Fiber Connector Types: Complete Guide

Fiber Connector

A fiber optic connector, which is available in numerous types and configurations, is regarded as a crucial part of the fiber optic cable. What are the types of fiber connectors?

There are numerous fiber connectors that can be used today. While some are cutting-edge, others are older and date back to the early days of fiber technology. Today, ST, SC, FC, MT-RJ, and LC connectors are the most widely used types, while Plastic FOC, Opti-Jack, LX-5, Volition, MU, and E2000 are less popular choices.

In general, different fiber cable connector types can be divided into different categories based on various criteria, including utilization, fiber count, fiber mode, transmission method, transmission media, boot length, polishing type, termination method, etc.

To classify different fiber connector types, refer to this article.

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Different Fiber Connector Types

ST Connector
The ST connector is still one of the most popular connectors, particularly for multimode networks found in most buildings and on college campuses. The connector is very easy to use due to its spring-loaded, keyed, and “push in and twist” mechanism within its design. The ST connector has a long cylindrical 2.5mm ceramic or polymer ferrule to hold the fiber and a bayonet mount.

SC Connector
The SC connector is a snap-in connector that, like the ST connector, also has a 2.5mm ferrule and is renowned for its superior performance. The connector is straightforward, reliable, and inexpensive. It’s a popular option because of how easily you can push on and pull off.

SC Connector

Ferrule Core (FC) Connector
The FC connector was very common in fiber optic networks, but SC and LC have begun to replace it more and more recently. A threaded container and a key that is aligned are used by the connector. It can perfectly maintain its position once it has been set.

The MT- RJ is a duplex connector with a single polymer ferrule containing both fibers. In addition to having male, female, plug, and jack formats, it uses pins for alignment. Due to the fact that most test sets do not support direct adaption to the connector, the MT-RJ is a duplex and is frequently challenging to test.

Lucent Connector (LC)
Within single-mode networks, LC connectors are extremely common. It is well known for its small size and strong performance. In comparison to SC connectors, LC connectors have ferrules that are 1.25mm in diameter. It’s also commonly referred to as the “little connector”.

Plastic Fiber Optic Cable Connectors
Comparatively speaking to glass fiber, plastic FOC connectors are not very common. These inexpensive connectors are primarily made and used for simple applications. Plastic connectors typically do not come with polished or epoxy options.

The RJ-45 connector, which is more widely used, is remarkably similar to the Opti-Jack duplex connector. The robust duplex connector maintains the same size as RJ-45 connectors and is built around two ST-Type ferrules. The connectors are male and female plug and jack.

The LX-5 has a shutter covering the fiber end and is very similar to an LC connector. High density, high performance, and dependable connections are all features of the LX-5. The connector uses a 1.25mm ferrule with a metal shutter. Both CATV applications and telecommunication networks frequently employ LX-5 connectors. This connector has one of the lowest insertion losses, at just 0.1 db.

Volition Connector
Because it doesn’t use a ferrule, the Volition connector has a distinctive design. Instead, this style of the connector has a V-shaped groove to align fibers. Additionally affordable is the duplex plug and jack connector.

The 1.25mm ferrule on MU connectors makes them resemble SC in miniature. The MU connector can be used in dense applications because of its small size and reduced footprint. The connector is square and locks with a push-pull mechanism. This kind of connector is more common in places like Japan.

E2000 Connector
In contemporary telecommunications networks, the E2000 connector is mainly utilized. A special spring-loaded shutter on the connector shields the ferrule from scuffs, dust, and other damage. Different coefficients of expansion do not cause any issues with the connector because it uses a monobloc ceramic ferrule. Push-pull locking connectors are used by the E2000. At just 0.1 db, the E2000 has one of the lowest return losses in the sector.

MPO/MTP connectors
In high-density cabling environments, such as data centers, MPO or MTP-terminated cables are frequently used. A skilled technician must individually terminate each fiber in a traditional, tightly buffered multi-fiber cable. Pre-terminated MPO cable is available for carrying multiple fibers. Factory-terminated MPO/MTP connectors frequently have either a 12-fiber or a 24-fiber array. Multi-Fiber Push On is referred to as MPO. In enclosed spaces, this connector is frequently used to terminate multi-fiber ribbon connections. The two connectors hardly differ at all to the unaided eye.

Simplex Vs Duplex Fiber Connectors

When two simplex connectors and a simplex fiber cable are used to transmit a signal from device A to devise B, the signal can only travel in one direction and cannot return from device B to devise A using the same path. On the other hand, a duplex connection—also known as a duplex connection—can be used to implement the revised transmission using duplex connectors and duplex fiber cable. Additionally, a duplex fiber optic connector requires two strands of fibers to connect, in contrast to a simplex fiber optic connector, which is frequently connected with one strand of glass or plastic fiber.

Single Mode Vs Multimode Fiber Connectors

In contrast to multimode fiber, which can propagate multiple modes simultaneously, single-mode fiber only permits one light mode to pass through it at a time. Due to their combination with the appropriate type of optical fibers, single-mode and multimode fiber connectors are affected by diversity. The SC, LC, and FC fiber optic connectors offered by fiber optic connector factories, however, are compatible with both single-mode and multimode fiber cables as a result of the advancement of technology.

Standard Boot Vs Short Boot Connectors

There are standard boot structures and short boot structures depending on the boot length. A typical boot can shield the cable and connector from harm, such as wires coming loose from the connector body. Short boots are distinguished by having a shorter boot structure, despite serving the same purpose. Short boot cables may be the best option for locations with limited connector space. The installation and maintenance of the fiber optic cables are more effectively accomplished thanks to the short boot structure design, which allows the cable to pass through the restricted area without compromising performance.

APC/PC/UPC Fiber Optic Connectors

PC, UPC, and APC connectors are the three categories that optical fiber cable connectors fall under depending on how they are polished. These three different connector types can be easily distinguished thanks to the color codes: the PC connector is indicated by black, the APC fiber connector by green, and the UPC connector by blue. The three fiber optic connectors’ structure and functionality also differ, which has an impact on the insertion loss and return loss figures. This article clarified the differences between the connector types PC, UPC, and APC for you.

Field-terminated Vs Pre-terminated Fiber Connectors

The goal of field termination, as the name suggests, is to cut off the fiber end in the field. The process involves stripping the cable, preparing the epoxy, applying the connector, polishing, inspecting, and testing for the connection. To complete the termination, a sizable number of tools and qualified technicians are needed.

Cables and fibers that have been terminated with a connector in the factory are referred to as factory termination, also known as factory pre-termination. The pre-terminated cables have fiber optic connectors installed with factory-level accuracy and quality control in pre-measured lengths. Factory pre-terminated solutions are simpler to install and require fewer technical skills due to the reduction of laborious process and tools.