EU VECTOR initiative targets new field-installable fiber-optic connectors

A seven-member team of companies and academic institutions has launched the “Versatile Easy installable Connector implementing new Technologies for accelerated fiber Optic network Roll-outs in Europe” (VECTOR) program. The VECTOR group, funded through the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), aims to develop a new field-installable fiber-optic connector system. The system will include both a fiber-optic connector and an installation tool.

Nov 13th, 2012

A seven-member team of companies and academic institutions has launched the “Versatile Easy installable Connector implementing new Technologies for accelerated fiber Optic network Roll-outs in Europe” (VECTOR) program. The VECTOR group, funded through the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), aims to develop a new field-installable fiber-optic connector system. The system will include both a fiber-optic connector and an installation tool.

The VECTOR team expects to create a field-installable fiber-optic connector system that offers performance similar to pre-connectorized offerings. TE Connectivity will coordinate the three-year program through its Belgian entity, Tyco Electronics Raychem BVBA. Other VECTOR team members include:

  • DEMCON Advanced Mechatronics BV (The Netherlands)
  • Celoplás – Plásticos para a Indústria SA (Portugal)
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)
  • Universiteit Gent (Belgium)
  • Telecom Italia S.p.A. (Italy)
  • Telekom Deutschland GmbH (Germany).

“Current connection technology requires extensive pre-engineering and highly specialized manpower for field deployment. This makes the installation slow, unreliable, and ultimately raises the cost per connection to hardly manageable levels,” explains Stéphane Berghmans, project coordinator at TE Connectivity.” With VECTOR we intend to make fiber-optic connections as easy as electrical wire connections and to bring affordable ultrafast Internet connections to all European households.”

The team’s work will include both the VECTOR Connector (VeC) and the VECTOR Installation Tool (VeIT), according to information provided by a source close to the program. The VeC will be designed to support insertion and return losses in accordance with the IEC61300-3-4 and IEC61300-3-6 standards – better performance than connectors based on ferrules and aligned in a split sleeve adapter. The VeIT will be a handheld device that will perform fiber termination at length and connectorization. It will be designed to ease the burden of field technicians by automating such functions as fiber stripping, cleaning, cleaving, and fixation.

In operation, the fiber will be fixed by heat-shrinking into the VECTOR plug. When mating the plugs into the VECTOR adapter, the bare fiber will be aligned to the mating fiber via what the VECTOR team describes as “novel alignment structures.” The VeC’s unique self-cleaning features will further improve reliability.

The VeIT will be compatible with the majority of fiber-optic cables, pigtails, and drop cables. A ferrule-based converter will support compatibility with legacy connectors as well.

For more information on fiber-optic connectors, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.


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