IEC and TIA create standards for connectors, components

By Bruce G. Lefevre

The primary international and U.S. standards organizations dealing with connectors and passive components are IEC/SC86B and TIA-FO-6.3. They are developing similar flexible, interlinking standards systems to provide a common basis for product acceptance. Since the IEC/SC86B system is more fully developed, it is summarized here.

Tests and Measurements (IEC 61300 series) covers standard environmental and mechanical test methods and measurement procedures for optical performance, dimensions, and physical parameters.

(Mechanical) Interface Standards (IEC 61754 series) provides essential dimensional and other information to help ensure that components of a designated style (e.g., SC) will mechanically intermate. Connectors and adapters that comply with the appropriate standard will fit together, but will not necessarily meet a required level of optical or environmental performance. Optical interface standards specifying essential parameters at interconnections to help ensure optical performance are under development.

Performance Standards (IEC 61753 series) provide the appropriate sequence of tests and measurements from the 1300 series, with pass-fail criteria for defined service environments. Compliance proves fitness of design and manufacturing process for an application but does not guarantee ongoing quality or service reliability over time.

Reliability Standards (IEC 62005 series) address various aspects of reliability, including product screening, service environments, failure modes, and reporting of field failures. They provide a framework of general requirements within which tests, field data, and analytical methods may be applied to help ensure that performance requirements are met for a stated time period with acceptable failure rates. Procedures for determining failure rates are provided only as informative examples.

Quality Assurance/Conformance Standards (IEC QC 001002 set) provide procedures to help ensure quality levels of as-manufactured products over time.

These component standards may be used selectively in system and wiring standards (e.g., IEEE Std 802.3z, Gigabit Ethernet references IEC 6174-4: SC connector interface) or in the development of detail specifications by vendors and customers as procurement documents.

The FO-6.3 system has Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards (FOCIS) and Fiber Optic Test Procedures (FOTP), similar to their counterparts in IEC and used in the same ways.

TIA/EIA-568B.3 (Optical Fiber Cabling Components Standard) states that the connector in use must meet requirements of the relevant FOCIS document. The current draft of the Fibre Channel-Physical Interface (FC-PI) standard requires the connector to conform to one of four standard connector interfaces: IEC 6174-4 (SC), FOCIS-7 (SG), FOCIS-10 (LC), or FOCIS-12 (MT-RJ). Both documents contain performance requirements referencing FOTPs.

Important near-future challenges for IEC/SC86B are completion and publication of the performance standards, development of optical-interface standards, and development of quantitative reliability prediction and measurement methods.

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