Pre-Terminated Cabling vs. Field-Terminated Cabling

In the field of fiber optic cabling, termination refers to the addition of fiber optic connectors to each fiber. While technicians have come up with several ways to terminate fiber optic cables, there are two major methods for termination—field terminated and pre-terminated. Learning the differences between the two—and their strengths and weaknesses—can help you decide which is a better fit for your deployment.


Pros and Cons of Pre-terminated Cabling & Field-terminated Cabling

Advantages of Field Terminated Cabling
  • Exact Length and Slack Storage Not Required: Because backbone cable is cut to length before adding connectors, it is not necessary to predetermined lengths, which can cut down on lead times.
  • Easy Cable Pulling: When using field terminated fiber optic cable, bulk cable can be easily pulled from either end of the circuit.
  • Maximum Flexibility in Meeting System Requirements: You can just pull the fiber cables and terminate them later, so that you can do on-the-spot repairs wherever there’s a defective fiber link.
Disadvantages of Field Terminated Cabling
  • Highest Labor Cost and Slowest Installation: Fiber optic cable with field termination method is high cost. There are many steps and tools needed to properly terminate the fibers. In addition to having the appropriate “bag of goods” to perform this procedure, it is also necessary for the technician to have proper training and skills. Besides, it takes longer to install field connectors, requiring additional time for installation.
  • Termination Quality Issues: The yield of acceptable connections is directly related to the skill level and experience of the technician, and reliability is jeopardized as field terminated connectors can fail or perform below acceptable signal loss tolerances. This will result in the cost of redoing work that has failed, as well as the cost of additional connectors.
Advantages of Pre-terminated Cabling
  • Superior Performance: The controlled factory processes with pre-terminated results in superior performance. Consistently, high quality connector end face geometry results in lower insertion loss and better end-to-end attenuation in the system.
  • Time & Cost Saving: Because cables arrive ready for immediate installation, there is no cable termination preparation, no connector scrap, no cumbersome tool kits or testers needed and no specialized testers. Customers have reported that pre-terminated fiber optic cables cut the costs at an average of 20% to 30%, mainly due to time and labor saving over field terminated practices.
  • Labor Saving: The use of pre-terminated cabling system simplifies the entire manpower planning process. As all the connections are pre-terminated, the need for labor to make terminations on site will be mitigated. And fewer labor means more savings on the labor bill.
  • Reducing Space and Material Wasting: with pre-terminated cabling solutions, the wastage of space can be reduced, since the pre-terminated links are “made to measure” and if they are delivered to site at appropriate time, they can be used immediately without being stored. Additionally, some manufacturers have developed recyclable reels for pre-terminated links in the effort to minimize the material wastage.
Disadvantages of Pre-terminated Cabling
  • Pre-terminated cabling is that the prepolished connectorized fibers can cost much more than epoxy-style field-polish connectors. And the cable length needs to be precisely measured.
Choices for Pre-Terminated Cabling Assemblies
Fiber Patch Cable

Divided by different connector type, core diameter and fiber cable structure, there are a wide range of fiber patch cables, such as LC fiber cables, single-mode patch cables and duplex patch cables and so on.

MTP/MPO Pre-Terminated Cable

Pre-terminated fiber cables, especially those with MTP/MPO interfaces, are very popular in 40G and 100G applications which require high density cabling. The most commonly used pre-terminated fiber cables for high density cabling applications include MTP/MPO trunk cable and MTP/MPO harness cable.

Pre-terminated Copper Trunk Cable

Pre-terminated copper trunk cable is a bundle of category cables, which are usually built with a choice of 6, 12 or 24 cable bundles and are factory terminated with modules like jacks and plugs. There are various pre-terminated copper trunk cables available in cat5e, cat6 and cat6a UTP and STP cable construction with different termination types, such as jack to jack, jack to plug, plug to plug, etc. on the market.


With all the advantages listed above, there is no doubt that pre-terminated cabling system is an ideal solution for data center and other applications where speed and testing simplify installation. FS.COM provides various kinds of high-quality but low-price pre-terminated cable assemblies. And all of them are tested before shipment. If you need, please visit


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