Choosing a Small-Form-Factor Connector For Fiber-Optic Cable

Choosing a Small-Form-Factor Connector For Fiber-Optic Cable

In this article we will discuss some of the different types of fiber-optic connectors available. We’ll also look at the FC connector and LX-5 connector. And, of course, we’ll discuss the ST and LC connectors. Hopefully, this article will help you choose the best connector for your needs.

FC connector

The FC connector was the first small-form-factor connector for fiber-optic cable. Its ceramic ferrule and screw-type fitting method required an alignment key to ensure proper insertion. The fiber-optic connector is then tightened into a jack or adaptor using a threaded collet. Initially designed for datacom and telecom applications, the FC is still used today.

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Before the introduction of LC and SC connectors, the FC connectors were a popular choice for single-mode connections. The SC connector has a snap-in ferrule, whereas the FC uses a keyed, screw-in ferrule. The screw-in design prevents interruptions caused by pulling the cables. One example of an application for FC connectors is video over fiber, where data flow must remain constant and the security of the connector is of vital importance.

LX-5 connector

The LX-5 small-form-factor connector for fiber-optic cable is an industry-standard, high-density, standardized small-form-factor fiber optic connector. Its reliability and safety are unmatched, and it is designed to provide reliable connections. Its small form factor doubles fiber termination equipment’s density. The LX-5 is a patented design, and it incorporates safety shutters to protect against ferrule end-face handling damage. This high-density connector also features an intuitive, self-aligning design that keeps cables from snagging at the back.

The LX-5 small-form-factor connector for fiber-optic cable uses a convex ferrule to minimize back reflections and ensure proper physical contact between fiber ends. It also features angled PC connectors that minimize reflections on the fiber cladding. This ensures the highest quality connections. In addition, the LX-5 connector’s convex ferrules minimize the effect of airborne dirt and dust on light transmission.

ST connector

The ST connector is a multimode connector with a 2.5mm ferrule seated inside a cylindrical housing. This connector was first introduced by AT&T around the turn of the century. Despite its popularity, it has experienced a decline in use in recent years. One of its main drawbacks is that it cannot be terminated with an angled polish, which limits its use for single mode fiber and FTTH applications.

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The ST connector is available in single-mode and multimode versions and features a bayonet twist-lock connection. It is designed to withstand a wide range of environmental conditions, including extreme temperature changes, shock, vibration, and corrosion. It also provides the same level of robustness as commercial ST connectors, but is more rugged and meets the strict requirements for military use. Unlike SC connectors, STs can be used to connect fiber-optic cables with the same amount of distance and at the same time provide double the packaging density.

LC connector

A small-form-factor connector is an essential component for any fiber-optic network, allowing you to increase the number of fiber ports by nearly doubling their density. SC connectors are characterized by a square ferrule, which makes them easier to arrange in small spaces. The sturdy hold of an SC connector prevents connection problems when it is pulled. An ST connector is susceptible to interruption when pulled, which can cause a major performance issue. SC connectors are designed to pair with either FC or ST connectors, but a hybrid adapter is available for both. SC connectors require more space than small-form-factor designs, though cross-mating adapters are available.

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Many SFF connectors are duplex designs, combining two fibers in a single physical connector. This design cuts down on the number of parts needed for the connector assembly, but it does make it harder to align the fibers precisely. Additionally, suboptimal alignment of fibers may lead to insertion loss and reflections. Despite the benefits of an SFF connector, it may not be the best choice for every application.


MTP/MPO connector

An MTP/MPO connector is a connector used to connect two or more small-form-factor fiber-optic cables. This type of connector comes in different designs to accommodate various cable sizes. For example, a MTP connector has a short boot design, which can be convenient for places with limited space. Another MTP connector variant has long boots, which can stretch a cable up to 90 degrees.

The MTP/MPO connectors for small-form-factor fiber-optic cable are typically found in fiber-optic cables that have between eight and 16 fibers. The MTP connector is also referred to as a ribbon-style connector. The MPO is commonly found in Japan and the far east. It is covered by the TIA connector intermateability standard FOCIS-17.


The FC (Ferrule Connector) range offers heavy-duty, threaded connections and is ruggedized for high-vibration environments. The smaller-sized LC (Local Connector) has a bayonet-style connector with a 1.25mm ferrule. These connectors are primarily used in campus and corporate networks, as well as military applications. The FC connector has two main versions: the ST and LC.

The new connectors are similar in external size but place the fibers as close as 750 um internally. These connectors are largely used in private network applications where cables are typically hidden behind walls. However, close spacing can create problems with optical and electrical isolation, leading to higher optoelectronics costs. If you plan on using the connector in industrial applications, make sure it’s attached securely.

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