Which Armored Fiber Cable Should I Choose?

Armored fiber cable with build-in metal armor can provide stronger protection of the optical fibers than standards fiber optic cables. It can protect the optical fibers from rodent, oil, impact, etc. What’s more, some armored fiber can provide maximum bend radius. However, various types of armored fiber cables usually make customers confused. There are too many specific details to consider during selection, like fiber counts, jacket type, structure of the armored fiber cable, etc. This post is offering the details about how to select the right armored fiber cable.

outdoor armored fiber cable

Structure and Application of Armored Fiber Cable

Structures of armored fiber cables come in a variety of types according to different applications. There are mainly three types of armored fiber cable: indoor armored fiber cable, outdoor armored fiber cable and indoor/outdoor armored fiber cable. Each of the three armored fiber cables has various subcategories. The structures of the three types of armored fiber cable are different from each other. Here takes the example of an indoor light armored fiber cable to introduce the basic structure of armored fiber cables.

armored fiber cable structure

As shown in the above picture, the optical fibers of the armored fiber cable are in the center of the cable covered by metal armor. The metal armor is covered by Kevlar firstly, then by the outer jacket. This is usually the most basic structure of armored fiber cables. For different applications, the structure will change accordingly. Kindly visit “Armored Fiber Cable Structures” for more details about different structure of the armored fiber cable.

How to Select Armored Fiber Cable?

The selecting of armored fiber cable is like the selection of standard fiber cables. Fiber type (OS2, OM1, OM2, OM3, or OM4), fiber count and cable riser should all be considered. However, there is many special properties of armored fiber cable, the armored fiber cable selection should also consider many other factors.

interlock armor and corrugated armor
Armor Type of Armored Fiber Cables

The market can provide armored fiber cables with different types of armor tubes which are with different structures and materials. The most commonly used armor tubes are with interlock design and corrugated design as shown in the above picture. For now, the interlock armored fiber cable is very popular and being used in a lot of indoor and indoor/outdoor applications. Corrugated armored fiber cable is often used in outdoor applications. As for the materiel for armor tube, steel and aluminum are the most commonly used. Now light steel armored fiber cables are being widely used in a lot of indoor applications, because of its lower weight and flexible properties.

pre-terminated armored fiber cable
Pre-Terminated or Field-Terminated Armored Fiber Cables

As there is a strong metal armored tube inside the armored fiber cable, the termination of armored fiber cable is difficult than that of standard fiber optic cables. In some applications, field-terminated armored fiber cable is better in outdoor applications. While, to save time and ensure transmission quality, many installers will choose pre-terminated armored fiber cables for indoor applications. The pre-terminated armored fiber cables provided by the market are mainly armored fiber patch cable and armored fiber trunk cable. The former looks like the standard fiber patch cable, but it is stronger than the traditional fiber patch cable and is more flexible during cable for it can provide larger bend radius. Pre-terminated armored fiber trunk cable is a length of armored fiber cable with several legs on each ends terminated with fiber optic connectors. Kindly visit “Armored Fiber Cable” page for more specific details about pre-terminated armored fiber cables.


Armored fiber cable is a cost-effective solution for fiber optic link protection. During the selection of the armored fiber cable, except fiber count, fiber type and cable riser, the armored type, cable structure and termination types should also be considered. If you are looking for more information about fiber cable for harsh cabling environment, you can visit another article: Fiber Patch Cables for Harsh Environment.

Differences Between QSFP-40G-SR4, QSFP-40G-CSR4 and QSFP-40G-CR4

During the selection of 40G fiber optic transceivers, customers are easily to be confused by the standards and models of the 40G modules. This is because, the standards of transceiver are generally the combinations of letters and numbers. Some of the standards and models are really similar to each other. Thus, this post is to offer an illustration three 40G modules whose standards and models are easily misidentified. These 40G modules are QSFP-40G-SR4, QSFP-40G-CSR4 and QSFP-40G-CR4. Details of the three modules will be firstly introduced separately. Then comparison in specific applications among them will be offered.

QSFP-40G-SR4 (40Gbase-SR4)

The three standards look similar. However, they actually have great differences from each other. Here will start from 40Gbase-SR4. Many vendors use “QSFP-40G-SR4” to identify 40G QSFP+ modules that support by 40Gbase-SR4 standards. 40Gbase-SR4 QSFP+ is the most popular 40G fiber optic transceiver for transmission in short distances. 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ module supports link lengths of 100m and 150m, respectively, on OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers. It is a parallel fiber optic transceiver containing a MTP/MPO interfaces, which use 4*10G transmission pattern. With four 10G SFP+ lane in one module, QSFP-40G-SR4 can achieve 40G optical signal transmitting and receiving at the same time via a ribbon fiber cable. The following picture shows how signals are transmitted over a MTP ribbon fiber cable.

