The Most Complete Summary Of Fiber Optic Connector Types Ever

fiber optic connector types

When installing fiber optics, we come across a variety of fiber optic connector types, are you sometimes confused because you don’t know which fiber optic connector to choose?

Then follow the steps of Bonelinks to know what fiber optic connector types are available, so that you can choose the right type of fiber optic connector in your cabling installation.

1. What Is A Fiber Optic Connector?

A fiber optic connector is a device used to connect optical fiber cables, which allows optical signals to be transmitted between the fibers.

fiber optic connectors are mainly used in optical communication and networking systems to ensure efficient optical signal transmission and reliability of connections.

These connectors allow for quick connection and disconnection between optical fibers, making the construction and maintenance of fiber optic networks more flexible and convenient.

The basic principle of a fiber optic connector is to accurately align the ends of two optical fibers by means of a precision-designed ferrule and mechanical structure, enabling optical signals to be transmitted between the two fibers while minimising the loss of the optical signals.

Such connectors typically require highly accurate manufacturing and installation to ensure low insertion loss, high signal quality and reliable connection performance.

2. Fiber Optic Connector Construction

The construction of a fiber optic connector usually consists of three main components which are.

Ferrule

fiber ferrule
One of the most critical components of a connector is the ferrule, a small, precision tubular structure usually made of ceramics, metal alloys or plastic.

The internal channel of the ferrule is used to accommodate the end of the fiber, ensuring alignment between the fibers and minimising insertion loss. The design and manufacturing accuracy of the ferrule is critical to connector performance.

When the signal transmission power is less than 1W, fiber optic connectors of ceramic are generally used. When the signal power is greater than 3W, metal or alloy ferrule fiber optic connectors are generally used.

Alignment Sleeve

Fiber connector alignment sleeve
An alignment sleeve is a component used to maintain and ensure precise alignment between two connector inserts.

It is usually an external sleeve in which the inserts are nested, ensuring that the axes of the connector inserts are aligned.

The alignment sleeve also helps prevent dust and contaminants from entering the connector.

Housing

SC Connector Housing
The housing is the external part of the connector that protects the insert and aligns the sleeve.

The housing is usually made of plastic or metal and has a structure and shape that ensures that the connector can be inserted correctly into the device interface and provides mechanical support and protection.

These three components work together to ensure the performance and reliability of fiber optic connectors.

Precision machining and assembly of these components is critical in the design and manufacture of connectors to ensure that the connector will provide low insertion loss, high return loss, and long life performance in service.

Various connector types may have some differences in these basic building blocks, but these three main components are usually common.

3. Why Are There Different Fiber Connectors?

Different application scenarios and network requirements place different demands on connectors.

For example, in a data centre or enterprise network, high-density connectors may be required to accommodate a large number of fiber connections, while more durable connectors may be needed in an industrial environment.

Singlemode and multimode fibers differ in their construction, so they require different types of connectors to ensure optimal optical transmission performance.

Connectors are designed to accommodate specific types of fiber.

The constant evolution of industry standards and specifications has also driven the development of connectors.

Different standards may result in different types of connectors emerging to meet the requirements of a particular standard.

Some connectors are designed for specific mechanical requirements or environmental conditions. For example, certain connectors may need to be waterproof, dustproof or vibration-resistant to suit different applications.

Different manufacturers may introduce new connector designs in an attempt to provide better performance, easier installation, or more economical solutions. This may result in multiple connectors on the market with similar functionality but slightly different designs.

In some cases, specific devices or network infrastructures may require the use of specific types of connectors. To ensure compatibility and interoperability of devices and systems, a specific type of connector may be selected.

4. Types Of Fiber Optic Connectors

SC Connector

SC Fiber Connector
The SC Connector (Subscriber Connector) is a widely used fiber optic connector with a square design that allows for easy insertion and removal.

The design of the SC connector makes it excellent in high density connection environments because of its smaller size, allowing for more connections in a limited space.

SC connectors are typically used in datacom and Telecom applications including digital, analogue and long distance applications.

LC Connector

LC Fiber Connector
The LC connector (Lucent Connector) is another common type of fiber optic connector that is similar in design to the RJ-45 connector, hence the name ‘mini connector’.

The design of the LC connector allows it to excel in high-density connectivity environments because of its smaller size, allowing more connections to be made in a limited amount of space.

LC connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) applications.

