Posted in Article, Copper Networks

How to Choose Pre-terminated Copper Trunk Cables?

For data center and enterprise deployments, pre-terminated copper trunk cables are wonderful solutions to achieve simple and quick installation. Compared to field terminations, copper trunk cables with factory terminations save time and labor cost. This article will take you to know the fundamentals of copper trunks and ways to select the right one for your project.

Features of Pre-terminated Copper Trunks

Copper trunks are designed for copper networks. It reduces labor costs with fast and easy installation. This type of trunk cables can fit most patch panel port densities. Using the pre-terminated copper trunks also improves better airflow and cable management. Assemblies are terminated and usually tested by reliable vendors to ensure efficient and problem-free installations.

Things to Consider for Choosing Pre-terminated Copper Trunks

Choosing a right cable may not be as simple as you think. As for pre-terminated copper trunk cables, here are some aspects that you can consider for your selection.

Termination Types

From different layouts of data centers or telecommunication rooms, termination types are varied. Design philosophy is another factor that will impact the termination of cables. It’s also necessary to take the accessibility of active equipment (i.e. servers and switches) and proper patching into consideration.

  • Jack to jack is the termination type using empty patch panels on each end. It is perfect for fast installation of the cabinet to cabinet permanent link and panel to panel application. Patch cables are used between active equipment and physical layer.
Jack to Jack Copper Trunks
  • Jack to plug termination snaps the jack end into an empty panel and eliminates one cross-connect point by plugging the other end directly into the switch. The jack termination would then be patched to other necessary equipment or work area ports.
Jack to Plug Copper Trunks
  • Plug to plug type is used to complete a direct connection between active equipment. Thus the capability of cross connection is eliminated. It can also be used in an open-space work area as a bundled patch cord group.
Plug to Plug Copper Trunks
  • Jack or plug to open end termination has similar construction as the jack to jack or plug to plug type. But one end is open to be cut to length, and field-terminated to a target termination place (i.e. 110-style panel or wall plate). After the cable termination, field testing of the drops are required.


  • Cassette to plug termination is typically used for in-cabinet or cabinet to cabinet equipment connectivity. One end is terminated with cassette and the other end is terminated with plug. The assembly eliminates one cross-connect point by using the direct plug connection into the active equipment.
Cassette to Plug Copper Trunks
  • Cassette to cassette type can be installed into patch panels on both ends for common interconnection and cross connection enabling a fast installation.
Cassette to Cassette Copper Trunks
Material Fire Ratings

Cable materials are important for deciding the fire ratings of the assemblies. Choosing the right material can reduce the danger of fire. In today’s data centers, most of them employ the riser environment which enables enough airflow. But plenum spaces like drop ceilings or raised floor usually need plenum-rated cables for air circulation to prevent fire. You’d better seek advice from professionals for your application.

Breakthrough Length

As part of the overall length, breakthrough length is the distance from the end of the braided sleeve to connectors at the end of cables. When deciding the breakthrough length, you should consider whether the length has the flexibility to route the cables as needed instead of causing troubles for cable management. Most of the time, a 36-inch breakthrough length is adequate for applications. However, rack or cabinet application may need a longer breakthrough length to spread out connectors farther apart.

Alignment Types

Staggered alignment and even alignment are two types for trunk end. Generally, the former is for jack terminations and the latter is for plug terminations. Since jack terminations are inserted into patch panels, using staggered alignment can help dressing out cables neatly to the side of the rack or cabinet. However, a wide range of locations and density of the connection ports will lead to the use of different active equipment. Adopting the even alignment for plugs ensures a uniform reach for multiple cables in a trunk.


Employing pre-terminated copper trunk cables is a cost-effective solution for large infrastructures with high-density cross-connection and patching systems. It is significant to choose the right cable type to maximize the working efficiency. Hope this article gives you some clues for the cable selection.



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