Fiber Optic connectors are definitely distinctive compared to the traditional copper cable connectors. Instead of the metal-to-metal contact, fiber optic connectors need to align microscopic glass fibers in order for the communication data to carry efficiently.
Each connector contains three key components: Ferrule, Connector Body and Coupling Mechanism.
The ferrule is the thin structure that holds the glass fiber in place and they are generally made of ceramic, metal or plastic. The connector body is what holds the ferrule in place and allows it to attach to the members within the cable fiber. A coupling mechanism which essentially holds the connector while it is linked to another device. It may contain a clip or bayonet nut depending on the connector type.
Now, let’s look at some popular connectors and what they are used for within networking applications:
SC Connector-(also known as the square connector) this type of connector contains a push-pull motion, snap-in connector with a spring loaded 2.5 mm ceramic ferrule to hold a single fiber. This connector is also the second most popular connector due to its method of maintaining applications. It can be used with either single-mode or multimode fiber optic cabling.
LC Connector- this connector uses a 1.255 mm ferrule (half the size of the SC) and contains the standard ceramic ferrule. This connector is also a push-pull connector (similar to the SC) and utilizes a latch locking tab and can easily be terminated.
Applications: Ideal for applications within dense rack/patch panels
ST Connector- (also known as a straight tip connector) this connector contains rounds ceramic ferrule, with bayonet mount locking features,enclosing a twist lock and a 2.5 mm keyed ferrule. This type of connector can be used with either single-mode or multimode fiber optic cabling.
Applications: Networking environments such as school campuses, corporate offices, military, etc.