40G-SR4 transmission

QSFP-40G-CSR4 (40Gbase-CSR4)

The working principle of QSFP-40G-CSR4 module is similar to QSFP-40G-SR4 module. Both QSFP-40G-CSR4 module and QSFP-40G-SR4 module has MTP/MPO interface. However, 40Gbase-CSR4 module can be regarded as an upgraded version of the 40Gbase-SR4 module. It can support longer 40G transmission up to 300m on OM3 and 400m on OM4. Transmission distance is the biggest different form the two 40G fiber optic transceivers.

QSFP-40G-CR4 (40Gbase-CR4)

QSFP-40G-CR4 module is very much different from the above mentioned two 40G modules. It is a pre-terminated copper cable with both ends terminated with QSFP+ connector. It is known as 40G QSFP+ cable or 40G QSFP+ direct attach cable. Limited by the property of copper cable, QSFP-40G-CR4 can only reach a transmission distance of 7 meters.


Which One Should You Choose QSFP-40G-SR4, QSFP-40G-CSR4 or QSFP-40G-CR4?

As the above mentioned, QSFP-40G-SR4, QSFP-40G-CSR4 and QSFP-40G-CR4 are all designed for 40G transmission in short distances. Which one is better for your applications? This should be decided by the specific applications. Generally, there are two types of transmission in 40G network: 40G to 40G transmission and 40G to 10G transmission. All the three modules can accomplish the two applications. However, there are some differences.

40Gbase SR4

QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-CSR4 uses the same connection methods for 40G-40G and 40G-10G transmission. For 40G to 40G connections, a length of MTP trunk cable can be used to connect two QSFP-40G-SR4 or QSFP-40G-CSR4 modules to form the whole link. The following picture takes Cisco Nexus 9396PX 40G connection as an example. For 40G to 10G connection, a MTP-8LC harness cable can be used to connect a QSFP-40G-SR4 or QSFP-40G-CSR4 module with other 10G devices.

40G to 40G connection

For 40G QSFP+ to QSFP+ direct attach cable (DAC), no additional fiber patch cables are need for 40G to 40G connection. Directly insert the two QSFP+ connector in to the devices, 40G transmission can be achieved. For 40G to 10G transmission, another version of QSFP+ DAC can be used, which is known as QSFP+ to 4 SFP+ direct attach cable. The following picture shows how to connect a 40G port to four 10G port by using a QSFP+ to 4 SFP+ copper cable.

40G to 10G connection

If your transmission distance is less than 150 meters but longer than 7 meters, then QSFP-40G-SR4 module would be the best choice. If your transmission distance is longer than 150 meters, QSFP-40G-CSR4 module is suggested for better network performance. If the transmission distance is less than 7 meters, then QSFP-40G-CR4 modules would be the most cost-effective solutions.

Tap Patch Cassette for Better Real-Time Network Monitoring

Effective network monitoring is necessary for most fiber optic network in today’s telecommunication networks. There are two questions should be considered for fiber optic network monitoring. One is whether the whole signal traffic can be effectively monitored without missing any information, the other one is the transmission quality and the fiber network should not be disturbed. TAP (traffic access point) is usually added in the network for network monitoring. To meet the need of effective real-time monitoring, high performance network and high density cabling, an advanced passive device is commonly used, which is known as tap patch cassette, or optical tap cassette, or fiber tap.

Tap Patch Cassette Offers 100% Copy of Network Data

The optical tap patch cassettes provided in the market usually use LGX cassette designs. The outside look of a LGX optical tap cassette is just like a MTP LGX cassettes. However, the inner design of tap patch cassette is different. The design of tap patch cassette is easy to understand by its function—making of a 100% copy of network data without affecting transmission. Thus there are port for connecting the monitor device and port for transmission.

tap patch cassette

The above picture shows the inner structure of a 2-MTP to 6-LC 40G fiber tap. On the front panel of the fiber tap cassette, there are 6 duplex LC ports for dual-way data transmission. The network traffic is split off for monitoring and analysis in a specific split ratio by a fiber splitter. Thus, On the rear panel there are two 12-fiber MTP ports, one for data transmission and the other is used to link with monitoring devices. This simply explained how the passive tap patch cassette is being used for monitoring without disturbing the network traffic. In addition, this type of fiber patch cassette can be directly installed in the standard unit rack which has low space requirement and can meet the demands of high density cabling.

