Fiber Connector Types and How They Work

May 18, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

There is no shortage of options available when it comes to fiber optic cables. We’ve discussed the different fiber terms, what they mean and how to read them. Now, we’ll take a closer look at fiber connector types.

 

There are numerous fiber optic connectors on the market today. The most common connector types are LC, SC, and ST styles.

 

ST – This connector type is still widely deployed in fiber networks. These connectors employ a bayonet style mount and cylindrical 2.5 mm ferrule that’s usually made of ceramic, but sometimes is constructed of metal or plastic. ST connectors are spring-loaded, so they must be properly seated/aligned to avoid high-loss.

 

SC - These snap-in connectors feature a 2.5 mm ferrule that keeps them secure in the port. The snap-in design latches with a simple push-pull motion. These connectors are available in simplex and duplex configurations.

 

FC – These connectors also use a 2.5 mm ferrule. They screw-in to connect firmly, though the key must be properly aligned in the slot before tightening. FC connectors were the most popular connector type for many years, but have largely been replaced by SC and LC connectors.

 

MT-RJ – These duplex connectors house both fibers in one polymer ferrule. They use pins for alignment and are offered in male and female versions. This connector type is not very widely used.

 

LC – These connectors use a standard ceramic ferrule. What sets theses connectors apart from other styles is that they are small form factor connectors that use a 1.25 mm ferrule and are half the size of SC connectors. LC connectors have been the most widely used interfaces in networking equipment over the past 10/15 years due to their small size.

 

All of these connectors are available in both Single mode and Multimode versions. ST, SC and FC connectors use the same 2.5 mm ferrule size, so they can me mixed and matched when connected using hybrid mating adapters as shown here:

 

ST > FC

SC > FC

SC > ST

 

There are three optional polish types that can be applied to fiber connectors: physical contact (PC), ultra-physical contact (UPC) or angled physical contact (APC). Each polish type provides a different level of back reflection, which is a measurement, in decibels, of the light reflected off the end of a fiber connector, and can be critical in some applications.

 

Click here to watch our video on fiber optic connector types.

 

For an in depth look at fiber connector colors, check out this blog post.

 

IP Ratings for Dummy’s

April 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Don’t know an IP rating from an IP address? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. First, IP ratings have absolutely nothing to do with IP addresses. In this case, IP stands for ingress protection. Ingress protection (IP) ratings are used to measure a product’s level of protection against liquids and solids - qualities that can be very important for expensive communications equipment, especially when exposed to harsh environments.

 

An IP rating consists of two digits, each with its own meaning. The first number in the rating represents protection from solid objects and particulates such as dust and sand. These numbers range from 0 to 6. A rating of 0 means there is no protection and a 6 means the product is 100% protected.

 

The second digit in the rating signifies how well the part is protected from liquids. These numbers range from 0 to 8 with levels of protection varying from no protection to fully protected even when completely submerged and under pressure.

 

A variety of IP-rated communication system components are available to support a wide range of applications where standard products will not work.  These include IP67 and IP68 cable assemblies, couplers and adapters. Waterproof varieties also include USB, Ethernet, video and fiber optic products designed for unforgiving industrial environments.

 

Here is an example and a chart to illustrate exactly how IP ratings work:

  

 

 

To view all of our IP-rated products for use in extreme conditions, click here.

 

5 Fun Facts About Fiber Optic Cables

September 1, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

Sure they are lightweight, thin and fast, but what else is there to know about fiber optic cables? Whether you know everything about fiber cable or are a fiber novice, we have got a treat for you.

   

Here are 5 fun facts about fiber cables: 

1

 Fiber optics has a long history.

Though fiber cabling debuted in the 1950s, the technology for fiber optics dates back long before the 20th century. As far back as the Roman Empire, glass has been drawn into fibers. In the 1790s the French Chappe brothers invented the first optical telegraph. In the 1840s two physicists demonstrated that light could be bent by jets of water in fountain displays. In 1854 a British physicist used a stream of water to prove that light could be bent. And in 1880 Alexander Graham Bell patented an optical telephone system called a photophone.

 

2.        Fiber cables are not fragile.

Some aspects of working with glass fiber do require more care, but fiber optic cables are designed to withstand some of the most rugged installations. In fact, the military often depends on fiber cable to keep communication open in the toughest conditions. For a quick comparison, fiber optic cable can be rated to withstand more than 200 pounds of pulling tension (depending on cable construction); while Category rated Ethernet cables are limited to approximately 25 pounds (per TIA/EIA-568A standards).

 

3.        Fiber cables support wireless networks too.

Telecommunications companies rely heavily on fiber optic cable to carry wireless phone and data signals from towers back to the central network. Fiber is their top choice because of its great bandwidth, low attenuation and extreme distance capabilities.

4.  
  Fiber cables are a green technology.

We can all do our part and fiber optic cables are no different.  The amount of energy it takes to send a flash of light across a fiber optic cable is significantly less than that required to send electrical signals (copper cables). Less energy means less carbon output, lower emissions and greener operations. 

