The Benefits of Using Fiber Optic Pigtails

Fiber optic pigtail is the end of the optic cable with fiber connectors on both sides of the line. One side of the connector can be inserted into the device, while the other end can be fused with fibers of the optical cable. Fiber pigtails are utilized to obtain precise assembly for accurate alignment of fiber optic components. They are usually used with fiber management devices, cross lockers, and splice closures.

A fiber pigtail is a single, brief, typically unbuffered fiber with an optical connector established at one end and an uncovered fiber at the other. The ending point of the pigtail is removed and spliced into an individual thread of a multi-fiber trunk. Splicing pigtails to each fiber inside the trunk “cracks” the multi-fiber cable into its constituent fibers in conjunction with the terminal device.

Fiber braids can have female or male connectors. Female connectors can be firmly fixed in a patch panel in pairs, although single-fiber applications occur to allow connection to endpoints. Alternatively, they may have male connectors and connect straight to an optical transceiver.

Types of Fiber Optic Pigtails

Fiber pigtails are available in different styles: organized by pigtail connector type, there are Lucent Connector (LC) fiber pigtails, Square Connector (SC) fiber pigtails, Straight Tip (ST) fiber pigtails, and so on. In fiber type, there are unidirectional fiber pigtails and multimode fiber pigtails. And with fiber quantity, six and twelve fiber optics can be found on the market.

By the type of the fiber:

Optical fiber pigtails are usually grouped into single-mode (yellow) and multimode (orange) fibers. Multimode fiber pigtails use 62.5/125 micron or 50/125-micron multimode fiber optic cables and terminate them with multimode fiber connectors at one end. The jacket color in 10G OM3 and OM4 fiber pigtail is typically aqua. Single-mode fiber optic cables resort to 9/125 micron single-mode fiber cable and are discontinued at one end with single-mode fiber optic connectors.

By the type of the connector:

In the manner of the different end-terminated pigtail cable terminals, we can distinguish LC fiber pigtail, SC fiber pigtail, ST fiber pigtail, Ferrule Connector (FC) fiber pigtail, Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack (MT-RJ) fiber pigtail, E2000 fiber pigtail, and such. With various designs and appearances, each has its advantages in various applications and systems. Let’s go through some commonly used ones.

SC Fiber Optic Pigtail: The SC pigtail cable connector is a non-optical disconnect connector with 2.5mm zirconia or stainless steel alloy ferrules. SC fiber optic cable is cost-effective for CATV, LAN, WAN, test, and measurement applications.

FC Fiber Optic Pigtail: FC fiber pigtail adopts the dominance of the metal body of FC optical connectors, including screw-type design and high-accuracy ceramic ferrules. FC fiber pigtails and similar products are frequently used in general applications.

ST Fiber Optic Pigtail: The ST pigtail attachment is the most prominent connector for multimode fiber LAN applications. It has a long cap with a width of 2.5 mm made of ceramic (zirconia), stainless steel alloy, or plastic. Hence, SC fiber pigtails are commonly found in the field of telecommunications, medicine, and sensors.
Like fiber optic patch cords, fiber pigtails can be divided into UPC and APC versions. The most frequently utilized types are FC/APC pigtail, SC/APC pigtail, and MU/UPC pigtail.

By application conditions:

Some pigtail cables are uniquely set up to combat harsh or extreme conditions, such as armored fiber braid and waterproof fiber braid.

Armored Optical Fiber Pigtail: encased in an outer jacket with stainless steel pipe or other strong steel, armored fiber pigtails provide extra protection to the fiber inside and increase network reliability while reducing unnecessary damage caused by rodents, construction work, and the weight of other cables.

Waterproof Braided Fiber Optic: Designed with a reinforced stainless steel waterproof unit and a PE (Poly Ethylene) armored outer jacket, the waterproof braided fiber is an excellent solution for harsh environments such as communication towers, CATV, and the military. The waterproof pigtail cable enhances good strength, tensile strength, and reliable performance, facilitating outdoor connections.

By the number of fibers:

Fiber pigtails can have a fiber count of 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, and 48 strands. The Simplex fiber optic pigtail has one fiber and a connector at one end. The Duplex optical fiber has two fibers and two connectors at one end. Each fiber is labeled “A” or “B,” or different colored connectors are used to indicate polarity. Likewise, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, 48, and over 48 optical fibers have corresponding characteristics.

Keep in mind that fiber pigtails may have female or male connectors. The female connectors can be placed in a patch panel. They also have male connectors that plug directly into an optical transceiver.

How to choose high-quality fiber pigtails?

Fiber pigtails are attached to cables by splicing or mechanical splicing, both of which provide a quick termination method. Fiber pigtail assemblies are cable assemblies, which means that the parts contained in a fiber pigtail – connector, ferrule, standard fibers, and jacket types, are components that any experienced textile technician will be familiar with. Note that you always order fiber pigtails a few feet more than you think you’ll need. The extra slack allows you to correct splicing errors, or you may need to start with a different fiber pigtail. Saving cost and labor time, One of the advantages of fiber optic pigtail is lower labor costs. Considering the access to the fusion splicer, you only need to connect the fiber optic cable to the cable in a minute or less.
The quality of the fiber optic pigtail is usually high because the spliced ​​end is attached in a controlled environment – the factory. And the factory can do single-mode pigtail assembly more accurately than field termination. Testing a fiber pigtail in the field is not easy, but you are dealing with reliable measurements in the factory. On the other hand, it saves a lot of time spent finishing.


Fiber optic pigtail serves as a viable and reliable solution for easier optical fiber termination, effectively saving a lot of labor time and labor costs. The performance of fiber optic pigtails is of great importance, so the quality of the connector, the ferrule material as well as the cable length of the pigtails should be considered to ensure easier termination of the fiber.

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