Introduction to Fiber Optic Patch Cables in Gigabit Optical Communications

As the medium of transmission in telecommunications infrastructure, fiber optic patch cables have gradually replaced copper wires in many telecommunication applications for the transmission of high-speed voice, video, and data traffic in enterprise and service provider networks.

A fiber optic patch cable, often called fiber optic patch cord or fiber jumper cable, is a fiber optic cable made of glass and capped at either end with connectors. Depending on the type of application and the length to be achieved, various types of fiber may be considered and deployed. This paper introduces fiber optic patch cables from two different angles: cable transmission mode and connector construction.

Types of Fiber Optic Patch Cables

According to cable transmission mode, fiber optic patch cables can be classified into two types: single-mode fiber optic patch cable and multi-mode fiber optic patch cable.

  • Single-mode Fiber Optic Patch Cable

Single-mode fiber optic patch cable uses 9/125 micron bulk single-mode fiber (SMF) cable and single mode fiber optic connectors at both ends. Single mode fiber optic cable jacket color is usually yellow.

Single-mode Fiber Cable—SMF enjoys lower fiber attenuation than multi-mode fiber (MMF) cable and retains better fidelity of each light pulse, as it exhibits no dispersion caused by multiple modes. Thus, information can be transmitted over longer distances.

Single-mode Transceivers—Notice that fiber optic patch cables are used in combination with transceiver modules, and there is no exception to single-mode fiber optic patch cables. Listed below are several commonly-used single-mode transceivers: 1000BASE-LX, 1000BASE-ZX,10GBASE-LR,10GBASE-LX4, etc. Among these single-mode transceivers, take 1000BASE-LX SFP (small form-factor pluggable) transceiver for example, Cisco GLC-LH-SM is designed to work over a distance of up to 5 km over 10 μm SMF.

  • Multi-mode Fiber Optic Patch Cable

Multi-mode fiber optic patch cable uses 62.5/125 micron or 50/125 micron bulk multi-mode fiber cable and terminated with multi-mode fiber optic connectors at both ends. Multi-mode fiber optic cable jacket color is usually orange.

Multi-mode Fiber Cable—MMF, the first to be manufactured and commercialized, simply refers to the fact that numerous modes or light rays are carried simultaneously through the waveguide. This fiber type has a much larger core diameter, compared to SMF, allowing for the larger number of modes. What’s more, MMF is easier to couple than SMF.

Multi-mode Transceivers—Similarly, multi-mode fiber optic patch cables related multi-mode transceivers include 1000BASE-LX, 1000BASE-SX, 10GBASE-LX4, 10GBASE-SR, and so on.

Types of Fiber Optic Connectors

Fiber optic connectors terminate at the ends of fiber optic cables and serve as one component of fiber optic patch cords. The transmitter provides the information-bearing light to the fiber optic cable through a connector. The receiver gets the information-bearing light from the fiber optic cable through a connector. The connector must direct light and collect light. There are many different connector types. The following table shows several types of optical connectors and some specifications.


Fiber optic patch cables are used in two major application areas: computer work station to outlet and patch panels or optical cross connect distribution center. Fiberstore provides various types of fiber optic patch cables besides single-mode and multi-mode ones which are mentioned above, multi-core, armored patch cables, as well as fiber optic pigtails and other special patch cables also included. Additionally, related transceiver modules are also supplied, including 10GBASE-LX4, 1000BASE-LX (GLC-LH-SM discussed above), etc. You can visit Fiberstore for more information about fiber optic patch cables and related transceiver modules.


1 thought on “Introduction to Fiber Optic Patch Cables in Gigabit Optical Communications

  1. Fiber optics has always been fascinating. It is used in two major applications that are paramount. Computer work station to outlet and patch panels. Thank you for posting a little better understanding of this subject.

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