Connector types and its properties
Along with the cables that are widely used nowadays have evolved over time, so have the connectors that are used for connecting them. Some of these connectors have superseded their earlier version because of their new and enhanced characteristics like durability, reliability and easy to operate features etc. Many of these connectors have also been used for creating the patch cables and terminating internal cable running at data centers and wall plates. The other advantage of using a connector is that they are inter changeable from one connector type to the other as per requirement whereas in case of a copper cable, they have a particular set of requirements to be made by connectors. Twisted pair along with coaxial cables leaves us no choice for connector but fiber cables overcome this disadvantage. It can be generally said that most of the connectors perform more or less the same operation of joining two ends of the core filament mutually such that the light pulses have no difficulty in travelling from one point to another. Another characteristic of most of the connectors are that they are spring loaded such that the cores can be pressed mutually and firmly. It remains with the user now to select which type of connector to go for seeing the compatibility and requirements of the same as there are tones of such connectors available in the market. Some of the most widely used connectors these days have been discussed in detail below.
The fiber optic connectors may be classified according to the requirement of the individual as single mode or multi mode fiber optic cable connector. The fiber optic cable connectors have also been used extensively recently and will also have an increase in their demand in the near future also because of its characteristics of strength and durability etc. Some of the basic features for a good connector are reliability and low cost, high return and low insertion losses, easy to operate and install and low sensitivity for environmental conditions. These connectors also help in quicker disconnection and connection and align at the cores to allow light to pass through it. Depending on the fiber optic cable you are using and according to the purpose and need of the connection, the appropriate connector may be chosen from a wide range of connectors. However, it is mandatory to have general awareness of the physical appearance and the basic purpose for each of the different type of connectors. Some of the fiber optic connectors have been discussed in detail below:
ST: The ST or a straight tip fiber optic connector makes use of a bayonet type and half twisted lock which allows it to hold in the place strongly. This type of connectors generally found their use with the single mode fiber optic cables which is responsible for transmitting data at larger distances. These connectors strongly resemble a little BNC connector but the ingredient by which it is made of is generally hard plastic. This type of connector is easier to insert and have a diameter of 2.5 mm. It also has features like ceramic ferrule which helps in minimizing the back reflections. This was among the first type of connectors that was implemented in a fiber optic application. These connectors have been in business for many years now but now they are facing the risk of elimination with the smaller, newer and denser connections for the installation. They are generally rated for duration of 500 mating cycles. The insertion loss or attenuation for a typical connector of this type is around 0.25 db.
SC: The SC or the standard connector is one of the most basic types of a fiber optic connector. It makes use of a push and pull configuration mechanism which you may have encountered in common video and audio plugs or jacks. This type of connectors finds its extensive use in combination to multi mode fiber optic cables which forms the basis of any local area connection or network. They are able to hold a single fiber with the diameter of 2.5 mm. This type of push pull configuration mechanism is also easier to use that the original twist style mechanisms and easier to operate in tighter places. It is also known as subscriber connector which was developed by a Japanese company named NTT. The body of this type of connector is generally square shaped such that the 2 SC connectors have been held together with the help of plastic clip and this connection is termed as duplex connection.
LC: The LC or the local connector is the fiber optic cable type connector which has a body built just like a RJ jack style. These types of connector find their extensive use for making local connections that are generally seen in the network closet or the telecom room of the organization. One of the most popular forms of connector is small form factor connector and that is also LC type connector. This connector design was developed by Lucent Technologies and it makes use of retaining tab design which is very similar to a phone. The squarish shape of the connector means it resembles the shape of the SC connector. The diameter of the LC connector is 1.25 mm and generally held together with the help of plastic clip which is also termed as the duplex connection as described earlier.
MTRJ: The MTRJ connector or the mechanical transfer registered jack connector is quickly becoming more and more popular these days because of its small size and high durability. It looks more or less like the RJ - 45 connector and makes use of two fibers which are stationed just next with each other. It was originally designed keeping in mind to replace the basic SC connector. That is why, it is almost half the size of SC connector when it provides 2 connected fibers instead of being just one. This form of connectors is also one of the forms of the small form factor connectors and was developed by Corning and AMP/Tyco. A modular plug of RJ - Style resembles closely to it and that is where this connector got a part of its name from. There is a duplex connection for holding the two connectors together and generally makes use of the plastic or elastic component for their body.
