A fiber-optic connector is a device used to plug a fiber-optic cable into an electronic device. It is attached to the end of a fiber-optic cable and designed to keep the fibers in place so that they can be properly aligned with the fibers on the other end of the connection. A number of different connectors are available.
These connectors are almost always male components. This means that they have protruding ends that can be plugged into the female slot on an electronic device or on a fiber-optic adapter that connects two or more cables together. The connectors are specially designed to fit into only one type of female slot. In order to plug one type of connector into a different type of device, a special converter is needed.
The first commercially available fiber-optic connector was a large, round, metal device. The fibers in the cable were held in place within the head of the connector, which moved to reveal the fibers once the device was plugged in. Advancements in fiber-optic technologies in the 1980s and 1990s led to the development of smaller connectors with ceramic casings. In 2011, about 100 different types of connectors have been put on the market, each attempting to improve performance or lower cost.
Fiber optic connectors comprise of a ferrule, connector body, cable and coupling device. The end of the fiber is mounted on the end of ferrule. It is bored through the center thus cladding the fiber. This often induces scratches on the fiber. Some types of fiber optic connectors are biconic D4, ESCON, FC, FDDI, LC, loopback, MTP, RJ, MU, SC, SMAand ST.
Fiber optic connectors can be installed by various methods depending on the connector types. While connecting, one has to make sure that the ends have a smooth finish and is free from defects such as hackles and fractures. It is essential to remove the coating of the fiber and connect the connector by applying epoxy or by crimping. Subsequently, the fiber end has to be given a good optical finish by cleaving and polishing. Any impurities such as dirt change the geometrical propagation patterns of light and cause scattering.
Fiber optics connectors are considered safe, as they are not affected by electromagnetic fields. They are low weight and have high electrical resistance. These connectors are cost effective and are usable even by untrained personnel.
Fiber optics connectors have low data losses over long distances and have a high transmission capacity. It is no wonder that the era of telecommunications and networking has extensively adopted fiber optic connectors. The primary market for fiber optic connectors is the optical network application. Optical networks transmit voice and data across the country and around the world. The rapid expansion in the use of the Internet drives the optical market, including fiber-optic connectors.