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Published On: Mon, Dec 17th, 2018

Choosing Fiber Optic Connectors For LAN

Cabling of local area network systems is complex. Contractors should consider a multitude of factors to do their job well. The choice of proper connectors is a crucial factor for overall success.

Aside from cables, installers have to arrange all sorts of accessories and make sure they are suitable. For instance, they may need to use a FTTH Drop cable clamp and other paraphernalia. There are different connectors now on the market, and the tools for each fiber-connection method are unique.

photo Stephan Ridgway via wikimedia commons

Basics Types

Here are the main kinds of fiber connector and their distinctive feature:

 

  • Straight-tip (ST). This type has a bayonet made of metal, plastic or ceramic.

 

  1. Subscriber connectors (SC). The distinguishing feature is its cross-section, which is square-shaped and made of plastic.
  2. Small-form factors (SFF). These resemble conventional phone line connectors both in shape and size.

The key difference between the categories is that the first two require an alignment sleeve and use a common male/female connection, while the third one needs a plug and a receptacle. Cost-wise, STs are the most affordable option, while SFFs are the priciest.

The first two kinds of connectors need around 5 minutes for termination, including preparation and set up. There are five varieties of SFF connectors, each with its own unique features and special application methods.

Examples

The oldest and the simplest, although versatile, model, the Optijack, is based on the conventional ST/SC 2.5mm ferrule and it has a plug/jack configuration with a possibility of connecting a plug/plug adaptor. Termination may be performed using common tools, and the device is compatible with regular zip cord cables.

Many manufacturers now offer the MT-RJ-a molded-body, small duplex connector. Its two fibers are 750mm apart, and termination is done using epoxy polish. Another thing distinguishing recent designs is their “cleave and leave” technology. This means that the fiber stub is pre-polished.

Any specialist will confirm that polishing, which precedes assembly, may be complicated, in particular for male-half molded ends. The new generation of connectors, on the other hand, sometimes uses inexpensive cleavers, which raise the probability of mistakes during field terminations, as cleaves must be perfect.

Basic Termination Procedures

As an example, here are the guidelines for MT-RJ:

– Make sure to keep the dust cap on at all times;

– Maintain a clean, dust-free environment, or keep its levels to a minimum;

– When stripping the fiber, remember to remove coating particles from the glass;

– Get a good cleave on the fiber;

– Prepolish the fiber if necessary and mate it to the stub.

It is estimated that the cost of technician labor can amount to a third of total fiber optic LAN installation. Consequently, the choice of the system may be crucial for the bottom line. Importantly, connectors are not usually offered as separate items that could be installed in some universal way. Each connector and manufacturer will have their own way of installation.

Author: Hillary Walker

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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