VECTOR Produces Novel, Fast and Reliable Optical Fiber Connections
Brussels, December 4th, 2015 - Novel optical fiber connectivity solutions are required to accelerate the deployment of optical fiber communication link-based high speed internet access. In order to distribute signals in fiber optic networks, optical fibers need to be connected with each other, preferably in a reconfigurable manner. Installing connectors on such tiny glass optical fibers in the field currently requires highly specialized personnel and a multitude of dedicated tools. Dust and dirt made it almost impossible to achieve field connections with a quality level close to that attainable in a factory or lab environment. The VECTOR project provided a ground-breaking solution to this problem.
The VECTOR solution builds on a ferrule-less connector granting ultra-high optical performance and on a fully automated installation tool allowing for field installation by a general-skill technician. A major result is the optical performance of the ferrule-less VECTOR connector, which meets and exceeds the very severe so-called ‘grade B’ insertion loss specifications for optical connectors, in accordance with 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: they possess a unique self-cleaning feature that keeps the fibre tip dust free and ensures low connection loss and high repeatability.
Telecom Italia and Telekom Deutschland – two major European telecommunication operators – evaluated the connector in their laboratories. Paolo Pellegrino from Telecom Italia testifies that ‘testing VECTOR samples in Telecom Italia has been an amazing lab experience: we measured optical connectors and we obtained results that were only achievable with optical splices so far’. Elmar Pellenz from Telekom Deutschland confirms that ‘the optical performance values obtained during extensive laboratory tests on a large set of assembled VECTOR connectors in the facilities of the network operators were very good to excellent. The requirements laid down in Grade B and even better can be met with this technology’.
The VECTOR connector is designed to be field-installable but can also be factory-installed. The process for installing the connector is far easier and less labour intensive than a ferrulebased connector. When compared to other field-installable connectors, the VECTOR connector is the least skill-sensitive.
Stephane Berghmans, project coordinator at CommScope is proud of the final result and believes that ‘the VECTOR solution is what we needed to bring affordable ultrafast internet connections to all European households’.
Check out VECTOR technology at work: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKDY3kObDX4
VECTOR (Versatile Easy installable Connector implementing new Technologies for accelerated fiber Optic network Roll-outs in Europe) was a European Commission funded research and innovation initiative in which universities and telecom industry teamed up to develop an innovative, low-cost and easy field-installable optical fiber connector technology. It exploits the latest developments in the field of heat-shrinkable materials, nano-materials, high-tech gels, micro-fabrication and micro-mechanical alignment systems to achieve optical connections with superior specifications. Partners from all over Europe have teamed up to achieve the project objectives. The project was coordinated by CommScope. VECTOR also relied on important contributions from 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).
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