What are Some Common Fiber Optic Patch Cords?

Patch cords make up the housing and terminals that surround fiber optics, allowing them to transmit data safely and effectively. Their several designs allow for diverse network and cable management configurations. With several options available for purchase, it is important to understand the different types available. In this blog, we will discuss the specifications and applications of some of the most widely used fiber optic patch cords.

Simplex cables feature a single fiber optic strand surrounded by a tight buffer and durable strengthening fibers, usually made from kevlar. Their outermost layer is a 2-3mm jacket typically rated for indoor use. Utilizing a single fiber optic strand, simplex cables can generally only facilitate one-way data transfer. However, there is newer equipment that can both transmit and receive data on the same cable if they are sent via different wavelengths. These cables are preferred for long-distance applications since they only carry one light ray at a time.

Duplex fibers consist of two simplex cables bound together by a circular rubber material. These cables can be further classified as half-duplex or full-duplex types depending on their data transfer capabilities. Half-duplex cables are capable of sending data in both directions, but only permit one at a time. An example of a half-duplex configuration is a walkie-talkie or other handheld radio. Such devices allow for bi-directional communication, with only one side transmitting at any given time. In contrast, full-duplex cords may send and receive data simultaneously, as is the case with telephone conversations. This type is most commonly found in network communication devices, such as Ethernet switches.

Multi-fiber push-on (MPO) cables contain several fiber optic strands to streamline the quick transfer of large data loads. While usually containing 12 or 24 fibers when purchased, MPOs can be reconfigured by trained technicians to be compatible with other applications. They are also unique in their connector design, which may either be male or female. Since this cable type is popular in tightly-packed data center applications, manufacturers construct them with 250 micron-sized fibers that can bend easily. This design allows several cables to fit snugly, even in a dense environment.

Armored patch cords are similar in function to simplex and duplex cables but feature a much stronger protective layer. Featuring stainless steel armor, these cables can withstand over 150lbs of weight and can also protect against rodents biting through the material. These cables are especially beneficial for military and industrial applications where fiber optics may be damaged if not adequately protected.

While fiber-optic technology is ubiquitous in the telecommunication world, only recently has the aviation industry recognized its potential. With the increased bandwidth demand placed on modern aircraft, fiber optic cabling is being implemented to provide lossless data transfer. Supporting avionic and in-flight entertainment systems, fiber-optics may either be installed on new aircraft or retrofitted to older models. While the initial cost of replacing copper wiring with fiber optics is high, airlines tend to make the difference back through the added fuel efficiency.

If you are looking to implement high-quality fiber optic cabling in your operations, let the team of experts at AOG Unlimited help you find a competitive solution. As a leading distributor, we carry over 2 billion components serving the aviation, industrial, and IT markets. Additionally, as an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited distributor with a NO-CHINA Sourcing policy, we implement all the necessary steps to provide you with only the highest quality products. We also offer same-day and next-day shipping options on select in-stock components, making us the best choice for customers facing AOG situations. Get started on the purchasing process with an RFQ form today to experience the future of aerospace part procurement.


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