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Comprehensive Fiber Optic Pigtail Wiki and Guidance



There is some loss and attenuation while building an optic fiber system. Correct fiber optic pigtail splicing will bring lower loss and attenuation to the optical fiber system, and bring better performance.

As the best way to connect the optical fibers, fiber pigtails are used in 99% of single-mode optical fiber installations. When the fiber optic pigtails are well attached to the system, it can bring low loss and small return loss to the link while transmitting optic signals. Therefore, it is crucial for engineers to perfectly connect cables to the system. This article introduces what is a fiber pigtail and introduces different types of optical fiber pigtails.


What Is a Pigtail Fiber Optic?


The fiber optic pigtail is designed with an optic connector used for connecting to equipment, and the other side is an exposed fiber used to be melted with optical fiber. As a general rule, the pigtail fiber optic is always made into single, short, commonly unbuffered, optical fiber. When connecting the stripped end of the pigtail to a single optical fiber on the trunk cable, we need to fuse and splice the exposed optical fiber to the fiber needed to attach. 


There are two different types of fiber pigtail connectors: male or female connectors. Female connectors are usually installed in pairs in a patch panel. Although there is a single-solution that allows them to connect with the endpoints or patch fibers. Alternatively, the male connector on the pigtail can be put into an optical transceiver.


The value of fiber pigtails is used for precise installation to achieve the precise alignment of fiber components. When the quality of pigtail cable is high and the welding is correct, it can provide the best performance for fiber optic cable termination They are typically applied to fiber management devices such as ODFs, splice closures, and cross cabinets.


Different Types of Fiber Optic Pigtail


In QSFPTEK, we can find several different types of fiber pigtails, which can be classified according to different connector types, different fiber types, and different fiber mounts. We will summarize the different fiber pigtails from these three aspects below


By Connector Types


According to the connectors of different pigtail fiber optic termination, optical fiber pigtails can be classified as LC fiber pigtails, SC fiber pigtails, ST fiber pigtails, FC fiber pigtails, MT-RJ fiber pigtails, and E2000 fiber pigtails. Their structure and appearance will be different. Next, we will introduce three common types: SC, FC, ST fiber optic pigtails.


SC Fiber Optic Pigtail: SC pigtail fiber optic connector is designed with a type of connector that is a non-optic disconnect and with a 2.5mm pre-radiused ferrule which is made of zirconia or stainless alloy. SC fiber pigtail is usually used in CATV, LAN, WAN, test, and measurement, it also has superiority in price


FC Fiber Optic Pigtail: The FC fiber pigtail is made of metal in the body of the connector. The screw structure and high-precision ceramic ferrules are also its most remarkable features.FC fiber optical pigtails are usually used for general applications.


ST Fiber Optic Pigtail: ST fiber pigtail connectors are commonly used in multimode fiber optic LAN applications. It has a long ferrule with a diameter of 2.5mm, which is made of ceramic (zirconia), stainless steel alloy, or plastic. Therefore, SC optical fiber pigtail is commonly applied to the fields of telecommunications, industry, medical treatment, and sensors.


Same as fibers, we can divide the pigtails into UPC version and APC version according to different types of fiber endface pigtails. The most widely used versions are SC/APC pigtail, FC/APC pigtail, and MU/UPC pigtail.


SC/UPC 9/125 Singlemode fiber optic pigtail

Figure 1: SC/UPC 9/125 Singlemode fiber optic pigtail


By Fiber Type


Pigtail fiber optic includes single-mode and multimode fiber, the former is colored yellow and the latter is orange. The optical fiber core diameter of a single-mode pigtail is typical 9µm and the multimode pigtail is 62.5µm or 50µm. Their cladding diameters are both 125µm. The difference is that they are terminated with a single-mode fiber connector or multimode fiber connector at the termination.


By Fiber Count


The fiber counts of fiber optic pigtails can be 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, and 48 strands. The simplex pigtail fiber optic cables are one fiber and one connector on the termination. The duplex pigtail fiber optic cables are two fibers and two connectors on the one of termination. The two fibers will be marked ‘A’ or ‘B’ to distinguish their different polarities. It will also use different connector boots colors to indicate male or female.


By Application Environment


Some fiber pigtails may be installed in extreme working environments. Two common special fiber pigtails will be introduced below.


Armored Pigtail: The protective cover of armored fiber optic pigtails is made of stainless steel tube or other strong steel wrapped in the outer jacket, which can increase the robustness of fiber optic pigtail while ensuring the reliability of the network and avoiding damage caused by rodents, construction work, and the weight of other cables.


Waterproof Pigtail: Different from ordinary optical fiber pigtails, the protective layer of the waterproof pigtail is designed as a stainless steel waterproof unit and armored outdoor PE jacket. Waterproof fiber optic pigtail has the advantages of good toughness, tensile, and reliability, so it is very suitable for harsh environments and outdoor connections. It is generally used in communication towers, CATV, and the military.


Introduction of Splicing a Fiber Optic Pigtail


The fiber optic pigtail can be attached to optical fibers by a fusion splicer, engineers can use it to splice the pigtails to the cable in one minute, which can save installation time and cost. In addition, the mechanical splicing method can also be used to accurately hold the optical fiber pigtail and optical fiber patch cord together, and the connection can be temporary or permanent. Besides, a high-quality fiber pigtail can also make splicing missions easier.


mechanical splicing vs fusion splicing

Figure 2: Mechanical Splicing vs Fusion Splicing




After the detailed introduction of fiber optic pigtail. I believe that you must know what it is and how to choose the right one and splice it to your optical fiber. If you still have any questions, you can contact QSFPTEK customer service via sale@qsfptek.com. QSFPTEK has a professional engineering team to advise our users.


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