WHAT SHOULD I WATCH OUT FOR WHEN BUYING FIBER OPTIC PATCH CORDS?
A Fiber Optic Network wouldn’t exist without optical transceivers and patch-cords. They are essential to the functioning of the Fiber Optic Network Architecture. They come in various shape and sizes and knowing which and how to choose them can literally save the entire network of unwanted issues.
The optical transceivers can vary from interface, transmission media and distance, data rate and brand. Luckily CBO BlueOptics© manufacture transceivers of any kind, capable for maximum performance and the most important they are compatible with every vendor’s equipment on the market.
However buying the correct patch cords is a very hard job if you lack in experience and knowledge about Fiber Optics. Even if you feel you are experienced, getting a second opinion from another experienced colleague won’t be a bad idea. When buying patch cords there are many details to keep an eye on but most importantly the transmission media, the transceiver interface (connector), the data rates and distances capability.
From the transmission’s perspective there are two types of transceivers existing, fiber based and copper based transceivers. The Multi Source Agreement (MSA) has identified the most commonly used copper transceivers: 100BASE-T, 1000BASE-T and 10GBASE-T. These transceivers usually have a RJ45 connector so they require the Cat-5/6/7 RJ45 cables for connectivity.
Fiber Optic based transceivers on the other hand are more complicated because they require patch cords for connectivity. There are two types of Fiber Optic Patch Cords: Single- mode and Multi- mode patch cords. Single- mode patch cables are classified as OS1 and OS2 while Multi- mode patch cables are classified as OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4. Knowing the various types of patch cables and their differences is essential to building a stable Networking environment.
Before digging deeper in their differences let’s see how the whole Fiber Optics concept works.
The Fiber Optic concept is based on converting electrical signals into optical light and sending them through a hair-thin glass or plastic fiber. The light is driven through the core of the fiber cable which is basically the center of the cable. This core is surrounded by an optical material which is called “cladding” which helps keep the optical light in the cable instead of breaking out of it. This is called “total internal reflection”. The CBO BlueOptics© core and the cladding are made of advanced and ultra-pure Corning glass for maximum performance. The whole cable is coated with protective covering and on top of the covering is coated with an outer coating also called “the jacket”. These layers of coating help protect the cable from the outside effects like bending, moisture and temperature.
Single- mode Fibers are fibers with a small core which allow only one string of light to pass through it. With this solution the number of light reflections inside the cable decreases and thus the cable has the capability to drive the light signal further in distance. These cables are used for long distance, high bandwidth applications. There are two types of Single- mode Fibers, OS1 and OS2. The main difference is that OS1 is used mainly for indoor Datacenter application and OS2 is used for outdoor use underground or over ground application.
Multi- mode Fibers are fibers with larger core in diameter and because of it multiple strings of optical light can be driven down the cable. Thus the number of light reflections inside the cable increases and the light bounces in the cable limiting its distance capability. These cables are mainly used in the LAN network or access layers. There are four types of Multi- mode Fibers, OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 which can provide different distances:
When it comes to their connectors, fiber optics connectors are unique to each other. Because the optical cable transmits light signals instead of electrical signals the connector itself must be extremely precise. Instead of metal pins aligning to each other on the both sides of the copper cables, the optical cables must align the microscopic, hair-thin fibers perfectly to each other for the connection to be successful. There are commonly two types of connector designs, simplex and duplex. Duplex consists of two connectors per end and as the name suggests, simplex consists of one connector per end. The fiber optic connector is commonly made of three components: ferrule, a thin structure that holds the glass fiber, connector body, plastic or metal structure that holds the ferrule and a coupling mechanism, a part of the connector that holds the connector in place when it’s connected to a device. BlueLAN© patch cords use a zirconia ceramic ferrule for ultra-quality transmission. The most common connectors are:
- Straight Tip Connector (STP) - This is one of the first fiber optics connectors to hit the market. These connectors consist of a 2.5mm ferrule inside of a plastic or metal body. These connectors have a twist on/off type of coupling mechanism.
- Subscriber Connector (SC) – These connector also consist of a 2.5mm ferrule for holding the glass fiber. They use a push on/pull off type of coupling mechanism. Their body is square shaped, most commonly made of plastic. This connector have been developed in Japan by one of its leading telecommunication companies NTT.
- Lucent Connector (LC) – The Lucent Connector has been developed by Lucent Technologies. Their body resembles the one of the Subscriber Connectors because of its square shape. It has a ferrule of 1.25 mm and they are held together with a clip for duplex configuration.
- MPO/MTP Connectors – These connectors are a special type of connectors designed to end multiple fiber strands into a single ferrule. They can commonly support up to 12 optical fiber strands. They have a push on/pull off coupling mechanism. Because of the high number of strands ending into a single ferrule, this type of connector is mainly used for cross-connect and breakout applications. All CBO BlueOptics© MPO/MTP patch cables and connectors fulfill or exceed the latest requirements defined in Telecordia GR-326 and GR-1435. CBO BlueOptics© have the option of up to 72 cores in a single fiber core for even the most complex and bandwidth demanding Datacenter installations. For the installation of these cables the use of MPO/MTP cassette is a must. CBO BlueOptics© offers a wide range of cassettes available with SC and LC ports.
- RJ-45 Connectors – These are the standard RJ45 connectors that consist of 8 wire conductors in 8 different positions. They are widely used for Ethernet solutions. CBO manufactures type 5e, 6 and 6a RJ45 connectors. BlueLAN© RJ45 patch cords come with full copper wires and gold coating on the metal contacts to ensure maximum quality connection.
CBO BlueOptics© also develops and manufactures a mix type of cables which have LC-SC and LC-ST connectors. All CBO BlueOptics© feature a Low Smoke Zero Halogen sheathing.
When buying optical patch cords mainly we should turn our attention to these factors:
- Choosing the correct transmission media for our installation
- Choosing the cable that will provide the best transmission data rate for that installation
- Choosing SMF or MMF depending on the distance of the installation
- Choosing the correct optical connector depending on the transceivers used
Following these steps together with the valuable experience will guarantee a hole in one.
News for Friday 04 December, 2020