Fiber Optic Pigtail Meaning:What is it and How to Choose it

Fiber optic pigtail is an unbuffered optical fiber that has one end terminated with a fiber optic connector and the other end prepared for splicing.
fiber optic pigtail
Table of Contents

1.What does fiber optic pigtail mean?

Think of a Fiber Optic Pigtail as a bridge. On one side, it connects with fiber optic equipment via its terminated connector. On the other side, it’s ready to fusion splice with optical fiber cables.

Typically, we splice fiber optic pigtails via fusion or mechanical splicing.

Fiber optic pigtails are available in various types of fiber optic connectors such as LC, SC, ST, and FC connectors.

They also have different fiber types such as single-mode or multi-mode, and with various fiber optic core diameters and jacket materials.

You can find pigtails in fiber optic management equipment like ODF, fiber terminal boxes, and distribution boxes.

2.Differences between patch cord and pigtail

Patch cords and pigtails are both types of cables used in telecommunications and networking, but they have different purposes and characteristics. Here are some key differences between patch cords and pigtails:

pigtail and patch cord


People use patch cord to connect two devices, such as a computer and a switch, while a pigtail is to connect a device to a patch panel or other termination point.


Patch cords are usually shorter than pigtails, typically between 1 and 5 meters long. Pigtails are longer, usually around 10 meters or more.


Patch cords usually have connectors on both ends, such as RJ45 connectors for Ethernet cables.

Pigtails have a connector on one end and exposed wires on the other end for termination.


 Fiber Optic Pigtails have a connector on one end and exposed wires on the other end.

Patch cords are pre-terminated with connectors on both ends and are ready to use out of the box.


We usually use Patch cords for connecting devices in a local area network (LAN),

while pigtails are terminating fiber optic cables in a data center or other high-capacity network environment.

Overall, patch cords and fibre pigtails are both essential components of a network infrastructure, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for specific applications.

3.Types of Fibre Pigtail

Here, we’ll delve into the diversity and versatility of fibre pigtails.

Classifying Fiber Optic Pigtails

Fiber optic pigtails can be classified based on several factors:

  • Fiber Mode: You can opt for multi-mode pigtails (OM1, OM2, OM3) or single-mode pigtails (OS2), depending upon your data transmission needs.
  • Number of Fibers: From single fiber to double fiber and multiple fibers, pigtails are designed to accommodate diverse requirements.
  • Connector Polishing Type: There are three types of polishing: PC, UPC, and APC, each offering different levels of optical performance.

Special Fiber Optic Pigtails

Beyond the standard options, we have:

  • Bundled Pigtails: These are branchable fiber pigtails, also known as pigtail bundles. They’re constructed with a flame-retardant PVC exterior sheath, an aramid fiber strengthening element, and Corning tight-buffered fiber. Due to their robust structure, they are popular and widely used.
  • Armored Pigtails: These pigtails come with an extra layer of metal protection, making them more durable than regular pigtails.
  • Submersible (Waterproof) Pigtails: For harsh environments, we have waterproof pigtails. These come with durable boots and watertight sealed header connections to withstand water and other challenging conditions.

In addition to the above, you can also find fiber optic pigtails with jackets, without jackets, with splitters, and even bespoke pigtails based on your specific needs regarding jackets and splitters.

4.How to Choose Pigtails?

The main types of fibers in fibre optic pigtails are multimode (OM1/OM2/OM3/OM4/OM5) and singlemode (G652D/G657A).

The normal connector types of fibre optic pigtails also include SC, ST, FC, LC and E2000.

There is no fixed choice of these for practical applications and you will need to choose according to your actual usage. How do we choose the right pigtail for our network? Simply follow these 5 steps.

Step 1:Choose correct connector type(LC/SC/ST/FC/E2000)

Different connectors are used to plug different devices. You can choose for your own situation

Different connectors pigtail

Step 2:Choose fiber type,singlemode or multimode

Single-mode fiber pigtail uses 9/125um fiber, multi-mode fiber pigtail uses 50/125um or 62.5 /125um optical fiber.

We mainly use single-mode pigtails for long-distance data transmission. Multimode pigtails are mainly used for short-distance transmission.

Generally, the jacket of single-mode pigtails is yellow, and the jacket of multi-mode pigtails is orange.


Step 3:Choose the right length of pigtail

The pigtail length of the optical fiber varies, but the length is usually less than 2 meters.

You should select the appropriate cable length based on the distance between the devices.

Step 4:Choosing the right type of connector polish (UPC / APC)

The optical performance of APC connectors is generally better than that of UPC connectors due to the lower loss.

In the current market, People widely use APC connector in more return loss sensitive applications such as FTTx, PON and WDM.

However, APC connectors are usually more expensive than UPC connectors, so you should consider whether you need an APC connector based on your situation.

APC should be a consideration for those applications where a high precision fibre optic signal is required, but other less sensitive systems will perform equally well with UPCs.

Typically, fibre optic patch cables with APC connectors are green colour , while those with UPC connectors are blue.


Step 5:Choosing the right jacket material (PVC / LSZH )

The conventional pigtail sheaths are LSZH and PVC, the PVC patch cord sheaths are the common ones with average fire resistance and low price; the LSZH patch cord sheaths means low smoke and halogen free materials, which are more environmentally friendly and flame retardant, but more expensive. You can choose according to your own situation.

5.Fibconet Packing Service of Pigtail

Unit product packing


Master carton packing


Packing data (For reference only)

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