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Fiber Patch Cords vs Fiber Pigtails

Fiber optic patch cord and fiber optic pigtail are two commonly used components in fiber optic network. They have many things in common and they also differ in distinct ways. Knowing both the similarities and the differences between them will help you make the best selection for your project. The passage mainly talks about their similarities and differences in both structures and applications.

Structures of Fiber Patch Cords and Pigtails

Fiber patch cord, also known as fiber optic patch cable or fiber jumper cable, is a short length of optical fiber cable with a connector on each end. Connector types on each side of the fiber patch cable can be different and they can also be the same. Fiber optic pigtail is a piece of cable terminated with a fiber optic connector at only one end of the cable and leaves a length of exposed fiber at the other end, so that the connector side can link to the equipment and the other side can be melted with optical cable fibers or stripped and fusion spliced to a single fiber of a multi-fiber trunk. The following picture shows a fiber patch cord and a fiber pigtail.


Fiber optic patch cords and pigtails structurally have much in common. They are both available in single mode and multi-mode, and they can be made into simplex and duplex. Besides, both fiber patch cord and pigtail can terminate with many kinds of fiber optic connectors, including FC, SC, ST, LC, MTRJ, MPO, MU, SMA, FDDI, E2000, DIN4, and D4.

The major physical difference between fiber patch cord and pigtail is that fiber patch cord is a fixed length piece of cable with fiber connectors on each end while fiber pigtail has fiber connectors on only one end of the cable. Fiber optic patch cords can be cut into shorter lengths to make two pigtails.

Applications of Fiber Patch Cords and Pigtails

Fiber Patch Cords vs Fiber Pigtails

Fiber optic patch cords and pigtails provide interconnect and cross-connect of applications over installations in entrance facilities, telecommunications rooms, and data centers. They are available in OM4,OM3, OM2, OM1, or OS1/OS2 fiber types to meet the demands of Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and high speed Fibre Channel. However, they have their respective application areas, too.

Fiber patch cords are commonly used to connect ports on fiber distribution frames. They support network applications in main, horizontal and equipment distribution areas and are available in optical fiber riser cable (OFNR), and low smoke zero halogen (LSZH) rated jacket materials to comply with local cabling ordinances. They also support high speed (10/40 Gbs) telecommunications. Fiber optic patch cords can be used in many areas, such as integrated optics, laser detection and display, and materials processing.

Fiber optic pigtails support fusion splice field termination applications. They should be installed where they will be protected and spliced, so they are usually used with fiber optic management equipment like optical distribution frame (ODF), splice closures and cross cabinets. Pigtails are found anywhere, but most commonly in optical assemblages or optical components. There are waterproof fiber optic pigtails used for outdoor applications, which is with thick poly ethylene (PE) jacket and big diameter.

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