Are all PM cables single mode?

Yes, PM (polarization maintaining) cables are single mode. In order to maintain light wave propagation along a particular axis, only one mode can exist.

Are you able to metallize fiber?

Yes, Timbercon offers metallization services with a number of substrates. Please contact your Timbercon representative to discuss your requirements.

Are you able to polish custom angles on bare fiber?

Yes, we offer a wide variety of angled polishes for SM, MM, and PM bare fiber applications. Generally, 8 degrees is preferred for many applications. However, we can polish and custom angle on request.

Can I get a portable test module for my lab?

Timbercon offers both rack mount and portable network simulation modules for both installed and portable (non-installed) applications. Available in a variety of fiber lengths, these modules can be packaged and terminated to suit various applications.

Can I get test data with my cables?

While we guarantee specification compliance, we do not record individual cable data due to the associated costs. Should your applications require documented test data for each product, we can provide that for you as a custom service.

Can SFP Loopbacks be programmed on site?

No, any programming required for an SFP loopback must be done during manufacturing, prior to shipment.

Can the SFP loopbacks be pre-programmed prior to shipment?

Yes, Timbercon SFP loopbacks are pre-programmed with customer specific information prior to shipment.

Can you make "gold" or "master" launch cables?

Timbercon offers several different types of gold or certified cables. These cables are manufactured to very strict tolerances and accompanied with full test documentation including interferometer reports.

Can you mate composite connectors with aluminum ones?

Yes, all primary manufacturers have run extensive test to insure that composite and aluminum connectors will inter-mate. However, when matching composite and aluminum accessories (i.e. an aluminum backshell to a composite plug connector) it is best to seek out an experienced manufacturer to insure that thread types are compatible.

Do your SFP electrical loopbacks meet the MSA specification?

Yes, all Timbercon SFP loopbacks are MSA compliant.

Explain the difference between simplex and duplex.

Simplex, or SX, refers to a single fiber cable or connection. Duplex, or DX, refers to a double (side-by-side) cable or connection.

How do you use and adjust a variable attenuator?

Typically, variable attenuators will have an adjustment via set screw or barrel screw on the body of the attenuator. If you are using a set screw attenuator, you will need a small flat-blade screw driver to adjust; turning to the left or right to raise or lower the attenuation. If you are using a barrel type attenuator, you can simply turn the barrel screw on the body of the attenuator to achieve the desired level of loss.

How does dB relate to the % of light that transmitted?

The higher the dB, the less light that passes. Example: a cable with 1dB attenuation will have more light passing from one end to the other than a cable with 5dB attenuation. See the dB vs. Optical Power Loss chart.


View more information on How does dB relate to the % of light that transmitted?.

How many fibers can you terminate with a single MTP® connector?

Timbercon offers MTP and MPO assemblies with up to 24 fibers terminated in a single ferrule.

*MTP® is the registered trademark of US Conec Ltd.

How many hours of corrosion resistance do I get out of plated composite connector?

This will depend upon the specific construction of the composite materials and also the different configurations between component manufacturers. However, the leading manufacturer of composite connectors and accessories publishes that composite components meet conductive and functional requirements and exhibit no exposure of underplate or base material when subjected to 2000 hrs salt spray per MIL-STD-1344 Method 1001.

How rugged can you make a fiber optic assembly?

There is virtually no limit to how rugged we can make a product. We have a number of qualified ruggedization methods, but should your application require something different, our custom design and manufacturing services can make a product to withstand just about anything.

If I specify composite connectors, does that mean that I can only use composite backshell components, etc.?

It is quite common practice to utilize aluminum backshells and dust covers with composite connectors. Two primary reasons for this are cost and component availability.

Is elite loss available for all fiber counts?

Timbercon supports MTP Elite and MPO Elite up to 12 fibers.

Is your stainless steel jacket for simplex and duplex patch cords water tight?

No, while Timbercon stainless jacketing is resistant to water, it is not water tight and should not be used in submerged applications.

What are mode-conditioning cables used for?

Mode conditioning cables are used in situations requiring connection of a multimode system to a single mode signal.

What are the different ways/methods to attenuate?

The main ways of attenuating are through core offset, air gap, thin film coating, dichroic filter, doped fiber, and macrobend.

What are the key application differences between D38999 and M28876 connectors?

