Fibre Optic Connectors

For high-quality fibre optic cable assemblies in industry and building cabling

Fibre optic connectors, such as connectors and couplings, are used to extend fibre optic cables or to establish a device connection. The range of applications for fibre optic cables is almost unlimited. Make the most of your fibre optic connectors by designing them to be detachable. Choose from numerous fibre optic connectors for fibre optic cables made of plastic, plastic and glass, or pure glass fibres (POF, PCF and GOF).

What are fibre optic connectors?

Fibre optic connectors denote all connectors that are exclusively suitable for fibre optic cables and therefore used for optical data transmission. Here, fibre optic signals are transmitted by light.

Fibre optic connectors are also used wherever fibre optic cables are installed, i.e. in data centres or in industry. One thing is certain: connectors create detachable connections and provide a productive speed advantage in the event of repair or maintenance, compared to permanent connections for which the fibres have to be laboriously spliced from two fibre optic cables.

As a result, the connector ensures a reliable fibre optic connection to another fibre optic cable or device. This is crucial for the transmission quality of a fibre optic cable, as it ensures that the light passing through the cable is interrupted as little as possible.

Unlike with connectors for copper-based data cables or power cables, there is no classic distinction made between fibre optic connectors in terms of the connector design (male or female).

Fibre optic connectors have connectors or couplings consisting of two jacks.

Couplings are used to connect two fibre optic cables, each with a connector. This allows fibre optic cables to be extended or installed in a distribution or control cabinet.

Which fibre optic connectors are available and what are the differences between them?

There are many connectors for optical data transmission via fibre optic cables. LAPP offers fibre optic connectors for the fibre optic cable types of glass optic fibre (GOF), plastic optic fibre (POF) and plastic coated fibre (PCF). They are not interchangeable, as the fibre geometries and parameters of the fibre optic cables are not compatible.

Common fibre optic connectors differ in terms of their

  • suitability for a particular type of fibre optic cable,
  • suitability for a particular fibre optic category,
  • their version as a simplex or duplex connector
    (In a duplex version, two simplex connectors are connected together using a clip. The simultaneous installation of two fibre optic cables reduces cabling costs and
  • the level of difficulty during assembly.

Pick up more information about the three different types of fibre optic cables here and find out what single-mode and a multi-mode fibres are and which fibre categories are available here!

Use the following overview to better understand fibre optic connectors:

 

Fibre optic connectors for POF fibre optic cables

Level of difficulty in assembly: low

  Simplex Duplex Multimode
FO5 x   x
ST(BFOC) x   x
F-SMA x   x
HFBR x x x
SC-RJ   x x

Singlemode-Note: Single-mode fibres are only available for GOF fibre optic cables. These are not compatible with POF connectors.

Fibre optic connectors for PCF cables

Level of difficulty in assembly: medium

  Simplex Duplex Multimode
ST(BFOC) x   x
F-SMA x   x
HFBR x   x
SC-RJ   x x

Singlemode-Note: Single-mode fibres are only available for GOF fibre optic cables. These are not compatible with PCF connectors.

Fibre optical connectors for GOF fibre optic cables

Level of difficulty in assembly: high

  Simplex Duplex Singlemode Multimode
ST(BFOC) x   x x
LC x x x x
FC x   x x
SC x x x x
ST-SC   x x x

How are fibre optic connectors assembled with fibre optic cables?

Most fibre optic cables are assembled manually on site. After all, as an end user, you love to have full flexibility for installing and connecting fibre optic cables. But be cautious:

The quality of the fibre optic connection is crucial for the transmission quality of your fibre optic network!

If the connector has become contaminated or the fibres are incorrectly inserted into the ferrule, which means that the two ferrules cannot abut perfectly, your entire transmission system suffers as a result. So maximum precision is required during assembly.

Wouldn't you like to assemble fibre optic cables yourself?

 

You have two options:

  1. You purchase assembled fibre optic cables.
  2. You let the LAPP experts help you. You can find further information about LAPP’s individual fibre optic cable assemblies at the end of the page.

