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The operational expense for cleaning and inspection of optical connectors in data centers is increasing as the use of fiber optic connectors grows. With less sensitivity to contamination and scratches, expanded beam connectors have the potential to reduce operating expenses while maintaining high performance; however, the connectors still require inspection and cleaning to prevent performance degradation.

As Ethernet speeds increase, hyper-scale data centers need to bring faster, more reliable performance in high channel count environments. 3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Connectors are designed to deliver:

Designed for performance.

  • Expanded beam design optimized for next-generation data center needs.
  • Stable performance supports multi-link deployment.
  • Low insertion loss and reflectivity in both single-mode and multimode fiber.
  • Cut dust out of the connection. 

Datacenter dust can slow down productivity and deployment creating risks for downtime due to cleaning and maintenance requirements. Expanded beam optical connectors are created to be less sensitive to dust and help cut costs.

OFC 2021 3M Presentation and Overview
Data Center Expanded Beam Benefits

Expanded beam technology provides reduced sensitivity to dust.

  • Repeatable mating and re-mating performance.
  • Simple connector design with a low part count. 
  • Connectors engineered to scale up.

As next-generation data centers change and evolve, interconnect needs to be flexible.

  • Single-mode and multimode solutions to meet your connectivity needs
  • Configurable and scalable connector design
  • Supports rack and infrastructure applications

The 3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Ferrule uses a non-contact optical coupling in contrast to the more traditional physical contact methods. Together with the connector design, this helps to provide reduced sensitivity to dust, helping maintain signal integrity and reducing the need for, and cost of, maintenance and cleaning.

It is available in single-mode (1310 nm) and multimode (850 nm) versions. In single mode, the insertion loss specification is 55 dB. In multimode, insertion loss specification is 25 dB. The configurable and scalable connector design can accommodate anywhere from 12 fibers to 192 fibers. The simple, but robust hermaphroditic component geometry design, with the low part count, can be mated and re-mated reliably with a simple LC-style latch. The performance enables architects and engineers to deploy the technology in multilink data center applications.

Collaborating with inspection tool providers – creating an ecosystem that will enable scalable deployment

Next-generation technology for next-generation data centers.

The 3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Connector System is a multi-fiber connector system based on a newly expanded beam ferrule technology. Conventional multi-fiber connectors make use of physical contact between fibers. The 3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Ferrule expands the beam between connectors, reducing the connector’s sensitivity to dust and the need for frequent cleaning. The connector system supports low insertion loss and high return loss connectivity with a common technology for single-mode or multimode fibers. Critical mating alignment is controlled by the expanded beam ferrule without the use of metal guide pins protruding from the end of the connector. The system utilizes a hermaphroditic connector geometry with an LC-connector style latch to engage bulkhead adapters. 

data center

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