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How to Tell the Difference Between FC and ST Connectors

In the field of fiber optics, especially within FTTH (Fiber to the Home) applications, distinguishing between different types of connectors is crucial for ensuring proper fiber network performance.
fc st connector
Table of Contents

Two common types of fiber connectors are the FC (Ferrule Connector) and the ST (Straight Tip) connector. Understanding their unique characteristics is essential for anyone working with fiber optic systems.

FC Fiber Connectors

Developed initially by NTT Japan, the FC connector has been a standard in the industry for its reliability and dust resistance. Here’s how to identify and understand the FC connector:

  • External Strengthening Method: The FC connector uses a metallic sleeve for external reinforcement.
  • Tightening Mechanism: It employs a screw-on mechanism which requires threading the connector to attach it securely to the equipment.
  • Physical Characteristics: Simple design, cylindrical shape with a metallic body.
  • Performance: The original FC connectors used a ceramic ferrule that was sensitive to dust and prone to Fresnel reflections, which made improving the return loss difficult. However, improvements came with the introduction of the PC (Physical Contact) polish, which greatly enhanced performance with a more rounded ferrule end-face.
  • Common Uses: Common using in telecommunications networks due to their secure connection and dust resistance.

ST Fiber Connectors

The ST connector is another fiber optic connector, notable for its bayonet-style locking mechanism. Here’s what sets the ST connector apart:

  • External Structure: ST connectors have a round shell and a spring-loaded bayonet locking mechanism.
  • Tightening Mechanism: To secure an ST connector, it is inserted and then twisted about half a turn until it clicks into place. This mechanism is different from the screw-on style of the FC connector.
  • Physical Characteristics: An ST connector also has a 2.5mm ferrule. Similar to the FC and SC connectors, but features in round shape and unique locking.
  • Performance: The bayonet-style lock provides a firm, stable connection, making it less prone to disconnection than some other types.
  • Common Uses: While ST connectors were once prevalent in multimode data communication networks, they are now frequently found in fiber distribution settings and local area networks (LANs).
fc st connector
fc st connector

Key Differences

  • Locking Mechanism: The FC uses a screw-on locking mechanism, whereas the ST uses a bayonet-style lock.
  • Durability: While both are designed to be robust, the FC connector’s screw-on design provides a tighter and potentially more dust-resistant connection. However, the ST connector, with its bayonet lock, is quicker to connect and disconnect but can be more vulnerable to breakage if not handled properly.
  • Application: FC connectors remain a staple in telecom environments, while ST connectors are commonly used in network environments, like LANs, where quick deployment is beneficial.

By understanding these differences, you can make informed choices about which connector type is best for their specific application.

Both FC and ST connectors have their advantages and meets the varying needs of the fiber optic industry.

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