Fiber Optic PC Connectors: Single-channel vs. Multi-channel

Fiber Optic PC Connectors: Single-channel vs. Multi-channel

Over the past 30 years, fiber optic technology has spanned its commitment constantly with the even more endeavors nowadays to meet the ever-increasing networking bandwidth for high-quality Internet applications. In these applications, fiber optic connectors, serving as mousetraps, are used to couple the source, receiver and other components to the fiber optic cable. Fiber optic connectors generally use either physical contact (PC) or expanded beam technology. This article mainly discusses PC connectors from single-channel and multi-channel aspects.

It’s necessary to figure out what PC connections are first.

What Are PC Connection?

A PC connection is accomplished by terminating the optical fiber into a precise ceramic ferrule. The tip of the ceramic ferrule is polished in a precise manner to ensure that light enters and exits at a known trajectory with little scattering or optical loss. In achieving PC connection, there are two requirements for a cleaved fiber end-face for PC connection. One is that the fiber end face inclination is less than 0.6°, and the other is that there is no mist on the end face.

PC Connector Types

There are countless single-channel and multi-channel fiber optic PC connector types available for telecommunication and data communication industries.

Single-channel Connectors

PC connectors are characteristic of directly mating and polishing fibers by utilizing tight tolerance ferrules and alignment sleeves and/or mating pins. This ceramic-ferruled technology permits reliable optical performance, with several designs becoming widely used as industry standards. Typically, these connectors are single fiber solutions with plastic shells. FC and ST connectors are becoming less popular but are still used in instrumentation. LC and SC connectors are commonly used in the telecommunication industry.

As a push-pull connector, LC connector, licensed by Lucent Technologies, provides a pull-proof design and small size perfect for high-density applications. It’s available in simplex or duplex versions, widely used in 10Gigabit, 40Gigabit and 100Gigabit applications. Like Cisco QSFP-40GE-LR4 transceiver, QSFP-40GE-LR4 listed on Fiberstore establishes 40Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) links with this duplex LC connector for 10km maximum link length over single-mode fiber (SMF).

SC connector, developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), is recommended in the TIA/EIA-568-A Standard for structured cabling. It’s also available in simplex or duplex versions, typically used in Analog CATV (Cable Television) and other telecoms applications including point to point and passive optical networking.

Multi-channel Connectors

Multi-channel connectors house multiple fiber optic termini in a precision insertion. The termini can be configured as a pin/socket combination or genderless. MTP/MPO connectors belong to PC multi-channel connector.

The US CONEC MTP is a MPO compatible connector that exhibits quick and reliable connections for up to 12 fibers in a very small form factor. Just like LC connector, 40G links are likely to deploy this kind of MPO-12 connector for high performance. Take Cisco QSFP-40G-CSR4 for example, this QSFP-40G-CSR4 transceiver sets up 40G links in 850nm multi-mode fiber (MMF), with MPO-12 as its connector.

Optical Performance

Both single-channel and multi-channel PC connectors have optical performance characterized by return loss. The return loss of the connector is a measurement of how much light is reflected back at the connector interface. It’s affected by alignment, contamination and polishing. For example, if the mating faces of the two fibers are not parallel, some energy reflects back to the source. Additionally, contamination at the mating interface causes reflection and scattering of light. What’s more, a poor polish may create an end-gap separation or an end-angle.

Featuring by the tightest tolerance ceramic ferrules and alignment sleeves, coupled with the highest quality termination and polishing procedures, PC connections are able to deliver unrivaled optical performance.

Conclusion

Fiber optic connectors make quick fiber connection and efficient light transmission possible, gaining more and more popularity among their users. Fiberstore offers hundreds of fiber optic connectors, such as FC, D4, DIN, MU, the MTP/MPO ST, SC and LC, as well as their related optic modules (eg. QSFP-40GE-LR4 and QSFP-40G-CSR4 mentioned above). You can visit Fiberstore for more information about fiber optic connectors.

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