FC Connector

FC Fiber Connector
The FC connector (Ferrule Connector) is a common fiber optic connector with a cylindrical design that provides precise alignment.

The design of the FC connector allows it to excel in high-precision connectivity environments because its smaller size allows for more connections in a limited space.

FC connectors are typically used in datacom and telecom applications, including digital analogue and long distance applications.

ST Connector

ST Fiber Connector
The ST connector (Straight Tip Connector) is another common type of fiber optic connector that is similar in design to the BNC connector, hence the name ‘large connector’.

The design of the ST connector makes it excellent in high-density connectivity environments because of its larger size, allowing more connections to be made in a limited space.

ST connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

MPO Connector

mpo connector
MPO connectors (Multi-fiber Push On) are multi-fiber push-on connectors that connect and disconnect multiple fibers at the same time, and are typically used in high-density fiber optic connection environments.

The design of the MPO connector allows it to perform well in high-density connection environments because of its smaller size, which allows for more connections to be made in a limited amount of space.

MPO connectors are typically used in data centres and high-speed network applications.

MTP Connector

mtp connector
The MTP connector (Mechanical Transfer Push On) is a brand of MPO connector developed by US Conec.

It has the same characteristics as the MPO connector, but with design and manufacturing improvements to provide better performance and reliability.

MTP connectors are typically used in applications that require high performance and reliability, such as data centres and high-speed networks.

MTRJ Connector

MTRJ Fiber Connector
MTRJ connector (Mechanical Transfer Registered Jack) is a miniaturised fiber optic connector, which is similar in design to an RJ-45 connector, hence the name ‘mini-connector’.

The design of the MTRJ connector allows it to perform well in high-density connection environments, as its smaller size allows for more connections in a limited space.

MTRJ connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

MU Connector

MU Fiber Connector
The MU connector (Miniature Unit) is another common type of fiber optic connector, which is similar in design to the SC connector, but smaller in size, hence the name ‘miniature connector’.

The design of the MU connector allows it to excel in high-density connectivity environments because of its smaller size, which allows more connections to be made in a limited space.

MU connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

E2000 Connector

E2000 Fiber Connector
The E2000 connector is a high-precision fiber optic connector designed with an automatic dust cover and locking mechanism to provide excellent performance and reliability.

The design of the E2000 connector allows it to excel in high-density connectivity environments because of its smaller size, which allows for more connections in a limited space.

The E2000 connector is typically used for applications that require high performance and reliability in applications such as data centres and high-speed networks.

MDC Connector

MDC Fiber Connector
The MDC connector (Miniature Duplex Connector) is a miniaturised fiber optic connector that is similar in design to the LC connector but smaller in size, hence the name ‘miniature connector’.

The design of the MDC connector allows it to excel in high-density connectivity environments, and because of its smaller size, more connections can be made in a limited space.

MDC connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

CS Connector

CS Fiber Connector
The CS connector (Compact Small-form-factor) is a miniaturised fiber optic connector that is similar in design to the LC connector, but smaller in size, hence the term ‘ultra-small-form-factor’.

The design of the CS connector allows it to excel in high-density connectivity environments as its smaller size allows for more connections in a limited space.

CS connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

SN Connector

SN Fiber Connector
The SN connector (Senko Connector) is a high precision fiber optic connector designed with an automatic dust cover and locking mechanism to provide excellent performance and reliability.

The design of the SN connector allows it to perform well in high-density connection environments because of its smaller size, which allows more connections to be made in a limited space.

The SN connector is typically used in applications that require high performance and reliability in applications such as data centres and high-speed networks.

DIN Connector

DIN Fiber Connector
DIN connectors (Deutsches Institut fr Normung) are a common type of fiber optic connector that is similar in design to FC connectors, but smaller in size, hence the name ‘miniature connectors’.

The design of DIN connectors allows them to excel in high-density connectivity environments because their smaller size allows for more connections in a limited space.

DIN connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

D4 Connector

D4 Fiber Connector
The D4 connector is a high precision fiber optic connector designed with an automatic dust cover and locking mechanism to provide excellent performance and reliability.

The design of the D4 connector allows it to perform well in high-density connection environments because of its smaller size, which allows more connections to be made in a limited space.

The D4 connector is typically used in applications that require high performance and high reliability in applications such as data centres and high-speed networks.

