Things You Should Know About Patch Cords


A patch cord or patch cable is a length of cable with connectors on each end that is used to connect end devices to power sources. These cables are mainly used to connect one electronic device to another. Inside the patch cord is glass core used for transmitting light. Outside the core is wrapped up glass envelope with lower refractive index so as to keep the fiber inside the core. The outer layer is covered with a thin plastic coat for protection.

Classification & Features

There are many types of patch cords, such as FC patch cords, LC patch cords, SC patch cords, and ST patch cords. Then what are the differences and features between them? Take FS.COM fiber patch cable as an example.

1. FC fiber patch cable. The external of it is strengthened by metal sleeve and ruggedized by screw buckle. It is usually used on ODF. Generally, telecommunications network would adopt FC connector, screwing a nut onto a adapter.

Pro: solidity, dust proof Con: long time for installation

2. SC fiber patch cable. It is a connector which has a rectangular enclosure, used for connecting GBIC optical modules. It is ruggedized through the method of plug pin latch without rotating. It’s mostly used in switches and routers. SC connectors are commonly used in general network.

Pro: direct plugging in/out, easy operation Con: easy to fall out

3. ST fiber patch cable. It’s commonly used in fiber distribution frame with its enclosure round, and it’s ruggedized with the help of turnbuckle. ST connectors are also commonly used in general network.

Pro: fixation Con: brittleness

4. LC fiber patch cable. It’s a connector connecting SFP optical modules. It adopts modular jack (RJ) latch method, which is convenient to operate. It’s often used in routers.

Pro: bend insensitive, efficient installation Con: easily detached


Ethernet patch cable find many uses in a wide variety of industries and applications. Some uses of patch cords include: FTTH, LAN, fiber optic sensor, optical fiber communication system, fiber optic connection transmission equipment, national defense, telecommunication network, computer optical fiber network and optical test equipment, etc.

Using Tips

If you have no idea about how to install patch cords, then you should read the instructions and using tips before installation.

1. Before use, you should clean the ceramic ferrule and the core end face of patch cable up with alcohol and absorbent cotton.

2. While using, the minimum bending radius of fiber optic shouldn’t exceed 150mm.

3. Protect the core and the end face of the core from bruising and pollution. Put on a dust cap immediately after disassembly.

4. When laser signals are being transmitted, do not look directly at the optical fiber.

5. Patch cords should be replaced in time after man made or non-resistant damages.

6. Please read the instruction manual carefully before installing, and debug under the guidance of the engineer of manufacturers or dealers.

7. When optical network or system malfunctions, troubleshooting methodology could be adopted to test. A continuity testing could be put ahead when you do the test or exclude the malfunction of patch cords. In general, you can use visible laser light to judge the whole optical fibre link or use optical fiber insertion loss return instrument to test all the indexes. The index will tell whether the patch cord is normal or not.


This post gives a brief introduction to patch cables, and lists some products from FS.COM to throw light upon the classification and features of patch cables. Also it tells about the application and using tips of patch cables. I hope it may be helpful to you if you are a green hand fiber optic technician.