• United States

Time for a fiber-optic connector standard?

Aug 31, 20042 mins

* Fiber Optic Association calls for connector standard

One of the big differences between copper cables and fiber optics is the connector. With copper, you have the standard RJ-45 used throughout the network world – but with fiber optics, there are many options.

In fact, the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) says that there have been about a hundred connector designs that have been manufactured over the past quarter-century. The group says that as technology advanced rapidly, different manufacturers made their connectors the way they saw fit, and an industrywide standard wasn’t a primary consideration.

Now, though, perhaps the time has come for a standard. Manufacturers get economies of scale and end users get higher proficiency when the same connectors are used throughout. As the FOA notes, the connectors are one reason (among others) why fiber optics haven’t been used much in the LAN desktop market.

In the August issue of its newsletter, the FOA proposes a connector concept:

The FOA says it would coordinate the process of coming up with a connector standard, involving component makers, network equipment vendors, end  users and standards bodies.

In a statement, FOA President Jim Hayes said, “What we propose is not new technology, but a practical application of current technology, packaged in a way that offers many advantages to everyone involved. Since we have no vested interest in the industry, we can look at the needs of all users without prejudice.”

The group requests feedback at

The FOA is a nonprofit educational organization for promoting fiber optics. The group says its 125 FOA-approved schools have certified more than 13,000 technicians.