What are the types of fiber connectors?
There are a multitude of fiber connectors available for use today. Some date back to the early days of fiber technology and have now become obsolete while others are on the cutting edge. The most commonly used connectors today are ST, SC, FC, MT-RJ, & LC connectors while Plastic FOC, Opti-Jack, LX-5, Volition, MU, and E2000 are less used options. Finally, MPO / MTP connectors are fiber connectors which have become widely used in today’s data centers.
The ST connector remains one of the most widely used connectors especially for multimode networks such as college campuses and most buildings. The connector is very easy to use due to its spring loaded, keyed, and “push in and twist” mechanism within its design. The ST connector features a bayonet mount and a long cylindrical 2.5mm ceramic or polymer ferrule to hold the fiber.
The SC is a snap-in connector which also features a 2.5mm ferrule much like the ST connector and is known for its excellent performance. The connector is simple, rugged, and low cost. It’s simple push on/pull off operations makes it a popular choice.
Ferrule Core (FC) Connector
The FC connector was widely popular within fiber optic networks however its use has been dwindling in recent times replaced with SC and LC. The connector uses a threaded container and aligned key. Once positioned it can remain in place with perfect precision.
The MT- RJ is a duplex connector where both fibers are in a single polymer ferrule. It utilizes pins for alignment and has male, female, and plug and jack formats. The MT-RJ is a duplex and is often difficult to test, as most tests sets do not allow direct adaption to the connector.
Lucent Connector (LC)
The LC connectors are highly popular within single mode networks. It is known for good performance and small size. LC connectors have a 1.25mm ferrule, approximately half the size of SC connectors. It’s also commonly referred to as the “little connector”.
Plastic Fiber Optic Cable Connectors
Plastic FOC connectors are not very popular when compared to glass fiber. These connectors are cheap and are mainly designed and used for easy application. Polished or epoxy options are usually not available with plastic connectors.
Opti-Jack duplex connectors greatly resembles the commonly known RJ-45 connector. The rugged duplex connector is designed around two ST-Type ferrules and maintains the same size as RJ-45 connectors. The connectors are plug and jack (male and female).
The LX-5 is much like an LC connector but features a shutter over the end of the fiber. The LX-5 is known to provide high density, high performance, and reliable connections. The connector utilizes a 1.25mm ferrule with a metal shutter. LX-5 connectors are commonly used in CATV applications as well as telecommunication networks. The insertion loss of this connector is one of the lowest at just 0.1 db.
The Volition connector is unique in its design since it does not use a ferrule. Instead, this type of connector features a V-shaped groove to align fibers. The plug and jack duplex connector is inexpensive as well.
MU connectors resemble a miniature version of SC with a 1.25mm ferrule. Its small size allows the MU connector to have a reduced footprint and are used in dense applications. The connector is square and uses a push-pull mechanism to lock. This type of connector is more popular in countries such as Japan.
The E2000 connector is mainly used in modern telecommunication networks. The connector features a unique spring-loaded shutter that protects the ferrule from dirt, dust, and scratches. Since the connector uses a monobloc ceramic ferrule, problems related to different co-efficient of expansion are nonexistent. The E2000 utilizes a push-pull locking connector. The E2000’s return loss is one of the lowest in the industry at just 0.1 db.
MPO or MTP terminated cables are widely used in high-density cabling environments like data centers. Traditional, tight-buffered multi-fiber cable needs to have each fiber individually terminated by a skilled technician. MPO cable which carries multiple fibers comes pre-terminated. Factory terminated MPO / MTP connectors commonly have either 12 fiber or 24 fiber array. MPO stands for Multi-Fiber Push On. This connector is commonly used to terminate multi-fiber ribbon connections in indoor environments. People use the terms MPO and MTP interchangeably and many customers have asked us to clarify the difference between the two.
MPO is a fiber connector type while MTP is a registered trademark of an MPO connector manufactured by US Conec. All MTPs are MPOs but not all MPOs are MTPs. MTP stands for “Multi-fiber Termination Push-on” connector. MTP connectors are engineered for high mechanical and optical specs. Some of these features are covered by patents. To the naked eye, there is very little difference between the two connectors. In cabling, they are compatible with each other. The MPO connector can be either male or female. You can tell the male connector by the two alignment pins protruding from the end of the ferrule. MPO female connectors will have holes in the ferrule to accept the alignment pins from the male connector.
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