The History of Connectors
Fiber Connectors, there are many types - but what do they do, and what are they for?
Originally fiber to fiber connections were permanent and connected together by fusion splicing. Fusion splicing is the art of precisely aligning two fibers, then using an incredible amount of heat to melt the glass fiber and fuse the two fibers together. This process is carried out using a fusion splicer - a piece of kit that can quickly and easily fuses one set of fibers (or 12 using the Fujikura 70R), at the same time.
Splicing fibers together in this way, means creating a permanent link. A permanent link limits the flexibility of a network but ensures the highest possible network performance. This practice is well suited to long-haul telecommunication networks, where long cable runs and minimal network losses are essential. In comparison, fiber connectors are used to terminate the end of an optical fiber. They allow optical fibers to be connected and disconnected quickly and safely, but most importantly, they align fiber cores for light to pass from one connector, to another. Using connectors also allows you to introduce maintenance, testing, repairs, and the possibility of easily reconfiguring, connecting and disconnecting your network, and also give you the advantage of:
Easy installation: Connectors can connect and disconnect with minimal fuss.
Low cost: Fiber connectors are generally made of plastic, metal and ceramics.
Reliability: Connectors can be used, and re-used a number of times, and are often used in assemblies that form part of 25 year network warranties.
Easy to use: Inspect, Clean, Reinspect, Connect!
Low Insertion Loss: Insertion Loss (IL) is the measure of the amount of light that is lost between two fixed points of a cable link.
High Return Loss: Return loss is the amount of light signal that bounces back in the direction it transmitted from. Light can return for a number of reasons, including broken fiber, dirty connectors, poor fiber core to fiber core alignment, or the fiber cable was bent too much
Different fiber connectors have different mechanical and performance properties - lets take a look back at some of the connectors that have graced the market over the years: