small form factor (fiber optics) (SFF)
Small Form Factor(SFF) connectors are single-fiber connectors for optical data transmission with significantly smaller form factors compared to conventional FOC connectors. SFF connectors enable port densities similar to copper cables with RJ45 connectors. However, developers must pay close attention to component specifications, especially for high-speed applications such as Gigabit Ethernet, to make do with the power budget of the line.
The advantages of SFF connectors are higher assembly density and easier handling. The higher density directly results in a smaller footprint for interconnect and network components such as fiber hubs,routers, switches and patch panels. Port density can be nearly doubled using SFF connectors compared to traditional fiber optic connectors. A further increase in port density can be achieved with multi-fiber connectors such as the MPO connector or the MTRJ connector. These connectors are extremely compact and can accommodate up to 72 fibers.
Unlike earlier connectors such as the ST connector or the CS connector, the SFF connectors are twist- proof and can be used with PMF fibers, Polarization Maintaining Fiber (PMF). Several different SFF versions exist, the more popular of which are the MTRJ connector, VF-45 connector, LC connector, F3000 connector, MU connector and the LX.5 connector.
Most SFF connectors were originally developed for multimode fibers, but later connectors for single- mode fibers were added to meet the growing demand for single-mode backbone connections.
SFF connectors are mainly used in-house in connection with high-speed networks such as Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, ATM, FDDI and Fibre Channel. The further development of SFF connectors leads to the more compact VSFF connectors, with a Very Small Form Factor (VSFF).