Which Tap Patch Cassette Fit Your Application?

Optical tap cassette can be divided into various type according to fiber type, data rate, port type and the above mentioned split ratios. The functions of the fiber taps provided in the market are nearly the same. But how to judge which one is best for your applications? The above mentioned factors can help you make the decision.

Split Ratios of Tap Patch Cassette

What is the split ratios of optical patch cassette? as the mentioned, the optical data are split off into two parts in a specific split ratio for transmission and tapping/monitoring. Which means there will be light loss if using a tap patch cassette. For instance, if an optical tap cassette has a split ratio of 70:30, the 70% power light will be used for transmission and the 30% part will be used for monitoring (shown in the following picture). In simple, the fiber tap split ratios is the percentage of light left in the transmission link versus the percentage that are used for monitoring.

fiber tap split radio

As there is light loss if using a tap patch cassette, the installers should first considerate split ratio of the tap cassette during selection. The transmission distance and light source should also be considered to determine the split ratio of the fiber tap cassette. The split ratios of the optical tap cassettes usually range from 50:50 to 95:5, among which optical tap cassettes with split ratio of 50:50, 60:40 and 70:30 are the most commonly used.

Fiber Type, Data Rate and Connector of Tap Patch Cassettes

Except the split ratio, fiber type, data rate and connector type should also be considered according to the specific application. There are 40G fiber tap and 100G fiber tap which utilizing MTP port and LC port. Tap patch cassettes with multimode fiber and single-mode fiber are all available.

optical tap cassette

How to Deploy Optical Tap Cassette in Network

Adding an optical tap cassette is very easy. Here takes the example of 40G optical tap cassette (2xMTP to 6xLC Duplex) during application (shown in the following picture). Usually a MTP to 6 duplex LC fanout fiber cable is being used to connect the optical tap cassette to the monitor devices. These fiber tap cassettes are usually deployed between the fiber link and can be used stand alone or deployed in fiber enclosures for better cable management.

deploy fiber tap in network


Optical tap cassette is a low-cost and easy-to-use passive device which can support real-time monitoring of the network with great accuracy. Kindly Contact fs@sales.com for or visit TAP LGX CASSETTE more details about fiber tap cassettes.

Fiber Patch Cables for Harsh Environment

It is usually inevitable to deploy fiber cables in harsh environments for both indoor and outdoor applications. Rodents, like squirrels in outdoor and rats in data centers, are cable destroyers which like to bite or chew fiber optic cables. Except that, there are also many other challenges which can harm fiber optic cables and cause fiber failures, like dusts, water or other liquid, accidental impact, etc. Thus, enough protection should be provided for fiber optic network. Two types of fiber patch cables, which are specially designed for harsh cabling environments, will be introduced in this post.

The two fiber patch cables are armored fiber patch cable and IP67 fiber patch cable. As most fiber cable failures are usually caused by fiber breaks and contaminants, the fiber cable and the termination points of the fiber links should all be well protected. And the two types of fiber cable can perfectly meet most requirements of harsh cabling environment.

armored fiber patch cable

Unlike traditional fiber patch cables which are fragile and usually need careful operation, armored fiber patch cables are usually much more durable and flexible. Armored fiber patch cable usually has two jackets, one inner jacket and one outer jacket, between which there is a build-in steel tube. Some vendors also provide armored fiber cables with aluminum tube. This robust metal tube can provide optical fibers inside armored fiber cable from the impact and bite from animals. The most commonly used designs of armor used in armored fiber cables are interlock and corrugated. For most outside plant applications, the corrugated armored fiber cables are suggested. Now a lot of armored fiber patch cable uses interlock armor. During operation in data center, armored fiber patch cable can provide a more flexible cabling environment, because it has bend restrictor which can provide optical fibers from over bending. The following picture shows the structure of an armored fiber patch cable.

structure of Armored fiber cable

With its durability and flexibility, armored fiber patch cables and armored fiber cable are widely deployed in today’s network. For data center applications, there is a wide selection of armored fiber patch cables, which are available from different connector type, fiber type, jacket type, fiber count, etc.

