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Fiber-Optic Technologies

Chapter Description

Vivek Alwayn discusses in this chapter the increasing demand of optical-fiber and its wide spread applications ranging from global networks to desktop computers.

Fiber-Optic Cable Termination

There are many types of optical connectors. The one you use depends on the equipment you are using it with and the application you are using it on. The connector is a mechanical device mounted on the end of a fiber-optic cable, light source, receiver, or housing. The connector allows the fiber-optic cable, light source, receiver, or housing to be mated to a similar device. The connector must direct light and collect light and must be easily attached and detached from equipment. A connector marks a place in the premises fiber-optic data link where signal power can be lost and the BER can be affected by a mechanical connection. Of the many different connector types, those for glass fiber-optic cable and plastic fiber-optic cable are discussed in this chapter. Other considerations for terminations are repeatability of connection and vibration resistance. Physical termination density is another consideration. Commonly used fiber-optic connectors are discussed in the following subsections and are shown in Figure 3-15.

Figure 15Figure 3-15 Fiber-Optic Connectors

FC Connectors

These connectors are used for single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. FC connectors offer extremely precise positioning of the fiber-optic cable with respect to the transmitter's optical source emitter and the receiver's optical detector. FC connectors feature a position locatable notch and a threaded receptacle. FC connectors are constructed with a metal housing and are nickel-plated. They have ceramic ferrules and are rated for 500 mating cycles. The insertion loss for matched FC connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for FC connectors.

SC Connectors

SC connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. They offer low cost, simplicity, and durability. SC connectors provide for accurate alignment via their ceramic ferrules. An SC connector is a push-on, pull-off connector with a locking tab. Typical matched SC connectors are rated for 1000 mating cycles and have an insertion loss of 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for SC connectors.

ST Connectors

The ST connector is a keyed bayonet connector and is used for both multimode and single-mode fiber-optic cables. It can be inserted into and removed from a fiber-optic cable both quickly and easily. Method of location is also easy. ST connectors come in two versions: ST and ST-II. These are keyed and spring-loaded. They are push-in and twist types. ST connectors are constructed with a metal housing and are nickel-plated. They have ceramic ferrules and are rated for 500 mating cycles. The typical insertion loss for matched ST connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for ST connectors.

LC Connectors

LC connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. The LC connectors are constructed with a plastic housing and provide for accurate alignment via their ceramic ferrules. LC connectors have a locking tab. LC connectors are rated for 500 mating cycles. The typical insertion loss for matched LC connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for LC connectors.

MT-RJ Connectors

MT-RJ connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. The MT-RJ connectors are constructed with a plastic housing and provide for accurate alignment via their metal guide pins and plastic ferrules. MT-RJ connectors are rated for 1000 mating cycles. The typical insertion loss for matched MT-RJ connectors is 0.25 dB for SMF and 0.35 dB for MMF. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for MT-RJ connectors.

MTP/MPO Connectors

MTP/MPO connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. The MTP/MPO is a connector manufactured specifically for a multifiber ribbon cable. The MTP/MPO single-mode connectors have an angled ferrule allowing for minimal back reflection, whereas the multimode connector ferrule is commonly flat. The ribbon cable is flat and appropriately named due to its flat ribbon-like structure, which houses fibers side by side in a jacket. The typical insertion loss for matched MTP/MPO connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for MTP/MPO connectors.

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