Fiber Optic Connector Selection Guide

For the past few decades since 1980s, many different types of fiber optic connectors such as MTP connector and MPO connector, have been provided by various manufacturers. Despite the fact that these types of optical connector varies greatly in mechanical design, the most basic components a fiber connector are more or less the same. They both have a fiber ferrule, connector sub-assembly body, connector housing, and stress relief boot, etc. Next, part of the most commonly seen connectors will be introduced to you one by one.

LC connector

It works in both simplex and duplex with 1.25mm ferrule. Available in single mode and multimode. Externally LC connectors resemble a standard RJ45 telephone jack. Internally they resemble a miniature version of the SC connector. LC connectors use a 1.25mm ceramic (zirconia) ferrule instead of the 2.5mm ferrule. LC connectors are licensed by Lucent and incorporate a push-and-latch design providing pull-proof stability in system rack mounts. Highly favored for single mode applications.

LC connector

MTP connector and MPO connector

MTP connector and MPO connector are compatible ribbon fiber connectors based on MT ferrule which allow quick and reliable connections for up to 12 fibers. They are intended for installations that require many fiber connections. Up to 12 fibers in a ribbon are stripped to 125um cladding and inserted into 250um spaced parallel grooves. The ferrule also includes two 0.7mm diameter holes, running parallel to the fibers on the outer side of the ferrule. These two holes hold precision metal guide pins which align the fibers with tight tolerances.

MTP connector and MPO connector feature male and female connector design. Male connectors have two guide pins and female connectors do not. Both connector types need an adapter to mate a pair of male and female connectors. Because MTP connector and MPO connectors are trying to align so many fibers at once, their coupling loss are typically bigger than single fiber connectors.

ST Connector

ST connector comes in simplex with a twist-on mechanism, and it is available in both single mode and multimode. It is the most popular connector for multimode fiber optic LAN applications . It has a long 2.5mm diameter ferrule made of ceramic (zirconia), stainless alloy or plastic. Unlike MTP connector and MPO connector it mates with a interconnection adapter and is latched into place by twisting to engage a spring-loaded bayonet socket.


Whether you are installing a brand new fiber optic network or repairing a legacy system using , hope this fiber optic connector selection guide will help you determine what kind of connector you are looking at or what type of connector you need to replace.


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