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Browse Prior Art Database

Low-Cost Wrap/Process Connector for Fiber Optics

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000120310D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-02
Document File: 3 page(s) / 116K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Jeche, MW: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Fiber-optic wrap connectors that "wrap back" the signal from the transmitter port into the adjacent receiver port are commonly employed for diagnostics and configuration determination. A low-cost wrap connector is disclosed herein which provides this function and also provides protection for the optical components from manufacturing processes.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Low-Cost Wrap/Process Connector for Fiber Optics

      Fiber-optic wrap connectors that "wrap back" the signal
from the transmitter port into the adjacent receiver port are
commonly employed for diagnostics and configuration determination.  A
low-cost wrap connector is disclosed herein which provides this
function and also provides protection for the optical components from
manufacturing processes.

      As data processing systems become more distributed using fiber-
optic I/O channels, automatic configuration recognition and
diagnostics will be required.  With a fiber-optic wrap connector
installed in each optical port not connected to a channel, the system
can determine its configuration and verify the proper operation of
each I/O port using software diagnostics.

      Fiber-optic wrap connectors currently exist in the industry but
are costly.  If the only use of the wrap is to verify proper
operation of the link when the system is in final test, cost would
not be an issue since they could be reused after manufacturing test.
However, cost becomes very important if a wrap connector must remain
installed in each fiber-optic port when the machine is shipped.
Because fiber optics is a maturing technology and due to the
extremely tight tolerances and multi-step polishing process required,
assembling standard fiber-optic connectors is still a labor intensive
and expensive process.  For this reason, using standard fiber-optic
components and techniques to produce a wrap connector results in an
expensive assembly.

      An additional challenge with fiber-optic components is process
compatibility.  Standard in-line card/board cleaning processes using
solvents or even de-ionized (DI) water can destroy the sensitive
optical components.  This problem is commonly solved by inserting a
silicone rubber plug into the optical port during assembly which must
be removed in a later operation.

      The wrap/process connector embodiment is illustrated in the
figure.  The housing consists of two identical, molded plastic half
shells 1 with integral side clips.  Making these parts identical
decreases the tooling cost as only one mold is required.  These
shells snap together, eliminating the need for adhesives or other
fasteners, and contain the optical fiber 2, ferrules 3, preload
compression springs 4 and O-...