OS2 armored fiber patch cable OM1/OM2 armored fiber patch cable OM3 armored fiber patch cable OM4 armored fiber patch cable
OS2 Armored Fiber Patch Cable OM1/OM2 Armored Fiber Patch Cable OM3 Armored Fiber Patch Cable OM4 Armored Fiber Patch Cable

IP67 fiber patch cable is a robust fiber patch cable terminated with specially designed fiber optic connections, which can protection fiber links from the harm of dusts and liquid. “IP67” is the code of Ingress Protection Marking which is a system to provide the protection level of products. The former digit “6” (totally protected against dust) and the latter digit “7” (protection from water dip) is used to describe the protection degrees of dust and liquid separately. The highest level of a fiber patch cable that can be provided in the market is IP68. IP67 fiber patch cable is an ideal solution to protect fiber links, especially the termination points. The fiber connector terminated on the IP67 fiber patch cable is different from traditional ones. A standard fiber optic connector is being protected by a special shell. To connect two IP67 fiber patch cables, special fiber optic adapter should be used for better sealing and protection. The following picture shows a LC-LC fiber patch cable. The following table listed part of the most commonly used IP67 assemblies.

LC IP67 fiber patch cable MTP IP67 fiber patch cable IP67 fiber adapter
LC-LC IP67 Fiber Patch Cable MPO-MPO IP67 Fiber Patch Cable IP67 Fiber Adapters

Fiber cable protection is always the priority of fiber optic networks. Selecting the right patch cable according to applications is essential and necessary. For environments where animals and impact are very common, armored fiber patch cable can be used. For places where liquid and dusts are great challenges, waterproof IP67 fiber patch cable, proving great sealing, is suggested.

What Is Copper Trunk Cable and How to Use It?

High density cabling products and standard modular designs are playing important roles in today’s data centers and server rooms. This is also happening for copper cabling. During the process of copper cabling, traditionally, cable installers might choose to terminate category cables by themselves. However, this would lower the installation speed. In addition, the field-terminated copper cables like Cat5, Cat5a and Cat6 can cause faults if not being terminated correctly. As there might be hundreds or thousands of RJ45 connectors to be terminated with twisted copper cables, faults and material wastes are likely to occur. To decrease the installation time and fault risk, pre-terminated copper trunk cables are being introduced to data centers.

copper patch panel

What is Pre-Terminated Copper Trunk Cable?

The following picture shows the outlook of a commonly used pre-terminated copper trunk cable, a 6 jack to 6 jack Cat5e UTP PVC copper trunk. The copper trunk cable, in simple, is a bound of individual copper cables which are factory pre-terminated. Without additional termination, cable installers can direct install copper cables. As the cables are bounded together, there is no need to worry about cable mess.

6 jack to jack copper trunk cable

Various copper trunk cables are being provided for different requirements in practical applications. To select the proper copper trunk for your applications, there are three important factors to be considered. The first one is the copper cable type. Copper trunk cables using Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat7 cables are all available in the market. The second factor is cable count. The most commonly used copper cables usually have 6 or 12 cables in one bound. Higher or lower cable counts are also available. The third one is the termination type of the breakout legs of the copper trunk cables. The breakout legs are usually terminated with RJ45 plugs or jacks, some copper trunk cables might leave on end or both ends unterminated for customers to DIY according to their practical applications. The following picture shows three most commonly used copper trunk cables: plug to plug copper trunk cable, jack to jack copper trunk cable and jack to plug copper trunk cable.

copper trunk cable

How to Use Copper Trunk Cables?

The using of copper trunk cables can effectively reduce the installation time and increase the work performance of the copper network. What’s more, they are able to provide easy-to-manage cabling environments if being properly used. How to make full used of pre-termianted copper trunk cables? During cabling, it is always the case that the backbone cable should be interconnected work cross-connected before it is connected to the target device. The following shows three situations which are commonly seen for copper cabling using copper trunk cables.

Two-connector Interconnect

In the first case (shown in the following picture), a 6 jack to 6 jack copper trunk cable is used to connect three servers to a switch. Copper patch panel is being used on each end of this connection. One is near the switch end and the other is near the server end. Copper patch cables are used to interconnect these devices.

copper cable interconnection
Three-connect Cross Connect

Cross connect is also very common in data center. The following picture shows a basic cabling structure of a three-connector cross connection. In this network, three RJ45 patch panel are being used. This structure is like the above mentioned two-connector interconnection. Just a cross connecting process is added at the switch end.

cross connection
Four-Connector Cross Connect

The following shows a more complex network structure, which is a commonly used four-connector cross connection. This type connection usually requires patch field which is usually cabinet. In this case, two copper trunk cables are working as permanent cables. Patch cords are used at these cabinet to connect the devices. Four patch panels are used. There is an individual cabinet for cross connection.

cross connection


With the help of pre-terminated copper trunk cables, the cabling of large data center or high density environment becomes easier and faster. It also simplifies cable management in data centers. Currently, there are a lot of vendors provided copper trunk cables. Some can also provide customized copper trunk cable according to your data center applications, which can reduce the waste of materials and help to build a more clean and neat cabling environment.