What is Fiber Optic Pigtail
Home Cabling What is Fiber Optic Pigtail

What is Fiber Optic Pigtail

Posted on by FS.COM

In fiber optic cable installation, the way the cables are attached to the system is vital to the success of the network. If done properly, the connection would allow optical signals to pass with low attenuation and little return loss. One of the proven ways to join optical fibers is with a fiber optic pigtail, which is used in ninety-nine percent of single-mode applications.

fiber optic pigtail

Fiber Optic Pigtail

What Is Fiber Optic Pigtail?

Unlike fiber optic patch cords composed of a fiber optic cable terminated with fiber connectors on both ends, fiber optic pigtail is a fiber optic cable terminated with fiber optic connectors at only one side of the cable, while leaving the other side no connectors, so that the connector side can be linked to the equipment and the other side can be melted with optical fiber cables. Fiber optic pigtails are utilized in terminating fiber optic cables via fusion or mechanical splicing. High quality pigtails combined with correct fusion splicing practices offer the best performance possible for fiber optic cable terminations. They are usually used with fiber optic management equipment like ODF, fiber terminal box and distribution box, etc.

Types of Fiber Optic Pigtails

Fiber optic pigtails are available in various types according to different criteria. For example, by connector type, there are LC fiber optic pigtail, SC fiber optic pigtail, etc. By fiber type, there are single-mode fiber optic pigtail and multimode fiber optic pigtail. By fiber count, 6 fibers, 12 fibers optic pigtails can be found in the market, etc. Here is a simple guide about different types of fiber optic pigtails.

Classified by Fiber Connectors

LC Fiber Optic Pigtail: LC connector features low cost and high precision 1.25mm outer diameter ceramic ferrules and highly favored for single-mode applications. LC fiber optic pigtails are suitable for high-density installations.

SC Fiber Optic Pigtail: SC connector is a non-optical disconnect connector with a 2.5mm pre-radiused zirconia or stainless alloy ferrule. It is light weight and economic to use in different applications such as CATV, LAN, WAN, test and measurement. SC fiber optic pigtails are also a commonly used pigtail type in cable installation.

FC Fiber Optic Pigtail: the pigtail uses the metallic body FC optic connectors. And FC features the screw type structure and high precision ceramic ferrules. FC fiber optic pigtails and its related products are widely applied for the general and average applications.

ST Fiber Optic Pigtail: ST fiber optic connector is the most popular connector for multimode fiber optic LAN applications. It has a long 2.5mm diameter ferrule made of ceramic (zirconia), stainless alloy or plastic. SC fiber optic pigtails are used in telecommunications, industry, medical and sensor fields.

Of course, except for the fiber optic pigtails mentioned above, there are other types of fiber optic pigtails such as MTRJ, MU, and E2000 fiber optic pigtails which also play a vital role in optical communication.

Classified by Application Environment

Generally, there are two commonly used fiber optic pigtails which perform well in harsh environment. One is armored pigtail, and the other is waterproof pigtail.

Armored Pigtail: during some fiber optic installations, there is a need to provide extra protection for the cable due to the installation environment. Enclosed with stainless steel tube or other strong steel inside the outer jacket, armored fiber optic pigtails could provide extra protection for the optical fiber and added reliability for the network and reduce the unnecessary damage due to rodents, construction work, weight of other cables and other factors.

Waterproof Pigtail: waterproof pigtail is designed with a stainless steel strengthened waterproof unit and armored outdoor PE (Poly Ethylene) jacket for further protection. With this special structure, it can be used in harsh environments like communication towers, military, etc. Waterproof pigtail has good toughness, tensile and reliable performance. It is mainly deployed in outdoor connection of the fiber optical transmitter.

Classified by Fiber Type

Just as fiber optic patch cords, fiber optic pigtails can also be designed in multimode and single-mode fiber. Multimode fiber optic pigtails use 62.5/125 micron or 50/125 micron bulk multimode fiber cable and terminated with multimode fiber optic connector at one end. General multimode fiber optic cable jacket color is usually orange. In addition, 10G multimode fiber cables (OM3 or OM4) are also available in fiber optic pigtails. The jacket color of 10G OM3 and OM4 fiber optic pigtail is usually aqua. Single-mode fiber optic pigtails use 9/125 micron single-mode fiber cable and terminated with single-mode fiber connectors at one end. And the cable jacket color is usually yellow.

Classified by Fiber Count

According to fiber counts, fiber optic pigtails can be divided into 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24 and 48 Strand fiber counts. In general, simplex is equal to 1 fiber while duplex is equal to 2 fibers. Simplex fiber optic pigtail has one fiber and one connector on its one end. Duplex fiber optic pigtail has two fibers and two connectors on its one end. Each fiber is marked “A” or “B” or different colored connector boots are used to mark polarity. Similarly, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, 48 and more than 48 fibers fiber optic pigtails have their corresponding feature.

multi-fiber fiber optic pigtail

Fiber Count of Fiber Optic Pigtail

Note: Fiber pigtails can have female or male connectors. Female connectors could be mounted in a patch panel, often in pairs although single-fiber solutions exist, to allow them to be connected to endpoints or other fiber runs with patch fibers. Alternatively they can have male connectors and plug directly into an optical transceiver.


Fiber optic pigtails are basically used to splice the fiber in the cable so that they can be connected to the patch panel or equipment. And using fiber optic pigtails can help lower labor costs. FS.COM offers various types of fiber optic pigtails including standard 900um buffered fiber optic pigtails, 6 fibers to 24 fibers color-coded fiber pigtails, armored pigtails and waterproof pigtails, etc. More details about our fiber optic pigtails, please visit www.fs.com.

Copyright © 2002-2018. All Rights Reserved.