Five more connector choices

Cabling Installation & Maintenance did a good job of covering the results of the TR-41.8.1 Working Group`s voting process on fiber-optic connectors.

Jim Hayes

Fotec/Fiber U

Medford, MA

Cabling Installation & Maintenance did a good job of covering the results of the TR-41.8.1 Working Group`s voting process on fiber-optic connectors.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the results. The fiber-optics industry would be better served with a standard connector, but another poor choice would have made things worse. Although the SC was chosen as a standard, it is still struggling to make a significant dent in the ST market share for premises cabling. To be accepted, a standard connector must not only be declared a standard, but also it must be easy to install and cost-effective, and perform well. But by saying the decision should be made in the marketplace, the Electronic Industries Alliance/Telecommunications Industry Association (Arlington, VA) has produced a major setback for the market. It has also set the stage for future problems for customers who make the "wrong" choice.

For our test equipment, we have designed 78 different adapters for fiber-optic connectors since 1981. Recently, we helped a customer find a few obsolete connectors to fix some cables in his system--the control system of a nuclear power plant. Without those connectors, he would have had to obsolete an expensive electronic system--and maybe shut down the plant for changeover! Equipment built with fiber-optic connectors rejected by the marketplace will have the same problem in a few years, when those connectors are no longer supported by the manufacturers. Caveat emptor, as they say!

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