D38999 is traditionally considered an aerospace connector. The D38999 was designed and constructed to handle wide temperature ranges and high vibration environments. Also, it incorporates a “rear entry/rear release” termini. D38999 was adapted for fiber optics from the traditional electrical version, using the size 16 contact, which makes it a good candidate for hybrid (opto/electrical) requirements.

There are many standard insert arrangements, but you can also create custom inserts that could incorporate the different electrical termini found in the general connector family. The tight tolerance fiber optic D38999 connectors that Timbercon builds with incorporates design features to ensure precise optical alignment of optical fibers. Connector polarization keys and keyways are machined to tighter tolerances than required by general specifications to reduce radial misalignment and insertion loss. These connectors also have a positive bottoming surface and conductive surface plating to ensure EMI/RFI penetration is cut off from electronics equipment. Also, fiber optic D38999 connectors can take advantage of the vast catalog of backshell and accessory components available in the marketplace, which enables us to develop custom assembly designs tailored to each specific requirement. When you incorporate composite connector bodies and accessories you effectively remove product longevity concerns due to elements such as high and low temperatures, as well as salt air and salt water.

M28876 has long been the fiber optic connector of choice for the Navy. With full environmental sealing, including gasket sealed termini, MIL-C-28876 specified connectors (as well as their commercial equivalents) are qualified to the Navy’s MIL-S-901 Grade A Medium Weight Mechanical Shock requirement. This connector family was designed specifically for fiber optics, and incorporates the M29504/14/15 “rear insert/front release” termini, which can incorporate a termini crimp sleeve for added mechanical strength in unprotected configurations.

What does fast axis and slow axis mean for PM?

Fast and slow refers to the alignment or propagation direction (plane) of the light. Fast axis aligns the internal stress rods in a horizontal fashion, while slow axis aligns stress rods in a vertical fashion.

What is "stagger" length and why would I need it?

Stagger refers to a change in the breakout length of each fiber in a multi-fiber or ribbon fiber assembly. A staggered breakout cable is typically used in applications where the cable must be routed to one side rather than from the front of a given port. The stagger allows connector/port mating while allowing for differing distance from port to cable transition.

What is a hermaphroditic connector?

A hermaphroditic connector is a ruggedized connector supporting multiple channels, capable of mating to identical connectors without the use of an adapter.

What is a loopback used for?

A loopback is used to test the functionality of a port by looping the optical or electrical signal back to the port from which it was sent. Used for a variety of testing, diagnostics, analysis, and troubleshooting applications, optical and electrical loopbacks are available in nominal and attenuated versions with multiple fiber types to match an existing system.

What is IL?

IL (insertion loss) is the amount of light or signal loss as a function of splicing, terminating, or mating.

What is POF?

POF (plastic optical fiber) is a type of fiber optic cable made of plastic rather than traditional glass. POF fiber is widely used in medical, imaging, and illumination applications where signal or light is not required to travel long distances. Generally POF is a much larger core size than standard glass fiber, making it more conducive for short distances.

What is the bend radius of flexible PEEK conduit?

Varies depending upon OD and material composition. Consult your nearest Timbercon sales representative to discuss.

What is the bend radius of TACTICAL fiber optic cable?

It varies depending upon the cable type and OD. A good rule of thumb is that 8x the OD under long term load.

What is the best connector for high shock environment?

M28876 connectors are rated to the Navy MIL-S-901 Grade A Medium Weight shock requirement.

What is the best connector for high vibration environment?

Features such triple start coupling and anti-vibration coupling make it best for vibration areas. When you use composite versions of these connectors and accessories, you get base material that is inherently vibration-dampening and lighter weight, which means they are less subject to harmonic resonance, thus less likely to vibrate loose under prolonged periods of vibration and shock.

What is the difference between a coupler and splitter?

In most cases, there is no difference between a coupler and a splitter, the function of the part is the same. The functional difference is created by which end you use as the input vs. the output. Example: 1×2 coupler/splitter, if the input side is on that of the single leg, it will split the signal down the two legs (splitter). Alternatively, if the input is send on the two leg side, the signal will be combined down the single leg (coupler).

What is the difference between set-screw VOAs and barrel-type VOAs?