Enough is been said about the fiber optic connectors. Not all of the connectors are optic fiber cable type. There are many connectors which makes use of copper as a raw material for their construction. Copper connectors are still widely used for many of the networks even today. Some of these connectors may have lost their value overtime and were unable to survive the test of time but they surely find an important place in many of the applications in today's world. The fiber end needs to be properly cemented followed by polishing, so that maximum light can pass through it. The whole process also requires a lot more manual effort but they are easy to install and operate. Heavy end duty press is then used for compressing the ends of several layers to finally make it into a copper ferrule and then punching takes place to dig in a hole for the connection.
RJ - 45: These type of connectors are the most common and basic type of all the network connectors. These can mainly be found used for connecting network interface card with the hubs or switches. These also have found consistent use in connecting various network devices collectively for better communication and better control of the device. The RJ - 45 type of connectors contains and can be used to connect four different pairs of wires, although they are generally used for connecting only 2 pairs. This is the 8 conductor and 8 position modular connectors which also find use in data networks like Ethernet. These connectors have a physically wider appearance and can also connect a patch cable to a network router. It also makes use of a keyed variety to prevent the occurrence of mating along with the other connectors.
RJ - 11: There are a lot of chances that you have encountered this type of connector in your everyday life since they are extensively used in all forms of telephonic connections in almost all the countries. These types of connectors are meant to have and join two different pairs of wires. While operating a computer also, you will be using this type of connector for connection between modem and the telephonic line unless you are still in the era of a dial - up connection. This makes use of a modular connector 6 - position and looks to be identical to RJ - 14 and RJ - 25 connectors except for the fact of different number of contacts in the connector. These types of connectors are capable to make use of 2 conductor configuration but instead 4 conductor configurations is generally used with major 4 wires connecting to a central box junction. Two contacts are used to connect tip and ring and the remaining two are unused then.
BNC: BNC connector type is very rarely used these days in any form of networks. These found extensive use in their era during older times and for connection of an old network. The BNC connector is made to push in and then makes a lock on to the connection to hold the place securely while also connecting the two core wires and is abbreviated as Bayonet Neill Concelman connector and is a type of coaxial cable which still is operated in radio frequency operations.
F - Connector: The F - connector is coaxial type cable connector which finds its use in the field of cable TV or cable modems. It makes use of an attachment through RG - 6 or RG - 59 connector cable in its older versions and provides a solid foundation for facilitating the data transmission or the TV or modem signals. It also use is satellite communications as well and is one of the oldest connectors (discovered in 1950) known. Its inexpensive characteristics and good impedance matching features makes it an ideal choice for this type of connections.
DB - 9 (RS - 232): The standard 232 or the RS - 232 also known as the DB - 9 connector is a cable data transmission standard and is profoundly used in serial data communication and transmission between the data terminal and communication equipment like the one is used to connect serial port of computer to the external modem. It is not used quite frequently in today's world as it used to be in the past. The advancement of technology in this field such as USB connectors etc. is quietly superseding these standard DB - 9 connectors. This also has the lowest footprint in all the D - miniature connectors and is also used for data connectivity.
Patch panel: a patch panel is more or less a wall mounted or a rack structure that is the home of cable connections. This generally makes use of plugging into the front side and the back side holding the connection that was punched down for a stable, longer and permanent use. This type of connection has an added incentive that it also offers the administrator to change the signal path whenever required. A damaged cable can be easily replaced by simply changing the connection of the two patch cables.
110 block (T568A, T568B): This is a newer and most recent type of wiring connectors and distribution points termed as a 110 block which has already replaced most of the telephonic wires and installations and is also found being implemented in the computer network. Wires are made to punch down from one side and on the other side are connected RJ - 11 for phones and RJ - 45 for networking connections. This type of connector comes in many different sizes ranging from 25 wire pairs to above 500 pairs. When these are used in collaboration to CAT 6 cables, they can also carry 1 Gbps connections.
In the end, the manner of arrangement of these wires is extremely important. There are around 4 pairs of wires inside a network cable which are twisted for preventing crosstalk. This process makes a huge difference and also is an important one because of positioning of cables on the side of cable. Be familiar with fiber optic and copper connectors and have knowledge of patch panel etc. before going in to make a move.