West Penn Wire Blog

Field Terminated Vs. Pre-Terminated Fiber Optic Assemblies

Posted by Samantha Bante on Mar 18, 2020 3:20:24 PM

With the recent surge of fiber optics within the market in the past few years, it is imperative that any upcoming projects have the right fiber optic cables, assemblies and the best termination method. While there are many options with which fiber optic cables and connectors to choose from, there are really only two major termination solutions: field terminated and pre-terminated. This post is going to break down what the difference between these terminations styles, the advantages and disadvantages, so you can have the best solution for your business and technicians.

What are Field Terminated Fiber Optic Assemblies?

Field termination describes the termination of the fiber optic cable in the field or, after installation has taken place. When these types of cables are terminated, they need to be pulled between two points, then connectors will need to be attached and then connected to a patch panel. In addition, before they can be attached to a panel, connectors need to be attached to each individual strand, and a variety of tools will be needed. 

Fiber Optics.jpgAdvantages

  1. Precision Lengths: Because these cables are cut to length before adding connectors, it's not necessary to have these cables pre-determined for length. 
  2. Easy Pull System: Fiber optic bulk cable is very easily to pull from either end of the installation circuit.


  1. Higher Labor Costs: When fiber optic cable are terminated in the field, costs can be high. There are varieties of other tools needed, many steps need to be taken and field technicians need to have the right training. 
  2. Slower Installations: Installation will take longer due to terminating connectors and making sure the fiber optics cables and assemblies are working properly with testing.
  3. Potential Termination Issues: Termination issues can occur depending on the skill level of each technician and knowledge behind fiber optic cables and assemblies. Field terminated fiber optic cable may be inexpensive at time of purchase. However, extra expenses could be encountered in the field through termination raising the cost of any project.

Note: Need help terminating fiber optic cables? No problem. We have a wide range of termination videos available: West Penn Wire Termination Videos.

What are Pre-Terminated Fiber Optic Assemblies Advantages?

These cables are the same as fiber optics cables that are terminated in the field; the only difference is the manufacture will terminate these cables and assemblies prior to shipment. 

pre terminated fiber assemblies.jpgAdvantages:

  1. Lower costs and time savings: Since these cables arrive on site there is no cable termination preparation, no connectors or tool kits or testers needed. These cables require minimal time and effort for implementation for any installer.
  2. Project efficiency: These cables are manufactured and shipped to the job site with the connectors already terminated, properly polished, and the entire cable assembly tested on either both ends for ease of installation. 


  1. Need for accuracy: In order for these cables to perform, they need to have accurate measurements. Users will generally need planned lengths and lead times in advance to avoid extra cable lengths. 
  2. Associated costs: Miscalculations of measurements can lead to additional expenses, which could increase material costs of a project.

Which should I choose?

The decision ultimately depends what you are looking for, the skill level of your technicians that you have working on your project. Some would prefer pre-terminated fiber optic cables or assemblies since they can be faster and simpler alternatives to field terminated cables and require less training for technicians. 

When you are calculating fiber optic costs, make sure to factor in production costs such as labor, tools and other elements needed to terminate fiber optic cable accurately. Then, decide which type of fiber optic cables and assemblies will work best for your project.

Need helping decide which cable will be the best for your business? Send us an email to sales@westpennwire.com. One of our Product Line Managers or Sales team members will assist you in the right cable, connectors or pre-terminated cables or assemblies for any project.

Want to build your own assemblies? Click to see our cable builder:

View Brand New Cable Builder


Topics: Fiber Optics Assemblies, Fiber Optic Cable, Fiber Optic, Pre-Terminated Fiber Optic Assemblies

Subscribe to our blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Tag

see all