eFunda: Fiber Optic Connectors
engineering fundamentals Fiber Optic Connectors
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Connector Challenges
Fiber optic connectors are necessary for plug-and-play and removable hook-ups, yet their design is a challenge since efficiently moving light between conduits offers many mechanical and optical hurdles. Connectors are difficult to implement since they must align an extremely small fiber with either a small optoelectronic element or with another fiber. In addition, connectors must be usable by untrained personnel and they must be extremely low cost. Termination of the fiber within the connector is another issue.

The following list summarizes important connector issues:

  1. Cost.
  2. Light losses.
  3. Compatibility with mating connectors.
  4. Ease of use.
  5. Ease of termination.
  6. Number of connections possible.
Patch Panels and Wall Outlets
Fiber optic connectors are often installed in what are known as patch panels. Patch panels allow organized arrangement and re-arrangement of fiber optic interconnection hardware, and are commonly seen at the locations of routers and hubs. Patch panels allow all connectors to be in plain view at once where they can be easily labelled for improved fiber management. An example of a patch panel is illustrated in the figure below.

Wall outlets allow a fiber optic line to be connected to premises wiring. Wall outlets are often protected from dust either by facing the opening downward or by the implementation of a closing cover.

Examples of Connectors
Below are illustrated several types of fiber optic connectors in common use today.

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

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