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Easy-to-install ruggedised fibre optic connector

16 June 2010

Volex Group has launched the Robust Transceiver Connector (RTC); a multi-fibre optical connector specifically designed for next-generation radio systems in harsh environment applications. The easy-to-install Robust Transceiver Connector, made up of a single plug assembly, is IP68-rated to ensure protection against submersion in water, and maintains excellent optical performance whilst saving installation time and costs.

Easy-to-install ruggedised fibre optic connector
Easy-to-install ruggedised fibre optic connector

The Robust Transceiver Connector is a fibre-to-the-antenna (FTTA) connector designed for use on next-generation mobile telecoms cell-site masts, both for 3G and LTE (4G) networks. The product has been designed to join IP68-protected LC Duplex connectors directly to the transceiver, which is mounted and protruding through the remote radio head box (RRH) by means of a Volex-designed flange mount. The spring-loaded LC Duplex connectors, housed in Volex’s IP68-rated plug, can independently self adjust their position to ensure connection to the transceiver irrespective of its protrusion distance from the bulkhead.

Whereas the Robust Optical Connector product launched by Volex in February 2010 is designed for existing systems where the transceiver is located away from the bulkhead on a circuit board within the RRH, the Robust Transceiver Connector has been specifically designed for the next generation of radio systems, and connects directly to the optical transceiver via the Volex-designed flange mount, which is located on the front face of the bulkhead. As a result, there is no need for an internal fibre optic assembly, resulting in less optical losses and an overall lower cost of the link.

Dr John Hannigan, Engineering Director, Volex Group, commented: "The Robust Transceiver Connector is particularly suitable for FTTA applications in mobile telephone networks. The flange mount connection is designed so that the transceiver can be accessed by the engineer and easily installed or removed, eliminating the requirement for tooling and reducing installation time and costs. The versatility and ease of installation of the product also makes it equally suitable for industrial, security and broadcasting applications, or indeed other applications where IP68 protection is required with high optical performance."

Optical cable assemblies enable data transmission at high bandwidth over longer distances, without the effect of interference or data surges. This is a key factor, particularly in mobile communication. Hannigan continues, "We are seeing typical insertion and return losses of less than 0.15dB and greater than 50dB, respectively, from the Robust Transceiver Connector when single mode optical fibres are used." He adds, "The Robust Transceiver Connector uses LC Duplex components which are already available and proven in the market. It can be adapted for use with other connector product types if desired, with no loss to optical or environmental performance. For example, it can be used to house Ethernet RJ45 copper connectors and it can be retrofitted to support upgrades."

Jeff Bierman, Senior VP, Volex Group, commented: "With the arrival of next-generation mobile communications, antenna and base station installations will increasingly demand innovative products which can meet the demands of harsh conditions. Volex has used its industry expertise to answer this need, designing the Robust Transceiver Connector to offer a lightweight and easily installable solution which can withstand even the toughest environments."

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