Fiber Connector and Fiber Connector Types
The fiber optic connector terminates the end of a fiber optic cable and offers quicker connection and disconnection compared to splicing. Connectors match up the fibers from the cables so they are aligned and allow light to pass through and continue signal transmission. High quality connectors prevent misalignment and air gaps between fibers, minimizing the reflection or loss of signal. Of the many different fiber connector types, connectors for both glass fiber cable and plastic fiber optic cable are available. Some manufacturers will assemble the connectors onto the fiber cable before distributing the cable, making it a quicker and easier install. But depending on the project field assembly may be preferred.
There are a number of connector styles on the market including LC, FC, MTP/MPO, and SC Connectors, which are the most popular connectors. Manufacturers and distributors are more likely to have equipment to accommodate SC and ST style connectors than any other connector style.
Fiber Connector Types
Here is a helpful fiber optic connector types chart for your reference. MTP/MPO type connector cables aren't listed here simply because they are a bit newer and have a different build than older fiber connector types. Single mode fiber is also known as OS2. You may notice that underneath single mode, there are two different acronyms, APC and UPC. These are fiber polish types. APC, or angled polish connectors, have an angled polish as the name suggests. This is the most optimum polish type for minimum signal loss. UPC, or ultra physical contact, is a dome shaped polish type that also has minimum fiber loss, second only to APC.
SC connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. They offer low cost, simplicity, and durability. SC connectors provide for accurate alignment via their ceramic ferrules. An SC connector is a push-on, pull-off connector with a locking tab. Typical matched SC connectors are rated for 1000 mating cycles and have an insertion loss of 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for SC connectors.
The ST Connector is a keyed bayonet connector and is used for both multimode and single-mode fiber-optic cables. It can be inserted into and removed from a fiber-optic cable both quickly and easily. Method of location is also easy. ST connectors come in two versions: ST and ST-II. These are keyed and spring-loaded. They are push-in and twist types. ST connectors are constructed with a metal housing and are nickel-plated. They have ceramic ferrules and are rated for 500 mating cycles. The typical insertion loss for matched ST connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for ST connectors.
LC connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. The LC connectors are constructed with a plastic housing and provide for accurate alignment via their ceramic ferrules. LC connectors have a locking tab. LC connectors are rated for 500 mating cycles. The typical insertion loss for matched LC connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for LC connectors.
MTP/MPO connectors are used with single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. The MTP/MPO is a connector manufactured specifically for a multifiber ribbon cable. The MTP/MPO single-mode connectors have an angled ferrule allowing for minimal back reflection, whereas the multimode connector ferrule is commonly flat. The ribbon cable is flat and appropriately named due to its flat ribbon-like structure, which houses fibers side by side in a jacket. The typical insertion loss for matched MTP/MPO connectors is 0.25 dB. From a design perspective, it is recommended to use a loss margin of 0.5 dB or the vendor recommendation for MTP/MPO connectors.