Developments in connector standards

Interlinking connector standards have been developed or proposed in the following categories in IEC/SC86B: "Tests and Measurements, Mechanical Interface, Optical Interface, Performance and Reliability." Their functions are explained in the fiber-optic-connector generic specification IEC 8074-01, 4th edition. Similar standards are in place or under development in Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Subcommittee FO 4.3 on Interconnecting Devices.

TIA Working Group FO 4.3.2 is harmonizing TIA "test and measurement methods" with those of IEC/86B to develop consistent "performance" standards. A related objective of this group is to represent the U.S. telecommunications position by making existing methods compatible with Telcordia GR-326: "Generic Requirements for Singlemode Optical Connectors and Jumper Assemblies."

A test method entitled "Optical Power Characterization" is in ballot at the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) (61300-2-14) and pending publication at the TIA (FOTP 229). The test is designed to determine the short- and long-term power-induced degradation. IEC/86B/WG6 is determining whether additional "test methods or performance requirements" are needed.

Connector ferrule endface quality of factory-terminated singlemode jumpers is a subject of current interest. IEC 61300-3-35 gives two "methods" for detecting and quantifying defects in factory-terminated singlemode jumper ferrule endfaces. Requirements for endface quality have not been resolved due to the lack of a firm correlation with optical performance.

The IEC 61755 series is a three-level document system containing physical and mechanical requirements critical to the attenuation and return-loss performance of an "optical interface." Specific requirements for parameters relating to mated connectors are found in Level 2 and 3 documents.

IEC/SC86/WG5 has a multipart set of reliability documents (62005 series) that apply to connectors. TIA-FO 4.3.3 on Reliability Standards is reviewing these documents for potential adoption and developing informative documents on connector failure modes and materials.


Bruce G. LeFevre, who chairs IEC/SC86B and co-chairs TIA-FO 4.3.3, and Tom E. Ball, who chairs TIA-FO 4.3 and is the U.S. technical advisor to IEC/SC86B, both consult with OFS's Optical Connector Division. They can be reached at blefevre@ofsoptics.com and teballzz@aol.com.

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