Note: As part of
anniversary observance, the CommScope team set out to identify the top 40
innovations that have come from CommScope (or one of its acquired companies)
over the past 40 years. We are unveiling the innovations chosen for the Top 40
on CommScope Blogs through early January.
Read more about the overall program and selection process in this
November 4 post.
We continue today with our unveiling of innovations—in
alphabetical order—that are ranked 11-20. You can see a list of the Top 40 innovations already revealed
on our 40th anniversary page.
As our 40th anniversary year draws to a close, we hope you
enjoy looking back at what we think are our top innovations—ones that have
helped build the world’s infrastructure of today and tomorrow.
Have an opinion about or connection to any of the
innovations? Leave a comment below.
CommScope’s Top 40
DLX Hardened Fiber Optic Connector
Definition: The DLX Hardened Fiber Optic Connector is a small form factor fiber optic connector
that is designed for deployment in the outside plant.
Year of the Innovation: 2009
What is the
innovation that CommScope or one of its acquired companies was first in
The DLX’s hardened connectivity speeds up FTTx deployments
because it reduces, if not eliminates, the need for splicing. The DLX is two thirds the size of other
hardened connectors on the market, enabling smaller terminal footprints, and it
is easier to mate and offers better optical performance than other connectors.
What was happening in
the market that this innovation was needed?
When U.S. network operators started FTTx deployments, most
fiber optic connectors were for indoor use – outdoor use required a controlled
temperature range and moisture protection. As a result, early fiber connectors
used in the outside plant had to be located inside closures or cabinets to
protect them from the elements.
The network operator market wanted weather-proof connectors
because it wanted to get away from expensive manual splicing. The market
required a hardened-connector that could be used without having to place the
connectors inside a cabinet or enclosure. The existing hardened connectors on
the market presented some challenges due to the larger size and some challenges
with optical loss sensitivity to locking down the connectors. This was CommScope’s
motivation for devising the DLX Hardened Fiber Optic Connector.
How did this
innovation benefit customers and the industry?
The DLX Hardened Fiber Optic Connector gave customers a
newer-generation connector that offered improved performance and many added
features. For example, the smaller size of the connector enables it to pass
through much smaller holes in walls, and it reduces the overall size of fiber
terminals in the outside plant to make them more aesthetically tolerable. In
addition, the DLX Hardened Fiber Optic Connector also enables the customer to
deploy the products on the existing network due to its backward compatibility
with a variety of adapters to mate with connectors already in place. Also, the
DLX Hardened Fiber Optic Connector has a unique advantage in sealing because it
requires no lubricant. Fiber ends never become contaminated during the
connector mating process. Unlike other hardened connectors, the DLX Hardened
Fiber Optic Connector can be mated with one hand, it uses fewer parts, and it
shares components with standard and angled physical
contact connectors for proven reliability.
Did this innovation
act as the springboard for other innovations, and if so, how do they all tie
The DLX connector is still in use today. CommScope is investing in further development
of DLX products because its small form factor and positive seal are popular
What is the
significance of the innovation for CommScope?
CommScope has become a major player in the outside plant
hardened connectivity market, and this development is setting
the stage for further innovation as outdoor fiber networks mature.