Page 82 - 2020 Interconnect Innovations eBook
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Considerations for Selecting and Installing Fiber Optic Connectivity Systems
Steve Smashey, President, and Mike Conte, General Manager, SOS Engineering, Inc. and Jay Betker, Engineering and Technology Lead, XiOptics LLC
Today’s more robust and cost-effective fiber optic technology is enabling high-speed and high-bandwidth data transmission in harsh environments outside of classic telecom and datacom applications, including enhanced networking, medical imaging, vehicle safety, and aerospace communications systems. Many different types of fiber optic cables support both passive and active layers. At the connector level, it can be difficult to choose which technology is best for your application. No matter which technology is selected, the fiber optic system must deliver high signal integrity with durability, reliability, and ease of use. Fiber optic cables and connectors can be challenging to work with, so simplifying the installation process is a primary consideration, along with field service and repair. Here, we’ll review the evolution of fiber optic technology and address numerous considerations for selecting and implementing fiber optic connectivity.
Fiber Optic Technology Overview
Fiber optic cables consist of one or many thin strands of glass protected by a flexible sheath. Rather than using electrical pulses to transmit data signals, fiber optics use pulses of light, which offer superior transmission speeds and signal bandwidth enhanced with color wavelength multiplexing. One drawback of fiber optic cabling is that it does not support power transmission unless the cables include parallel copper elements.
There are two general categories of fiber optic cable: plastic optical fiber (POF) and glass optical fiber. Plastic optical fiber is used for short distances with network speeds that tend to be in the megabyte per second category. Glass optical fiber is used for medium and long distances with network speeds that tend to be in the gigabyte per second category. Fiber optic technologies also come in single-mode and multimode variants. Single-mode fiber enables one type of light mode to be transmitted at a time, while multimode fiber can support the propagation of multiple light modes all at once. The differences between single-mode and multimode fiber mainly lie in fiber core diameter (i.e., the waveguide along which optical signals are carried), wavelength and light source, bandwidth, color sheath, distance/length, and cost.
» An M29504/4 and /5 termini pair (orange), M29504/6 and /7 termini pair (yellow), and ARINC 801 fiber optic terminal (purple) from XiOptics.

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