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What are fiber networking connectors?

Fiber optic connectors are unique. Fiber cables transmit pulses of light instead of electrical signals, so the terminations must be much more precise. Instead of merely allowing pins to make metal-to-metal contact, fiber optic connectors must align microscopic glass fibers perfectly in order to allow for communication. While there are many different types of fiber connectors, they share similar design characteristics. Simplex vs. duplex: Simplex means 1 connector per end while duplex means 2 connectors per end. There are three major components of a fiber connector: the ferrule, the connector body, and the coupling mechanism.
  • Ferrule: this is a thin structure (often cylindrical) that actually holds the glass fiber. It has a hollowed-out center that forms a tight grip on the fiber. Ferrules are usually made from ceramic, metal, or high-quality plastic, and typically will hold one strand of fiber.

  • Connector Body: this is a plastic or metal structure that holds the ferrule and attaches to the jacket and strengthens members of the fiber cable itself.

  • Coupling Mechanism: this is a part of the connector body that holds the connector in place when it gets attached to another device (a switch, NIC, bulkhead coupler, etc.). It may be a latch clip, a bayonet-style nut, or similar device.

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