Set screw and barrel type VOA (Variable optical attenuators) offer the same functionality and performance, the difference is in how the attenuation level is adjusted. Barrel type VOAs are adjusted by turning a thumb screw or ‘barrel’ on one end of the attenuator body, while a set screw type adjusts by turning a small screw left or right to adjust attenuation. Typically set screw type VOAs are used for applications where the attenuator needs to be mounted to a surface as the attenuator body is generally equipped with mounting holes. Barrel type VOAs are typically used for applications where the attenuator is not mounted to a surface, but either can be used for most applications.

What is the minimum bend radius of a cable?

The minimum bend radius of a given cable is 10x the outer diameter of the cable.

What is the rear pull strength rating for a M29504 termini?

M29504 connectors differ from one type to another and with it the pull strength ratings differ accordingly. Depending on the particular configuration of the cable assembly, pull strength can range from that of the stated connector manufacturer pull strength to a much greater pull strength when incorporated with Kevlar reinforcement and ruggedized assembly construction. Discuss you project requirement with a Timbercon representative, they will be able to assist you in establishing what method of construction will provide the proper amount of pull strength durability for your application.

What is the shortest cable you can make?

Timbercon standard cable lengths start at 8″, however we can manufacturer cables as small as 4″ on a custom application basis. Talk with your account manager about custom short length cables.

What is the temperature range for composite connectors?

-65 to +175C is the generally accepted range. However, these values will vary depending upon construction type and method. Component manufactures use different materials and formulas in the construction of composite thermoplastic components. Here are some common materials and their prolonged exposure temperatures:

  • UltemR (PEI) – 378 F
  • RytonR (PPS) – 500 F
  • TorlonR (PAI) – 500 F
  • PEEK – 500 F
  • LCP – 610 F

What is the typical IL loss values for a military connector?

Traditionally loss specification for military fiber optics is published for the termini itself. The general specification ranges for -0.5 ~ -0.75db per connector for multimode termini. For single mode termini these values are -0.25 ~ -0.4 range per termini. How this translates to a cable assembly with multiple channels will vary between manufacturers. In addition, you can see larger loss values on cables with higher density channel counts, due to connector/termini alignment & force issues.

What is your "standard" MTP® Insertion Loss?

All Timbercon MTP cables have a typical insertion loss if 0.4dB.

What type of plating do I need to protect myself in a salt water or salt air environment?

Generally, cadmium plate over electroless nickel is considered the best plating for aluminum components that will be used in high salt environments. Manufacturers vary on their rates but it is generally considered between 500 and 1000 hrs corrosion resistance. However, with many organizations choosing to steer away from cadmium and lead, composite connectors are a proven reliable alternative.

Where did Armadillo come from?

The Armadillo is a branded product of Timbercon, characterizing our signature loopback and cable products. Originally coined as a descriptor to the rugged shell, the Armadillo has become synonymous with ruggedized optical products.

Why can’t I use Zip ties?

Zip ties are not recommended for securing fiber optic cables as they can cause attenuation or in some cases fiber breakage due to the high level of pressure exerted on the fiber.

Why do you care about my light source and how do I find out?

Your light source can make a considerable difference in the type of fiber optic cable needed and how that cable will perform for your application. It’s extremely important to verify light source when working with attenuated cables or loopbacks as these products are designed to function at precise levels of attenuation based on specific light sources. Using a cable not designed for your light source can greatly affect the performance or actual attenuation.

Why is the length tolerance +10cm (4") and I can’t have a cable length I want?

Allowing for length tolerance allows us to re-terminate a cable assembly during the manufacturing process to compensate for a bad connector or polish, ensuring every cable you receive is of the highest quality and performance.

Why should I use stainless steel jackets?

Stainless steel jacketing adds durability to cable assemblies. In applications were traditional cable assemblies can be easily damaged, or typically fail, stainless steel cables can mitigate potential damage or strain by protecting the fiber.

Why would I use an APC connector?

APC, or angled polish connectors, minimize back reflection, ensuring the light does not reflect back into the transmitter or cable once it reaches the receive end. APC Connectors are typically used for application specific single mode projects.

Why would I want to attenuate a cable or loopback?

Attenuation can be beneficial for a number of applications. First, attenuation can be used to lessen the output of a high power light source for short launch distances, ensuring the receiving transceiver does not get damaged or over saturated due to an over powered signal. Second, attenuation can assist in testing and measurement applications where a certain level of loss is desired to perform diagnostic procedures. Third, attenuation is an easy and convenient method for simulating loss associated with distance, allowing network distance simulations to be conducted in a lab type environment with a single product.

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