper Patch Cables in the Network
Common Fiber Patch Cables
There exists a dazzling array of fiber patch cables in data centers, and they are made with various options: for cable type, we have single-mode (OS1, OS2) and multimode patch cable (OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, OM5); for transmission mode, there are simplex and duplex patch cable; for jacket types, riser, plenum rated, PVC and LSZH are available; and according to polishing type, there are PC, UPC and APC polished fiber patch cable. The most common approach, however, is to distinguish by connector type, such as LC-LC patch cables, SC-SC patch cables and MTP patch cables.
Special Fiber Patch Cables
As bandwidth requirements increase, so does the need for innovation among fiber patch cable types. Keep up with this innovation, knowing the available options can often save significant time and money. Here are some other fiber patch cables designed to use under certain circumstances.
Mode Conditioning Patch Cable
Mode conditioning patch cable (MCP) is a duplex multimode patch cable that has a small length of single mode fiber at the start of the transmission length. It is designed to solve the technical issue involved in using single mode equipment on existing multimode cable plant. Which is ideal for network applications where Gigabit Ethernet hubs with laser based transmitters are deployed. Mode conditioning patch cable aims to drive the distance of installed fiber plant beyond its original intended applications. It allows customer to upgrade their hardware technology without improving fiber plant. In addition, mode conditioning patch cable significantly improves data signal quality as well.
Figure 2: Working Principle of Mode Conditioning Patch Cable
Low Insertion Loss Fiber Patch Cable
Low insertion loss fiber patch cable bears much similarities with common patch cable, if only judging by their appearance. However, the connectors at two ends of the fiber are made with relatively lower insertion loss. Thanks to advancement in connector technology and manufacturing techniques, FS.COM has succeeded in lowering the insertion loss to 0.3 dB for MTP connectors and to 0.2 dB for LC and SC connectors, far less than the industry standard of 0.75 dB. Which allows data center managers to deploy more connection points in fiber channels, enabling the use of distribution points or cross connects that significantly increase flexible configuration options.
Table 1: The chart indicates how many links can be deployed in 10 and 40 GbE channels over OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber using FS.COM low loss LC and MTP fiber patch cables.
NO. of LC Links (Standard Loss 0.5)
NO. of LC Links (Low Loss 0.2)
NO. of MTP Links (Standard Loss 0.6)
NO. of MTP Links (Low Loss 0.3)
10G OM3 @ 850nm
10G OM4 @ 850nm
40G OM3 @ 850nm
40G OM4 @ 850nm
Uniboot Fiber Patch Cable
Uniboot fiber optic patch cables combine the two individual LC connectors into a single entity. This design improvement allows for a much cleaner appearance and hassle-free networking configuration, due to their ability to ensure communication integrity by preventing misconfiguration of the transmission and receiving fibers. FS.COM 's LC Uniboot cable assemblies offer the best solution for high-density applications, data centers, interconnect and cross connector, private networks and premise installations.
The Road to Efficient Cable Management
Strong fiber cable management systems with well-defined cable routing paths and easy fiber access will enable providers to reap the full benefits of fiber and operate a highly profitable network – it will be easier and faster to accurately identify connections during troubleshooting or outages. Here are three basic rules for achieving efficient fiber cable management.
Figure 3: Good Patch Cable Management With FS.COM Patch Panel
1. Use appropriate patch cable management products
High capacity, durable and functional cable management products are recommended. They are used in the right place to accommodate easier routing and tracing of patch cables. There exists a variety of horizontal and vertical patch cable management products available. It’s important to consider in which way the patch cables will be routed, the capacity requirements (including possible growth), and estimated frequency of changing or adding connections.
2. Keep proper length patch cables on hand
Keep an inventory of various lengths of patch cables on hand. With the increased connection density demands in racks and cabinets, how and where to route the patch cables is a big challenge. Using wire management products does help, but we are usually talking about massive cables: using a 7- or 10-foot patch cord when a 4-foot patch cord will work creates problems. Do this multiple times and wire management products won’t be enough to handle the chaos.
3. Patching discipline
Cable managers must have the awareness to make neatness a priority and stick to it. It’s difficult for IT managers to think about neatness when troubleshooting or dealing with an outage. So aside from essential cable management products and an inventory of patch cords, a unified discipline for patching is the vital third rule that will keep your network room or data center looking good, and easier to maintain.
Will Fiber Ever Replace Copper Cable?
Debates concerning this question has been around for years. It is true that optical fiber does have some unsurpassed advantages over copper, such as faster speed, less attenuation, less impervious to electromagnetic interference (EMI), lighter weight and sturdier. Copper cable, however, still holds a dominate position in several key applications. The past few years have witnessed a growing trend of fiber in data center market, and the escalating bandwidth will further drive the need for more fiber. Thus optical fiber takes much higher percentage in data center than copper cable.
Figure 4: Copper vs. Fiber: Who Wins?
As for intelligent buildings, the percentage of fiber implementation is relatively higher in vertical backbone networks, while copper cabling still dominates the applications of voice transmission and in-building networks. And the prevalence of Power over Ethernet (PoE) application brings new opportunities to copper cable. As copper cable is capable of transmitting data as well as supplying electrical power, it is suited for horizontal network transmission and device end. So fiber may not completely replace copper cable, and there will be a long term co-existence and development of both.
Customize an Unique Fiber Patch Cable at FS.COM
In order to get an appropriate patch cable to satisfy some specific needs, it requires a basic understanding of fiber patch cable parameters, including fiber optic connectors polish types, fiber types, fiber count, fiber diameter, cable jacket materials and cable length. FS.COM offers a full range options for you.
Simplex (A single fiber), Duplex (2 fibers in a single cable, Zip Cord), Multi-cores cables (4 -288 fibers). Higher fiber counts are normally terminated as a MTP/MPO Trunk cables, using MTP/MPO connectors;
Any cable length option, Normally measured in Meters. Optional lengths, CM, mm, Inches, Foot, KM, Mile;
FS.COM Labels (Default), Generic Labels, Specific Labels as Request, No Labels; Packing: Each assembly is serialized for easy identification and sealed in individual Ziploc bags.
As computer power consolidates and software-defined networking (SDN) becomes more prevalent, optical fibers emerge as the standard for high-speed connections. Data center network administrators will find themselves working less often with copper-based connectivity. Thus a basic knowledge of fiber optic patch cable is the foundation to work with data center networks. And keep peace with the technology innovation in this field will save you a great amount of time and money.