Which connector is best?
Questions have arisen recently on the ability of field-terminated
no-epoxy/no-polish (NENP) connectors to support high-data-rate digital
systems and analog video systems. These questions have resulted in a
number of businesses and campuses installing factory-terminated fibers
through the use of fusion splicers instead of field-terminated fibers.
In tests to judge the ability of field-terminated single-mode NENP
connectors to reliably support high-data-rate (10 Gbps, 40 Gbps) and
analog video systems in a manner equivalent to fusion-spliced,
factory-manufactured connectorized pigtails, four backbone architecture
scenarios were evaluated. These included point-to-point and mesh at
distances of 300 meters to 12 kilometers to compare the high-data-rate
and analog video performances of the single-mode NENP SC connector to a
spliced single-mode SC connector pigtail.
For each scenario, the single-mode NENP SC connectors had -40 dB
reflectance and the single-mode SC pigtails had -55 dB reflectance.
Single-mode NENP SC connectors with -55 dB reflectance were also
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included for the analog video system evaluation. Each connector utilized
a flat polished ferrule end-face.
NENP SC connectors and fusion-spliced pigtails were installed on
each backbone cable, while factory-manufactured SC jumpers with -55 dB
reflectance were used for patch panel cross-connects and interconnects.
A certified contractor installed each connector to represent actual
Testing of 10 Gbps was performed at the 1,310-nm wavelength in
accordance with the IEEE-802.310GBASE-LR physical media dependent, using
a standards-compliant transceiver. A minimum average receiver power
level of -14.4 dBm is specified for a bit error rate (BER) of 10^-12. A
stringent pseudorandom binary (bit)sequence (PRBS)of 2^31-1 was used to
generate receiver BER waterfall curves for the comparative analysis.
Testing of 40 Gbps was performed at 1,550 nm using four
time-division multiplex 10-Gbps electrical data signals, with a PRBS of
2^31-1 to generate receiver BER waterfall curves for the comparative
analysis. Analog testing was performed across the 55- to 550-MHz
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frequency range using 77 multiplexed RF channels with transmission at
the 1,550-nm wavelength. A 6-MHz band pass filter was used to isolate
channels 2, 9 and 78 to perform the carrier-to-noise ratio (CNR)
comparative analysis using an electronic spectrum analyzer.
BER waterfall curves express the BER response to decreasing
received power. For each test scenario, a variable optical attenuator
was used to attenuate the receive power to derive the BER waterfall
curve. Each test scenario easily conformed to a BER of 10^-12 at the
minimum average receiver power level for 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps. The NENP
connectors exhibited equivalence performance for each test scenario when
compared to the spliced factory-terminated pigtails.
RF CNR analysis is the common metric for evaluating analog video
system performance. CATV standards define a minimum 43 dB for video
transmission. Three discrete channels were monitored to compare the CNR
performance for each scenario. Reference CNR measurements were made for
a back-to-back setup with transmission through a short fiber jumper and
compared to each tested scenario to derive a delta CNR. As with the
10-Gbps and 40-Gbps test results, the analog video test results for each
scenario showed that the NENP connectors give equivalent performance to
the spliced factory-terminated pigtails.
High-data-rate digital and analog video testing was performed to
evaluate the system performance difference between backbone single-mode
fiber cables terminated with NENP SC connectors and fusion-spliced
factory-polished SC connector pigtails. Test lengths simulated typical
distances and architecture topologies used in LANs. Test results showed
the NENP SC connector to have equivalent performance to a spliced SC
connector pigtail for 10-Gbps and 40-Gbps digital signals and analog
Doug Coleman is manager of technology and standards for Corning
Cable Systems, Hickory, N.C.
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