Why come to us?

  • Over 20 years’ dedication to meeting the global needs of the most demanding fibre optic specialists
  • Our focus on delivering customer satisfaction; attention to detail, expert advice and competitive pricing
  • We distribute only the best quality brands with no minimum order
  • ISO 9001:2008 certified production and distribution
  • Next-day delivery for all stocked items for customers throughout the UK and Europe
  • Two-day delivery for customers based outside Europe
  • Rapid sourcing of special and high-value capital equipment not already in stock
  • All products available for personal collection from our trade counter 8.30am-5.30pm
  • OEM accounts
  • Blanket and scheduled orders welcome – just ask
  • In-house expertise and training capability in all types of fibre terminations, including complex terminations, expanded beam and harsh environments

 

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Technical terms

What is fibre optics?

Picture sending signals zipping along from one location to another in the form of light guided through thin fibres of glass or plastic. These signals can be analogue or digital - voice, data or video information. Fibre can transport more information for longer distances in less time than any copper wire.

It's powerful and fast, fast, fast!

First get to know the language - the "jargon" - here's a list of terms you should get to know:


 

Metric system

Fibre optics, as a universal technology, utilises the metric system as the standard form of measurement. Several of the more common terms:

Metre

39.37 inches

Kilometre

1000 meters / 3,281 feet / 0.62 miles

Micron

1/1,000,000 th of a meter. 25 microns equal 0.001 inch. This is the common term of measurement for fibres

Nanometre

One billionth of one meter. This term is commonly used in the fibre optics industry to express wavelength or frequency of transmitted light


 

Let's start with fibre

 

Optical fibre

Thin strands of highly transparent glass or sometimes plastic that guide light

Core

The centre of the fibre where the light is transmitted

Cladding

The outside optical layer of the fibre that traps the light in the core and guides it along - even through curves

Buffer coating or primary coating: A hard plastic coating on the outside of the fibre that protects the glass from moisture or physical damage

Mode

A single electromagnetic field pattern (think of a ray of light) that travels in fibre

Multimode fibre

Has a bigger core (almost always 50 or 62.5 microns - a micron is one one millionth of a meter) and is used with LED sources at wavelengths of 850 and 1300 nm for short distance, lower speed networks like LANs

Singlemode fibre

Has a much smaller core, only about 9 microns, and is used for telephony and CATV with laser sources at 1300 and 1550 nm. It can go very long distances at very high speeds

Both multimode and singlemode fibre have an outside diameter of 125 microns - about 5 thousandths of an inch - just slightly larger than a human hair

Plastic optical fibre (POF)

A large-core (about 1mm) multimode fibre that can be used for short, low speed networks. POF is used in consumer HiFi and starting to be used as part of a new standard for car communication systems called MOST


 

Terms that describe fibre optic cable

 

Cable

Fibre needs protection to survive all the places it gets installed and it's the cable that provides it. Cables may have from one to hundreds of fibres inside

Jacket

The tough outer covering on the cable. Cables installed inside buildings must meet fire codes by using special jacketing materials

Strength members

Aramid fibres (Kevlar is the duPont trade name) used to pull the cable. The term is also used for the fibreglass rod in some cables used to stiffen it to prevent kinking

Armour

Discourages rodents from chewing through it


 

Termination

 

Connector

A non-permanent device for connecting two fibres or fibres to equipment where they are expected to be disconnected occasionally for testing or rerouting. It also provides protection to both fibres. (Parts for an ST connector are shown) [INSERT PIC]

Ferrule

A tube which holds a fibre for alignment, usually part of a connector

Splice

A permanent joint between two fibres

Mechanical splice

A splice where the fibres are aligned created by mechanical means

Fusion splice

A splice created by welding or fusing two fibres together

Fusion splicer

An instrument that splices fibres by fusing or welding them, typically by electrical arc

Hardware

Terminations and splices require hardware for protection and management: patch panels, splice closures, etc


 

Fibre performance specifications

Terms you use when you want to take your measurements:

Attenuation

The reduction in optical power as it passes along a fibre, usually expressed in decibels (dB). See optical loss

Bandwidth

The range of signal frequencies or bit rate within which a fibre optic component, link or network will operate

Decibels (dB)

A unit of measurement of optical power which indicates relative power. A -10 dB means a reduction in power by 10 times, -20 dB means another 10 times or 10 times overall, -30 means another 10 times or 1000 times overall, and so on

dB

Optical power referenced an arbitrary zero level

dBm

Optical power referenced to 1 milliwatt

Micron (m)

A unit of measure used to measure wavelength of light

Nanometre (nm)

A unit of measure used to measure the wavelength of light (meaning one one-billionth of a meter)

Optical loss

The amount of optical power lost as light is transmitted through fibre, splices, couplers, etc, expressed in dB

Optical power

Measured in "dBm", or decibels referenced to one milliwatt of power. While loss is a relative reading, optical power is an absolute measurement, referenced to standards. You measure absolute power to test transmitters or receivers and relative power to test loss

Scattering

The change of direction of light after striking small particles that causes loss in optical fibres and is used to make measurements by an OTDR

Wavelength

A term for the colour of light, usually expressed in nanometres (nm) or microns (m). Fibre is mostly used in the infrared region where the light is invisible to the human eye


 

Terms that describe the tools you will need for installation and termination

 

Jacket slitter or stripper

A cutter for removing the heavy outside jacket of cables

Fibre stripper

A precise stripper used to remove the buffer coating of the fibre itself for termination. There at three types in common use, called by their trade names: "Miller Stripper", "No-Nik" and "Micro Strip"

Cleaver

A tool that precisely "breaks" the fibre to produce a flat end for polishing or splicing

Scribe

A hard, sharp tool that scratches the fibre to allow cleaving

Polishing puck

for connectors that require polishing, the puck holds the connector in proper alignment to the polishing film

Polishing film

Fine grit film used to polish the end of the connector ferrule

Crimper

A tool that crimps the connector to the aramid fibres in the cable to add mechanical strength


 

Terms that describe test equipment you will need

 

Optical power meter

An instrument that measures optical power from the end of a fibre

Test source

An instrument that uses a laser or LED to send an optical signal into fibre for testing loss of the fibre

Optical Loss Test Set (OLTS)

A measurement instrument for optical loss that includes both a meter and source

Reference test cables

Short, single fibre cables with connectors on both ends, used to test unknown cables

Mating adapter

Also called splice bushing or couplers, allow two cables with connectors to mate

Fibre tracer

An instrument that allows visual checking of continuity and tracing for correct connections

Visual fault locator

A device that allows visual tracing and testing of continuity

Microscope

Used to inspect the end surface of a connector for flaws or dirt

OTDR

An instrument that uses back scattered light to find faults in optical fibre and infer loss from only one end of the cable

Adhesives

Cabling

Cable assemblies

Cleaning

Components

Connectors

Enclosures

Harsh Environment

Kits

Media converters

Polishing films

Splicing

Supplies

Testing & inspection

Tooling

About

Tech Optics Ltd provides leading companies worldwide with an extensive range of the best available fibre-optic communications products, customised cable assemblies and fibre-optic expertise. We will give you our best possible service, technical assistance and support along with competitive pricing on our world-class range of products.

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Contact Us:

Phone: +44 (0)1732 770466
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Address:
Unit 6, Tannery Road
Tonbridge
Kent TN9 1RF
England