3M's Communication Markets Division has released its Crimplok+ connector, billed as the first commercially available FTTx field-mounted connector for 900 µm singlemode fiber that meets indoor and outdoor performance requirements without a splice, gel, or adhesive. The SC-compatible connectors are designed to combine the speed and easy installation of mechanical splice connectors with the performance of fusion splice-on connectors for FTTx. A metallic element within the connector mechanically locks the fiber in place. The connector is designed without a splice, which 3M says eliminates a potential optical loss point. The absence of gel or adhesive removes performance issues commonly associated with these elements.
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Crimplok+ connector installation is faster and less craft-intensive than fusion splicing, 3M asserts. The connectors can install the connectors using hand tools. According to 3M, the fiber is cleaved, inserted through the connector, and locked in place using the 3M Crimplok+ protrusion setting tool. The fiber tip is then polished with the 3M Crimplok+ nano finishing tool. The handheld finishing tool uses a polishing film and an orbital mechanism, and is designed to operate with a single turn of a knob. The Crimplok+ connectors also have a streamlined boot attached to the body to minimize the chance of the technician losing or forgetting to include it during the termination process. The boot also keeps the fiber from kinking during side pull, 3M says.
The connector is thermally balanced and is tested for indoor and outdoor FTTP and premises application conditions from -40° to 167° F. The APC version of the connector maintains optical reflections of less than -60 dB. The connectors are RoHS compliant. 3M says a “major U.S. operator” is using the Crimplok+ connector to roll out FTTH to multi-dwelling units in Texas.