If you're working in data centers, you're going to need to know something about fiber optic connections. Fiber is the most common type of connection used for that last mile between backbone providers and your equipment. Just like any other cable, fiber cables have to connect to your equipment and this article is about two commonly used fiber connectiors: the SC and LC connectors.
A quick primerFirst, some background. My exposure to data centers is generally a single cabinet in general population. My DC provider gives me rack, power, and a patch panel. The patch panel is the central part of this article. The patch panel is generally mounted at the top of the rack because most data centers run their cables over head. The part of the patch panel that I use is referred to as the A-side and the other side is referred to as the Z-side. When I deploy into a new DC, my backbone provider gives me a Letter of Authorization (LOA). I take that LOA and order a cross connect from the DC using that letter. The DC techs need that LOA because it is their authority to connect my backbone provider to my patch panel. The DC techs will run cable from the ports my backbone provider has specified on their patch panel in the bowels of the DC (the Z side) to the ports I dictate on the patch panel in my rack (the A side). I then show up and start plugging things into my patch panel (the A side).
Connectors matter (kinda)The LOA will specify whether the DC techs should use LC or SC connectors on the Z side and I can usually instruct the DC what type of connectors I want on my end. It is important for me to know what type of connectors are being installed on my patch panel because I need to bring a compatible set of pig tails with me. More on that later. There are really only two considerations when choosing between LC and SC connectors, in my opinion.
- SC connectors are bigger and will take up an entire port on my patch panel.
- LC connectors are exactly half the size of an SC connector and I can therefore fit twice as many connections on my patch panel.