A coaxial drop plant,
which includes the coaxial drop cable, connectors and other RF passive and
active components, has been a maintenance challenge for decades. The majority
of subscriber disruption and truck rolls can be attributed to the coaxial drop
plant, and most of the time the problem found is at the F-connector interface. The
F-connector has improved over the years, but remains craft sensitive. The connector must be properly applied, the
cable properly prepared and the interface adequately tightened. Even then,
moisture, pollution and dissimilar metals can lead to issues over time.
What about optical connectors? Does a
maintenance team need to anticipate similar service degradations and trouble
calls? The answer is a resounding no.
You can trust optical drop connectors.
commonly used in the drop space are SC-APC or SC-UPC standard (IEC 61754-4) types. The connector can be fused
on, assembled mechanically or assembled and polished in the field, but more
commonly it is deployed as a factory assembled jumper or pigtail. A factory
assembled connector ensures that proper cable preparation and connector application
is guaranteed, removing that aspect of craft sensitivity. Also, the connector
interface is push-and-click, so variations in tightening do not exist. If the
connector is inserted and a click is heard, it is properly installed.
Unlike a coaxial F-connector,
an optical connector is not affected by environmental aging. The interface is
non-metallic, so moisture, pollution and dissimilar metals cannot create
corrosion issues or develop distorting products over time. In outdoor use, a
connector does require environmental protection, which is commonly provided by
hardening the connector or installing it inside a splice case. Hardening adds another level of reliability,
since it allows connections to be made on the outside of a sealed terminal. If
a case never needs to be opened, risk of unintentional damage or leakage is
There is one required
process to learn when installing optical connectors, and that is cleaning of
the ferrule end face. Any time a fiber connector end face is exposed, even
briefly, dust, dirt and oil can collect on the end face. A simple cleaning step using readily
available tools will address this issue. Only cleaned connectors should ever be
mated, but once done, contaminants will not develop over time. Best of all, inspection tools exist to ensure
the end face is truly clean. Try to find F-connector corrosion products that
So can you trust an
optical drop connector? Absolutely! Less craft sensitivity, higher reliability
and a dramatic reduction in maintenance calls awaits.