A fiber optic cable is often connected to another cable or a device, and to establish this connectivity, fiber optic connectors are used. So, they act as an interface between two cables or a cable and device such as fiber media converters, fiber optic switches, and so on. These connectors are mechanically aligned to the optical fiber cores such that a good amount of light passes through them. A very small amount of light may be lost in reflection or wrong fitment of the optical fibers. They are connected to devices wherein optical signals are converted into electrical signals. This post discusses different types of fiber optic connectors, and specific fiber optic connectors used for certain cables.
What Are Fiber Optic Connectors?
As mentioned, they interface between two cables or a cable and a device. While they interface between two distinct cables, they convert an optical signal into an electrical one. These connectors come in a variety of configurations and hold the cable appropriately in its grip so that maximum light is transferred. There are over 100 types of connectors available. Fiber optic connectors terminate the end of an optical fiber and hence facilitate fast connectivity. It is far better than splicing. Their mechanical coupling and grip as well as alignment with the fiber cores enable maximum light transmission. Most of these connectors are spring loaded and the fiber rounds get pressed together when the connecters connect or mate. This reduces the air gaps, and hence signal losses. Their performance is measured in terms of insertion loss and return loss. Broadly speaking, there are two main types of connectors depending upon their number at each end— simplex and duplex. A simplex connector has one connecting point at each end while the duplex has two connectors per end.
Types of Fiber Optic Connectors
There are various types of fiber optic connectors which are quite application specific and are used according to their features and capabilities. The structure of a fiber optic connector comprises a cylindrical ferrule, which helps maintain its positioning and is surrounded by a sleeve. Most of them have a latch or lock system that helps them remain fixed to the cable. Most of these connectors have a ferrule size of around 2.5 mm. Here are some of them:
- SC Connectors: These are cost-effective connectors usually used with single mode fiber optic cables. They can position the cable accurately with regards to the transmitter. They can be locked onto the cable so that they do not come off and disconnect. They find applications in data communication and telecom.
- ST Connectors: This stands for standard connector. This connector was widely used for single mode networks when multimode networks had not gained enough traction. Structure wise, it has a bayonet mount locking system, while the ferrule is similar to most other connectors in terms of size. It may be made of plastic, ceramic, or a metal. They find applications in audio over fiber media converters.
- FDDI Connectors: This stands for Fiber Distributed Data Interface connector. They are widely used for data transfer in LANs and offer a speed of about 100Mbit/s in a periphery of around 200 km. This network has two rings- primary and secondary. These connectors also have roughly the same ferrule size of around 2.5mm.
- MU Connectors: This connector resembles the SC connector in many ways, and is a larger version of the latter. It has a push-pull latch locking system.
- FC Connectors: It stands for Ferrule Core connector. This connector has a threaded body and an excellent vibration resistance. So, it is used in high-vibration environments. You can fix this to the fibers with the help of screws. It is mostly made of ceramic or stainless steel and is used in single mode networks. These connectors find applications in telecommunication, single mode equipment, measuring devices, and more.
There are many other types of single mode and multimode connectors. While some of these find reduced use or application, the good part is these connectors with a same ferrule size can be mixed and matched. They can be adapted for use in multimode networks with the help of hybrid mating adapters. While these connectors have specific applications, they must comply with Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards (FOCIS). This makes it easy to identify the right combination with cables, plugs, and adapters to ensure perfect mating. These standards have certain color codes such as blue for single mode, green for single mode angled connectors, beige for multimode connectors, and so on.
If you are looking to expand your area of network and need gigabit media converters, fiber media converters, fiber optic switches, connectors, and so on, ensure you source them from reliable manufacturers and suppliers. Also, make sure the products that comply with IEEE standards and other required standards and guidelines. VERSITRON is a reliable manufacturer and supplier of various types and configurations of media converters, cables, connectors, switches, and so on.
R.W. Tull is a 17 year veteran at VERSITRON. He interfaces daily with current and potential end-users. Customers include all branches of the US military, government departmental agencies, and commercial accounts such as schools, hospitals, utilities, etc. R.W. regularly consults with customers to assist them in the selection of the best product to suit their particular applications; whether it be maximizing bandwidth or port configuration for the efficiency of the equipment. R.W. also works closely with clients to review layout diagrams and drawings in order to ensure that the best fiber optic solution is achieved for a particular project.