As the use of Multi-Fiber connectors such as MPO continues to grow, technicians that have traditionally worked with single fiber or duplex connectors (such as SC or LC) are overwhelmed with the testing challenges unique to MPO. While the tests they need to perform are the same (i.e. measure length and optical loss, check polarity, ensure end face condition), MPO connectors have several attributes that are more complex than a standard duplex link with LC or SC connectors. As a result, the testing process for MPO connections becomes much more time consuming and complex.
Most of the challenges that technicians encounter when testing MPO connectors result from using tools designed for single fiber connectors. For example, an Optical Loss Test Set (OLTS) can be used to measure length, optical loss, and check polarity of MPO links by using fan out cables that break the MPO down to individual LC or SC connectors. However, this process adds significant complexity to the test process, as well as expensive cable assemblies and test steps that technicians have previously not had to perform. Likewise, maintaining MPO connector end face condition is essential to getting the desired performance from these connectors. While they can use the same fiber microscopes to inspect the end faces of single fiber connectors like SC or LC by adding dedicated inspection tips for MPO connectors, the procedure for these multi-fiber connectors takes more time than for single fiber connectors.