ESCON Connector

ESCON Fiber Optic Connector
ESCON connectors (Enterprise Systems Connection) are a common type of fiber optic connector that is similar in design to FC connectors, but smaller in size, hence the name ‘miniature connectors’.

The ESCON connector design allows it to excel in high-density connection environments, as its smaller size allows for more connections in a limited space.

ESCON connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

FDDI Connector

FDDI Fiber Connector
The FDDI connector (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) is a high-precision fiber optic connector designed with an automatic dust cover and locking mechanism to provide excellent performance and reliability.

The design of the FDDI connector allows it to perform well in high-density connectivity environments because of its smaller size, which allows for more connections in a limited space.

FDDI connectors are typically used in applications that require high performance and reliability, such as data centres and high-speed networks.

SMA Connector

sma connector
The SMA connector (SubMiniature version A) is a common fiber optic connector that is similar in design to the FC connector but smaller in size, hence the name ‘miniature connector’.

The design of the SMA connector allows it to excel in high-density connectivity environments because of its smaller size, allowing for more connections in a limited space.

SMA connectors are typically used in high-speed networks and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications.

5. How To Choose The Type Of Fiber Optic Connector?

Fiber optic connectors play a vital role in optical communication and network systems, directly affecting the transmission quality of optical signals and network performance.

Selecting the appropriate type of fiber optic connector is a critical step in ensuring stable system operation and superior performance.

Consideration Of Application Requirements

Different application scenarios place different demands on connectors.

In data centres or enterprise networks, high density connections are often a key factor. Therefore, smaller connectors such as LC or MTP/MPO may be a more suitable choice, which can accommodate more fiber optic connections in a limited space.

On the other hand, if the application requires a more robust connection, such as in industrial environments, choose connectors with a thread locking mechanism, such as FC.

Transmission Distance Considerations

Transmission distance is another key consideration in choosing the type of fiber optic connector.

For applications that require optical signals to be transmitted over long distances, such as inter-city communications or large enterprise networks, choosing a connector that supports single-mode fiber, such as SC or LC, is key to ensuring that signals are transmitted efficiently over the distance.

Applicability Of  Network Types

Different network types may require different types of connectors.

In passive optical networks (PON), SC/APC connectors may be more suitable because they provide higher return loss, which helps prevent signal reflection.

In fiber distribution systems that need to support a large number of subscribers, MTP/MPO connectors may be more suitable because they support connections with high port densities.

Consideration Of Environmental Conditions

The conditions of the working environment are also a key factor in choosing the type of connector.

In harsh environmental conditions, such as industrial environments it may be necessary to use connectors with higher resistance to dust, water and vibration, such as FC or ST connectors, to ensure the stability and reliability of the connection.

Device Compatibility Concerns

Different devices may be designed to be compatible with specific types of connectors.

When selecting connectors, it is important to consider the compatibility with existing device interfaces. For example, some devices may use LC connectors by default, while others may use SC connectors, so it is important to ensure connector consistency in network design.

Balancing Budgets And Costs

Budget and cost are also important considerations in selecting connectors.

In some cases, certain connectors may be relatively affordable, but there may be some differences in performance and reliability.

Therefore, an informed choice needs to be made within an acceptable budget while meeting performance requirements.

Optimisation Of Network Topology

The design of the network topology can also affect connector selection.

If the network needs to support a large number of fiber-optic connections, such as in a data centre or supercomputer, MTP/MPO connectors may be a better choice as they support connections with high port density and reduce the need for physical space.

When choosing a fiber optic connector type, a number of factors such as application requirements, transmission distance, network type, environmental conditions, device compatibility, budget and network topology need to be thoroughly considered.

By carefully weighing these factors, it can be ensured that the connector selected will provide the best performance and reliability in a given scenario.

In real-world applications, some testing and validation may be required to ensure that the selected connector meets the expected performance and reliability criteria.

Echo Huang

Echo Huang is an expert wordsmith and marketing professional at Bonelinks with more than 8 years of experience in high technology businesses – fiber optics, IoT, and telecommunication. She is very glad to share industry knowledge and communicate with others.

More To Explore

Optical Transceiver

What Is An Eye Diagram?

Eye diagram, which is formed by overlapping the waveforms of each code element obtained from the scan due to the afterglow of the oscilloscope. It contains a wealth of information,

Read More »
Scroll to Top
Contact us