There are many factors that can affect the reliability and performance of a connection. Anything from the quality of the fiber optic cable you use to the integrity of the connector can adversely affect the overall performance of your connection. Often times the quality of the connection can be directly traced to the ferrule used in constructing the connector. Yet when so many connectors are being manufactured overseas to differing standards, how can you have confidence in the connectors you are using? The best place to start is at the ferrule – one of the first components needed for superior connections and for high performing connectivity.

Connector ferrules can be made from various materials such as plastics, steel or ceramics. A majority of ferrules are typically made from zirconia ceramic, which is durable and manufactures well to strict tolerances for performance standards. Ceramic ferrules are manufactured with a selection of hole or inner (bore) diameters ranging from slightly larger than the optical fiber diameter to slightly smaller. This variance in hole size would allow for minute variations in the manufactured optical fiber cladding diameters. For example, for a 125um optical fiber, ferrules are available with hole sizes ranging from 124um to 127um.

When a connector is produced, the optical fiber is typically epoxied into the ferrule with the end protruding slightly beyond the endface of the ferrule. The optical fiber end is later trimmed and polished with the ferrule endface for a precise fit. Because the ferrule must align the optical fiber end precisely, several factors can affect the performance of an interconnection including:

  • Ferrule bore diameter mismatch
  • Concentricity variations
  • Non-circularity of the ferrule
  • Lateral misalignment
  • End separation
  • Angular misalignment

Overall, these factors can seem like microscopic variances. However, they have the ability to tremendously affect the performance and reliability of your connection. When your connections are critical, it is imperative that you understand the impact these factors can have on your overall performance.

Over the next few months, we will be discussing how important each of these factors is to ferrule manufacturing and how to maximize the performance of your fiber connectivity.

To learn more about our manufacturing process and how Swift quality starts with our ferrule, visit our website at americailsintech.com.

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