VECTOR (Versatile Easy installable Connector incorporating new Technologies for accelerated fibre Optic network Roll-outs in Europe) aims to develop and commercialize an innovative low-cost highly performing field installable connectivity system that will impact – at a multi-million-euro scale – the capital expenditure (CAPEX) and the operation expenditure (OPEX) of telecom fibre broadband networks and that will facilitate the achievement of the European 2020 objectives for broadband connectivity.
The VECTOR connectivity system will comprise a ferrule-less connector granting ultra-high optical performance and a fully automated installation tool allowing for field installation by a general-skill technician.
Disruptive fibre-handling techniques based on heat-shrinkable materials, advanced nano-textiles, and plasma-shaping will be developed and incorporated in the installation tool to ensure reliability, whereas high-tech gels and micro-mechanical alignment systems will be included in the connector to yield superior optical performance. Finally, micro-fabrication and replication techniques will be proposed to ensure ease of volume production at low price. The use of connectors instead of permanent splices will grant flexible reconfigurability of the network.
Overall, VECTOR aims to outperform the state-of the-art of ferrule-based connectors by optical performance, flexibility, reliability and cost. This will ultimately break the current paradigm of ferrule-based optical connectivity requiring extensive pre-engineering and highly specialized manpower for field deployment. This will strengthen the competitiveness of European industry in the field of fibre-optic connectivity and at the same time ensure job creation in the involved companies.