The Robust Optical Connector is a fibre-to-the-antenna (FTTA) connector designed for use on mobile telecoms cell-site masts, both for 3G and LTE (4G) networks. It connects into a remote radio head box (RRH) which resides up the mast, close to the antenna arrays. The product has been created incorporating opto-mechanical design concepts that isolate internally floating optical components from the harsh external environment. This results in maximum optical performance independent of external effects.
Dr John Hannigan, Engineering Director, Volex Europe (part of the Volex Group), comments, “The Robust Optical Connector is particularly suitable for FTTA applications in mobile telephone networks and is available in custom lengths. It is easily installable in the field whether at the top of a mobile phone tower or down at the radio base station. The versatility of the product also makes it equally suitable for industrial, security and broadcasting applications, or indeed other applications where IP68 protection is required with high optical performance.”
The advantages of FTTA technology are both cost and environment-related, using up to 50% less power consumption compared to traditional copper solutions, with no feeder loss. Within the install phases, its small size and lightweight properties in comparison to copper or RF cable links mean it can be carried to site and handled easily at height, resulting in a faster install time. Optical cable assemblies enable data transmission at high bandwidth over longer distances, without the effect of interference or data surges. This is a key factor, particularly in mobile communication.
Hannigan continues, “We are seeing typical insertion and return losses of less than 0.15dB and greater than 50dB, respectively, from the Robust Optical Connector when single mode optical fibres are used.” He concludes, “The Robust Optical Connector uses components already available in the market for cost-effectiveness and has been designed to be connected with similar products if desired, with no loss to optical or environmental performance.”