Evolution of the LC Connector for Fibre Connectivity
Fibre connectivity has evolved several times from its inception but one of the most widely used connectors within the Data Centre and telecoms markets has been the LC connector.
Developed in the late 1990s early 2000s by Lucent Technologies the LC or Little Connector was produced as a better, and smaller alternative to the ST or SC connector. Improving on the bulkier ST & SC connectors, LC fibre connectivity took the small form factor (SFF) appearance, but utilised a 50% smaller ferrule, a push pull housing with a latch for a more secure connection.
The LC’s smaller size and more secure connection made it ideal for use in evolving higher bandwidth networks where higher patching densities were required. Standard LC-LC fibre patch cables, where the fibre cable is fitted with two LC connectors at both ends, has become a standard fibre optic cable within the industry. Available with single mode (OS2) or multimode (OM3, OM4 or OM5) duplex or simplex fibre cable types. These tend to have two fibre cables with most connectors allowing the reversing of polarity through disconnecting the ferrules and then switching their positions.
Progression of LC fibre connectivity
Despite its 20+ years of use, the LC connector has further evolved with the introduction of HUBER+SUHNER’s LC-XD connector.
With increasing port densities at device I/O and patch panel levels, managing critical connection points with the original LC connector presents some limitations. With a higher number of connections, cable management became more challenging due to the increase in cable densities. Also, the small form factor, whilst great for achieving high density patching, could present handling issues when trying to add or remove fibre connections due to space limitations between connectors.
HUBER+SUHNER introduced the LC-XD Uniboot connector to combat these issues and make management of these critical connection points easier. Firstly, the Uniboot design enables a single jacketed cable that contains both Tx and Rx fibres, greatly reducing the space taken up by the traditional ‘figure of 8’ duplex cables used on standard LC connectors. This space saving lowers cable congestion by reducing cable bulk, improves cable management, traceability, and airflow.
Secondly, the LC-XD connector features an extended, rigid lever and has an innovative push-pull mechanism that greatly improves the handling particularly in high-density applications. This makes it easier to add, change or remove connections even in highly packed patching zones. The connector also allows for quick and easy polarity flipping without the need of any special tools, a simple ballpoint pen is all that’s needed. This in-field polarity reversal has its own benefits of reducing inventory requirements and lowering expenditure.
The LC-XD with its improved handling also enables increased traceability and identification. A 2-digit number can be affixed to the lever, while the optional label clip can also be applied for improved identification.
In the time that LC-XD connectors have been used on HUBER+SUHNER’s patch cords and trunk cables, they have become a trusted and safe way of improving their clients’ fibre connectivity. With over 20 million sold worldwide, the connector ensures reliable connections and disconnects without accidentally disrupting or dislodging adjacent ports which mitigates downtime risk. With the identification tab fitted, it reduces downtime risk further by helping identify fibres easier and reducing the risk of incorrect connector removal. The LC-XD is compatible for use with both standard and mini SFP transceivers lowering the cost of total ownership, as well as being compatible with LC patch panels, IANOS modules and LiSA fibre trays.
If you have a requirement that would benefit from LC-XD connectors or need more information about high-density fibre management please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.