Regardless of whether 1 or 2: unpack, plug in, done!

Connectors for the POF fibre type are generally very easy to handle and can be assembled by means of crimp or clamp connection. Connectors for the PCF fibre type can also easy to assemble using clamping and breakage technology.

However, pre-assembling GOF glass fibre connectors requires prior knowledge. The glass fibres inherently have a significantly smaller fibre diameter, which is why the connectors also have significantly smaller inner bores. When assembling using a bonding and polishing process, absolute precision and glass fibre know-how are required.

With plastic fibre optic cables as well as glass fibre connections, it is essential that the fibre surfaces fit together permanently, thus enabling a strong signal and low insertion loss. For this reason, most fibre optic connectors have a spring connection to guarantee a maximum plastic-to-plastic or glass-to-glass connection.

What do the loss values of fibre optic cable assemblies say?

Insertion loss describes the ratio of the input to output signals. This means: How much signal power can still be measured at the end of a fibre compared to the signal power that was input at the start of a fibre? If the insertion loss measured in decibels (dB) is too high, the transmission literally results in “light loss”.

Insertion loss should therefore be as low as possible. Initially, it depends on the type of fibre optic cable and the connector used. It is also determined by the cleanliness of the connector and the quality of the fibre surfaces at the time of assembly, as well as the number of plug cycles.

Find out more about loss in our fibre optic cables

The return loss, on the other hand, should be as high as possible. In decibels, it describes the ratio of an input signal to the reflected signal. How much of the incident light is reflected at the connector or splice and returns to the light source?

The better the return loss, the better the quality of the fibre optic cable assembly. The loss value depends on the Wavelength, on the fibre optic cable itself, and the precision during assembly.

Which standards regulate the requirements for a fibre optic connector?

The DIN EN 50173 and DIN EN 50174 or the 6-part ISO/IEC 11801 standard series provides insights into standard-compliant fibre optic connection, i.e. transmission requirements with regard to insertion and return loss, permissible connectors for industrial environments or the colour coding of fibre optic cables and couplings.

Where are fibre optic connectors used?

For a long time now, it is clear that fibre optic cables are not only used for expanding the broadband network. On the way to the Smart Factory, fibre optic cables are making data transmission far easier for companies. Single-mode fibres enable transmission distances of up to 80 kilometres from one system to another – distances that copper-based data cables will never ever attain. Because fibre optic cables triumph in terms of possible transmission rates and EMC is not an issue at all for fibre optic fibres, signal transmission using fibre optic cables has so far been unrivalled.

If extremely high plant availability is required in addition to the "distance" factor, the decision is almost always made in favour of costly fibre optic cables.

Find out more typical application scenarios for fibre optic cables here

Thanks to the benefits mentioned, fibre optic cables are used in many networks and are compatible with industrial Ethernet protocol standards such as Modbus TCP, EtherNET/IP, CC-Link IE, POWERLINK and, of course, PROFINET.

The following illustration shows you which connector can be used in which network:

L-Uebersicht-Steckverbinder-Anordnung-v42

Assembled fibre optic cables according to customer specifications

Do you have special requirements for the assembly of fibre optic cables? Are our standard lengths not sufficient for you? You don't want to assemble glass fibres yourself because you don't have the necessary in-house expertise?

No problem. This is exactly why you have a partner like LAPP!

We can produce your assemblies according to your specifications. 

With ÖLFLEX® CONNECT DATA, LAPP also offers you customised pre-assembled fibre optic cables, so-called trunk systems. Here you can choose from the comprehensive range of HITRONIC® fibre optic cables to be fitted with connectors according to your specifications and requirements. By using factory-assembled fibre optic cables, installation in industrial or telecommunications and office applications can be considerably simplified for you.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • The ready-to-connect trunk system can be installed directly.
  • There is no need for time-consuming connector assembly, which saves you time and money on expensive equipment.
  • Our high connection quality increases the reliability of your application.
  • High-quality factory assembly results in lower loss values.

Would you also like to configure individual trunk systems?

Then contact us here.