VECTOR program touts ferrule-less fiber-optic connectors

Members of VECTOR (Versatile Easy installable Connector implementing new Technologies for accelerated fiber Optic network Roll-outs in Europe), a research and innovation initiative the European Commission funded to develop a low-cost, field-installable fiber-optic connector technology, say they have achieved their objective. The approach leverages a variety of technologies, including heat-shrinkable materials, nano-materials, high-tech gels, micro-fabrication, and micro-mechanical alignment systems.

CommScope coordinated the VECTOR project. Other members included DEMCON Advanced Mechatronics BV (The Netherlands), Celoplás – Plásticos para a Indústria SA (Portugal), Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Universiteit Gent (Belgium), Telecom Italia S.p.A. (Italy), and Telekom Deutschland GmbH (Germany).

The technology involves a ferrule-less connector and a fully automated installation tool that enables field installation by a general-skill technician. The ferrule-less connector achieves a performance that exceeds the “Grade B” insertion loss specifications of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 61300-3-34 international standard for random mated connectors. The connectors do not require cleaning between mating/unmating cycles, says the VECTOR members. Instead, a self-cleaning feature keeps the fiber tip dust free and ensures low connection loss and high repeatability, the group explains.