 

5.        Fiber cabling is not a one-trick-pony.

        Fiber optic cables are not limited to voice, video and data transmission.                         They are now used in many areas including:

·       Hydrophones (Seismic & SONAR)

·       Imaging optics

·       Digital Signage

·       Spectroscopy - the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation

 

For more information on fiber optic cables and fiber technology, click here.

 

How it Works: Fiber Optics

October 8, 2015 at 8:00 AM

 

Remember when you were a kid and would tie two tin cans together with a string to create a make-shift telephone?  Now imagine a high-tech version of that using pipe instead of a string, and if you shine a flashlight down that pipe it can be seen at the other end, despite curves and twists.  Turning the light on and off would allow you to communicate via Morse code.

 

Essentially, this is how fiber optic cables work, but they can carry millions of conversations and billions of bits of information per second!

 

Fiber optic cables use light pulses to transmit data from one end to the other. A coded beam of light is sent down a glass core that is surrounded by a mirror-like covering called cladding.

 

The cable’s core is made up of a thin strand of glass comparable to the thickness of a human hair. The glass is so pure that it allows light to shine through even though it may be several miles long.

 

The cladding covers the glass core to essentially create a mirror around the optical fiber and keeps the light contained.

 

Data transmissions made of light pass through the core, bouncing off of the cladding until it reaches the other end of the cable, where it is received and decoded by a fiber optic transceiver.

 

There are two types of glass fiber-optic cables: Single mode and Multimode.

 

Single mode is the simplest type of fiber optic cable.  Its core is small in diameter (typically 9 microns) and carries light signals straight down the middle of the fiber core without “bouncing” off the cladding. Single mode is ideal for longer distances and higher bandwidth applications. It can send information more than 100 kilometers before a repeater is necessary and is generally used in cable TV, internet and telephone applications.

 

Multimode fiber optic cable is larger in diameter (typically 50 or 62.5 microns). Its optical fibers are almost 10 times bigger than those in Single mode cable and allow light beams to travel through the core by following various paths. Multimode is used to send information over shorter distances. It is more economical, easier to work with and more common for Enterprise and SMB computer networks.

 

 No matter which type of fiber optic cable you choose, they all posses the following characteristics

 

·       Very low attenuation or loss over distance

·       Immunity to EMI and RFI

·       Hard to “tap” very secure

·       Very high bandwidth handling capabilities

 

Originally developed for medical use, fiber optic cables have revolutionized the telephone industry and have made internet accessible to the world. The possibilities for future applications are endless.

  

Explore our Fiber Optic product offering and check out our informative video that explains the different types of fiber optic cable.

 

 

The Advantages of Fiber Optics in Harsh Environments

December 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 

A few weeks ago we posted about ruggedized cabling and how important it is to use such cables in applications with harsher environments. As a follow up, today we’ll talk about several benefits of using fiber optic technology in harsh environment communication systems.

 

First of all, fiber is immune to EMI and RFI "noise" which is commonly encountered on a manufacturing floor or processing plant. This could be a huge factor when planning for a network set up.

 

Secondly, fiber can support very long distances before a repeater is necessary, covering thousands of kilometers either inside and/or outside of an industrial facility.

 

Fiber also offers higher bandwidth compared to copper cabling and can be used in voice, video and data applications. This is commonly seen with IP surveillance cameras and NVR's located throughout a facility.

 

Lastly, the cost of fiber continues to decline as many manufacturers (both domestic and foreign) can now produce high quality fiber cabling, connectors, and transceivers.

Amazing features and its inexpensive? We’ll take it!

So if you are considering changing over to fiber cables or are already in need of connectors, adapters and other communication components for harsh environments, look no further.

 

You can choose from a wide variety of L-com fiber optic cable assemblies for harsh environments that are industrial and military grade. There are multiple cable options, including Single mode and Multimode as well as special crush and impact resistant jacketed fiber cables.

 

In addition to cable assemblies, take a look at the couplers and adapters meant for harsh environments. The Mil ST line of connectors and couplers meet or exceed 100% of the requirements of the military specification MIL-C-83522.

 

These highly durable connectors and couplers are built to withstand extreme temperature change, shock, vibration and corrosion. They are ideal for military, aircraft, spacecraft, shipboard and land-based applications. An added bonus with these connectors is that they are available in either locking (ANX, ANY) or non-locking (DNX, DNY) variations and use a convenient screw boot that eliminates the need for a cumbersome boot tool.

The Ruggedized COTS ST Connectors and Couplers, which are designed to be a more economical counterpart to the MIL-C-83522 line, feature a non-optical disconnect with nickel-plated brass or stainless steel configurations.

 

Finally, have a look at the FOC-XPLC2-MM and FOC-XPLC2-SM Industrial LC Plugs. These plugs provide a robust fiber connection in virtually any harsh environment. In addition to offering IP66/IP67 protection, the cable to plug strain relief has been dramatically improved over standard fiber jumpers. The plug kits include duplex Single mode or Multimode LC fiber connectors, industrial plug housing, a specialized fiber bend relief boot and heavy duty strain relief crimp components.

 

What fiber optic networking products have you used in your harsh application? Share with us below.

 

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