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What is a Fiber-Optic Connector?

C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

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.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

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.

One common type of fiber-optic connector is known as the FC/PC. This connector has a pin that connects to the female component and screws tightly into place. Though these connectors have been used for a long time, in 2011, snap-type connectors, such as the LC and the SC connectors are becoming more popular.

The ST fiber-optic connector is one of the most common. Major telecommunication companies often use this type of connector because it is easy to install and relatively inexpensive. Loss of data can occur with this type of connector if the cable is misaligned with the female component. Simply unplugging and replugging the device is generally enough to correct this loss. An MT fiber-optic connector is a similar device, with 12 heads, that is used to connect to ribbon cable.

A number of different types of problems must be overcome by a fiber-optic connector. These include situations in which the two sides of the fiber-optic lines do not touch or do not line up perfectly. Problems with the connection cause a loss of data and speed in the line.

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