Fibre optic communications testing and networking platform specialist M2 Optics Inc has been awarded a patent (9,696,512) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a specially designed fibre optic cable feedthrough. The purpose of the patented FT adapter is to allow a fibre optic cable to pass through a variety of panel types, such as a device enclosure, without requiring an additional connection point on the panel itself.
The traditional practice of connecting an external cable to a device has been to use a panel-mounted adapter that simply allows for a common mating point between both the internal and external cables. M2 says that while this is acceptable for many applications, it does result in a small loss of the light signal at that connection point. For more demanding applications seeking to minimise signal loss, a cable feedthrough is preferred, in order to eliminate that extra connection point. While generic rubber grommets can serve as a feedthrough, they are produced in different shapes and sizes and often do not provide a strain relief mechanism, which results in the need for different layouts and/or additional parts.
As a better solution, M2 designed the FT adapter in a footprint that matches commonly used fibre optic industry connector mounts, such as the popular SC cutout, to limit the need for panel modifications. The FT adapter grips the fibre cable in a manner that prevents slippage and offers built-in strain relief, without the use of extra parts. The conical openings also help to prevent the cable from crimping if it is bent close to the panel. Lastly, the two-piece design allows the adapter to be added at any point on the cable, an arrangement designed to make it easy to integrate and install into various devices and systems.
“This winning idea is the result our engineering team identifying a practical solution to suit a customer’s special fibre testing application”, states Kevin Miller, M2 Optics CEO. “Working within a scenario where re-designing the device enclosure was not an option, the FT adapter was developed to offer a high performance cable feedthrough that also compliments the look of today’s fibre-based equipment.”
The patent covers a number of related cable feedthrough configurations generated by M2 for both single and multiple cables. Despite not having formally announced availability until now, M2 has already shipped the adapters in quantity to several high-profile organisations.