Making the right connection: Connection and crossconnection equipment displays significant innovation

Oct. 8, 2020
Our most populated category, Connection and Crossconnection Equipment indicates the importance of fiber and wireless connections.

Connection and Crossconnection Equipment is the most-populated category in the 2020 Cabling Innovators Awards, with eight products honored. Each honoree is notable in its own right, and the collection of products in this category reflects the significance of fiber and wireless connections for communications networks.

CommScope’s M-LOC Cluster Connector System installs with a single push/lock motion that reduces installation time by more than 75% and uses a keyed feature that ensures accuracy in port mating—saving installation time, cost, and worries. The M-LOC jumper uses a metal/polymer construction for durability that additionally reduces site rental fees with a lighter-weight design. The M-LOC cluster jumper family supports connectivity to 4 or 5 antenna ports with a single latching connection, while offering excellent performance for both time division duplex (TDD) and future frequency division duplex (FDD) cluster connector systems.
Belden developed a product that includes its highly flexible Category 6 SF/UTP Ethernet cable and industrial field attachable REVConnect RJ45 Plug. It ensures synchronized IP networking, faster installation, ease of use, and safe operation, Belden says. The cable is designed to meet up to 10 million flexing cycles that cover most critical scenarios in industrial automation. It is also highly ruggedized with excellent flame ratings and halogen-free property. These products were created for meeting the strict requirement of Ethernet cabling installation on the passenger boarding bridges at one of the world’s largest international airports in China. In collaboration with the airport authority, passenger bridge manufacturer, and system integrator, Belden initiated the development of the highly flexible Category 6 SF/UTP halogen-free PUR cable.
Leviton launched its Shuttered LC Cassettes and Adapter Plates in early 2020. The innovative shuttered feature is available in multiple Leviton patching platforms, including the HDX ultra-high-density system, e2XHD high-density system, and SDX standard density system, as well as individual QuickPort adapters. “The U.S.-made Leviton internal shutters provide unique benefits for network managers, to make network installation and maintenance easier, cleaner and safer,” Leviton explains. The shuttered LC components have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP5x, which validates there is a tight seal around the shutter door that minimizes ingress of dust or other fine contaminants during manufacturing, assembly, shipping, installation and operation. Leviton had it shuttered cassettes, adapter plates, splice modules, and adapters undergo testing by an independent lab to confirm the IP5x rating for dust protection, per IEC 60529 standards. The samples were exposed to 8 hours of settling dust with a circulating fan, and all the Leviton shuttered LC adapters passed the inspection with no ingress of dust. The shuttered doors also provide front-facing highly visible B-A polarity identification. The internal shutters allow for easy visual fault locator traceability.
Senko’s IP-9 connector series’ compact footprint helps make enclosure and terminal sizes smaller, the company says. “With the IP-9, you can double the port density in the same footprint without compromising performance. While the size is small, it still provides an IP-68 water and dust protection rating and mechanically withstands 50 pounds of pull force.” All Senko’s IP-9 connectors are equipped with the company’s safe lock feature, which prevents accidental disconnects. The IP-9 series is available for SC, SN, and MT configurations. “This enables IP-9 connectors to support multiple deployment scenarios with one footprint, such as single fiber SC for FTTH drop, dual fiber connection SN for wireless networks, or multifiber MT for drop terminal applications,” the company adds. “Wireline and wireless network convergence is a key trend in the market, and IP-9 is the most suitable connector for the job.”
The EZ-Mount DIN-Rail Cassette from Vertical Cable provides flexibility in application configurations and convenience in installation and service. Its modular design includes two standard components: a universal cassette that can be used to create multiple configurations, as well as a 35-mm DIN-rail-mountable bay that holds everything in place. The cassette’s modular design allows it to be placed in three different positions within the bay: 1) Full depth (operating position, in which the cassette is completely covered and protected by the bay); 2) Half depth (which allows the user to perform manipulations on the LGX adapter plate connections without removing the cassette from the bay); and 3) Zero depth (in which all cassette internal components can be accessed for servicing and adjustments). The half-depth and zero-depth positions allow quick and safe access to the cassette internal components without removing the mounting module from the bay or removing the bay from the DIN rail.
Connectivity Solutions Direct’s (CSD) n+1 platform is a modular solution for multiple application spaces, capable of deploying 96 ports per 1RU. That’s a 33% increase in port density when compared to conventional high-density systems. CSD explains that it “provides customers with a unique collection of products that deliver port density, quality, versatility and simplicity in a cost-effective solution.” The n+1 platform supports a full range of network topologies including Base-8, Base-12, Base-16, and Base-24 MPO trunks. The platform maintains a port density of 96 per RU for simplex SC, duplex LC, and MPO ports. Available in 1RU, 2RU, and 4RU housings, the platform’s modular design enables easy migration to and from duplex to parallel connectivity, even allowing both within a common housing if desired. The n+1 housing is engineered with efficiency in mind, CSD adds. The cable-management system enables cassette trays to slide in and out for easy installation and access. Two interchangeable cassettes serve as the building blocks for the CSD n+1 platform. The modular design provides flexibility and functionality without sacrificing density. 8 and 12 port cassettes can be deployed within the same n+1 housing, and even on the same internal tray without any reduction in port density. These unique cassettes feature interchangeable adapters and internal components allowing cassettes to be configured for Conversion, Patching, Splicing, Taps, Splitters or Fanouts. CSD’s n+1 platform features standards-based cabling and n+1 internal cassette polarity. The same cassette is used at both ends of the link; cassette or patch cord flipping is not required.
The Corning CleanAdvantage solution, introduced in February 2020, is the culmination of the company convening a cross-functional team of engineers, technicians, and scientists, with input from major data center customers, to address the fact that endface contamination in a connector is the most common cause of network failures and packet corruption. CleanAdvantage uses proprietary cleaning technology for the entire connector ferrule, with an optimized cap design, to ensure a factory-clean connector ready for installation. The technology is included, at no extra cost, on all MTP and LC uniboot connectors within Corning’s EDGE and EDGE8 structured cabling solutions. “CleanAdvantage eliminates the need to clean and scope MTP and LC connectors prior to the first mating connection,” Corning explains. “As a result, installation time for customers can be reduced by up to 17% and the cost of cleaning consumables cut by up to 95%. In doing so, CleanAdvantage enables operators to reclaim time and money, placing them on a faster path to revenue generation. CleanAdvantage connectors also ensures that every first-time installation is free of contaminants, increasing network reliability.”
The SWK Connector from Swick Designs is a wholly reimagined fiber-optic connector that was created by a data center engineer who was frustrated and dissatisfied with the technology he had to work with when building data centers. Steve Cheng developed the patented SWK Connector because “incremental improvements to older technologies aren’t the answer, nor are ideas dreamed up in a lab by people who have never pulled cable,” Swick Designs asserts. “We need new, revolutionary innovations in connector technology that are practical and usable.” The SWK Connector is a self-cleaning, self-protecting connector that Swick Designs explains “makes supplemental cleaning and dust caps things of the past. The connector’s cylindrical shape allows for quick on-the-fly polarity and key flips, while its extended handle allows for connector operation away from the patch panel.” Key features of the SWK Connector include the ability to support between 24 and 192 fibers; self-cleaning capability to eliminate dust and debris; a self-protecting shield shroud; low insertion loss and return loss; high density; quick polarity flips and gender changes; easy reach and push-twist connect operation. The SWK product line includes patented patch panels and fanout cables to adapt the connector to LC, MPO, and QSFP. The connector is manufactured by Sumitomo Electric Industries.

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