Optical fiber connector is a flexible device which is used for connecting and disconnecting optical fiber cable. Optical fibers terminate Fiber Optic connections to fiber equipment or to join two or more fiber cables without splicing. There are many types of optical fiber connector are available in the market, but the key to differentiate among connectors is well defined by the mechanical coupling techniques and their dimensions. Connectors are used to ensure stable connections of cable, so that fiber ends are optically smooth and the both positions are perfectly aligned.
Basic modules of an optical fiber connector are a sub assembly body, ferrule, cable, connector housing and stress relief boot. The ferrule is composed of hardened material (mostly stainless steel and tungsten carbide) and it guarantees alignment during the connector mating. The coupling device serves the purpose of male-female configuration and connector body clamps the ferrule.
Fiber types of fiber optic connectors are classified into simplex, duplex and multiple fiber connectors. A simplex connector has single fiber terminated within the connector and duplex connector has two fibers terminated in the connector while multiple fiber connectors have two or more fibers terminated in the connector. Optical fiber connectors are different from other electronic connectors in a way that they do not have a jack or plug design. As a substitute they use fiber mating sleeve for connection purposes.
Some commonly used connectors are listed below:
- FC (Fixed Connection Connector): used for high speed communication links and single mode fibers.
- FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface): is a duplex connector which is used for a fixed shroud.
- LC (Local Connection Connector): has an advantage of small form factor optical transmitter and receiver assemblies and is widely used in public and private networks.
- SC (Subscriber Connector): used in simplex and multiple applications and is best for used in high density applications.
- D4 Connector: single fiber connector with a keyed body for easy intermateability.
ESCON (Enterprise System Connection): created by IBM and are typically used to connect from a wall outlet to an optical device.