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How to Distinguish between Fiber Patch Panel and Optical Distribution Frame?

(Last Updated On: April 24, 2023)

With the popularization of 5G, transmission speed and delay advantages have significantly improved. We often use distribution frames in fiber optic wiring, but it isn’t easy to distinguish between the fiber patch panel and the ODF distribution frame. Now let’s find out below!

The Benefits of Using Fiber Patch Panels

  1. Helps to terminate fiber optic cables, reducing physical space clutter easily;
  2. Well-organized and easy-to-manage all input jacks/ports connected to a centrally located patch panel block;
  3. Provide an easier way to connect different devices in a separate order because all changes can be made on the patch panel block;
  4. Avoid the cost caused by the wear and tear of the input port of the network equipment, and it is easier to complete the maintenance task.

The Benefits of Using the ODF Distribution Frame

  1. Design Aspects

After the optical patch cords enter the rack, the ODF distribution frame can fix it on the rack. It can also mechanically fix the outer sheath and strengthen the core to protect the optical fiber patch cable from external mechanical damage.

  1. Structural Aspects

The ODF distribution frame adopts a box structure and pre-terminated modular design, which is convenient for replacement and expansion, can save space, and optimize cable management.

  1. Management and Maintenance

ODF distribution frames can quickly deploy high-density interconnection and cross-connection in data centers, simplify wiring deployment, increase wiring density, and effectively reduce wiring failures, making wiring flexible.


The Difference Between Fiber Patch Panel and ODF Distribution Frame

  1. Refer to Different

① Fiber Patch Panel: It is a passive device, similar to the function of the original copper cable transfer box, except that most of the optical cables are divided into several small logarithmic optical cables in different directions after passing through the fiber patch panel.

② ODF distribution frame: It is an optical fiber distribution device specially designed for an optical fiber communication room.

  1. Different Uses

① Fiber Patch Panel: The fiber patch panel is the division point of the feeder optical cable and the distribution optical cable. The optical splitter broadcasts the light beam in one fiber core to multiple fiber cores through physical channels. The purpose is to improve the utilization efficiency of the trunk fiber and reduce the number of trunk fibers.

② ODF Distribution Frame: It can protect the fiber core and the pigtail of the cable and can be assembled into a fiber optic distribution frame alone. Or mounted in a cabinet/frame with Digital Distribution Unit and Audio Distribution Unit.

Constitute an integrated distribution frame. The equipment is flexible in configuration and easy to maintain, manage and install. It is a piece of essential equipment for fiber optic communication cable network terminals or relays points to realize fiber arrangement, fiber jumper cable fusion, and access.

  1. The Scope of the Application is Different

① Fiber Patch Panel: It is suitable for small and medium-sized distribution systems of fiber to the community, fiber to the building, remote modules, and wireless base stations.

② ODF distribution frame: Applied in various fields such as security monitoring, local area network, data room, China Telecom, etc. It has the functions of fixing and protecting optical cables, terminating optical cables, and adjusting wires, and is an indispensable part of the information room.


Wiring Installation of ODF Distribution Frame

  1. Installation and Fixing

First, the ODF distribution frame is installed in a 19-inch cabinet, and then the optical fiber distribution frame is fixed in the cabinet column with a nut assembly.

  1. Fiber Optic Stripping, Fixing, and Protection

① Clean the optical cable. Then strip the optical cable and reserve 4cm for the reinforcement. (The common optical cables include layer twisted type, skeleton type, and central bundle tube type fiber cable. Different optical cables need to adopt different stripping methods.)


② Clean the fiber optic ointment on the bare fiber and fix the interface with electrical tape.

③ Open the back door of the ODF and the optical cable enters from the right side. Fix the optical cable in place with a throat clamp.

④ Put the fiber into the protective tube, and then wind it from the inside of the ODF distribution frame to the front.

  1. Installation of Adapter and Pigtail

① Open the front baffle of the ODF and take out the splice tray. Put the corresponding adapter, and quantity into the splice tray and insert the pigtails in order.

② Coil the remaining pigtails in the coil unit.

③ The tail passes through the rectangular hole in the middle of the integrated module to the upper splice tray.

④ Peel off the loose tube on the pigtail, store it in the welding area on the front of the module, and cover it with the upper cover.

  1. Splicing Operation

① Uncover the front cover of the module and take out the pigtail in the welding area.

② Fix the end of the bare fiber protective sleeve of the outer line at the corresponding position with a cable tie and introduce an appropriate length into the fusion splicing workbench.

③ Cut and peel 12 single-core and non-ribbon optical cables with wire strippers.

④ Clean the fiber core with a solvent, cut it and weld it.

⑤ Push the welding protection tube so that the welding point is located in the center for heat shrinking.

⑥ Carry out fiber fusion in sequence and neatly put the fused fiber core into the fusion splicing area.

⑦ Record the splicing marks of each core fiber and insert the module back into its original position.

  1. Note:

① Direct connection or cross-connection jumpers are available.

② Ensure that the free bending radius of the pigtail is greater than 40mm.

③ If the insertion loss is too high: clean the pigtail head with a special cleaning tool; check whether the ceramic inside the adapter is damaged; tighten the adapter connector; check the bending radius.


Distinguishing their differences and using their respective advantages can save us space and cost and improve efficiency. We can help you to customize the special patch panel and distribution box, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any need for them: sales@holightoptic.com.

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