TIA to re-evaluate SFF connectors

In a reversal of its 1998 decision to let the market decide which small-form-factor (SFF) connector would become the de facto standard, the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronic Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA-- Arlington, VA) have reopened the issue of standardizing one of the connectors.

Nov 1st, 1999

Catherine Varmazis

In a reversal of its 1998 decision to let the market decide which small-form-factor (SFF) connector would become the de facto standard, the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronic Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA-- Arlington, VA) have reopened the issue of standardizing one of the connectors.

At its August 1999 meeting, the TIA`s TR-42.1 subcommittee appointed a task group to select a connector and appointed Debbie Ryon, P.E., registered communications distribution designer (RCDD), and president of Fairplay Technologies (Onancock, VA), chairman of the group.

Ryon believes the TIA should hear from all segments of the industry before designating a connector as standard. "I think it`s especially important to find out what characteristics end users think are valuable in a connector," says Ryon. "The consequence of the TIA`s decision to `let the market decide` is that end users must now choose between six SFF connectors. In the long run, some users will be left with nonstandard or unsupported connectors. This is a disservice on the part of the TIA to the end-user community." Ryon can be contacted by e-mail at fairplaytech@esva.net.

The SFF connectors currently on the market include the original designs reviewed by the TIA in 1998 as well as a new entrant from ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Minneapolis, MN). These connectors are the VF-45 from 3M Telecom Systems Div. (Austin, TX); the LX.5 from ADC Telecommunications; the MT-RJ from a consortium that includes AMP Inc. (Harrisburg, PA), Siecor (Hickory, NC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (San Jose, CA), USConec (Hickory, NC), and Fujikura Ltd. (Atlanta); the Opti-Jack from Panduit Corp. (Orland Park, IL); and the SCDC and SCQC from Siecor, Siemens (Berlin, Germany), and IBM (Poughkeepsie, NY).

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