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1. (WO2019006191) FIBER OPTIC PORT MODULE INSERTS, ASSEMBLIES AND METHODS OF MAKING THE SAME
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FIBER OPTIC PORT MODULE INSERTS, ASSEMBLIES AND METHODS OF

MAKING THE SAME

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Application Nos. 62/526,195 filed on June 28, 2017; 16/018,918 filed on June 26, 2018; 16/018,988 filed on June 26, 2018; and 16/019,008 filed June 26, 2018; the content of which is relied upon and incorporated herein by reference in entirety.

[0002] This applications also claims the benefit of priority under 35 USC §365 of International Patent Application Serial Nos. PCT/US2017/064092 filed on November 30, 2017; PCT/US2017/064095 filed on November 30, 2017; PCT/US2018/039484 filed on June 26, 2018; PCT/US2018/039485 filed on June 26, 2018; and PCT/US2018/039494 filed on June 26, 2018; all designating the United States of America, and the content of which is relied upon and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Optical fiber is increasingly being used for a variety of applications, including but not limited to broadband voice, video, and data transmission. As bandwidth demands increase optical fiber is migrating deeper into communication networks such as in fiber to the premises applications such as FTTx, 5G and the like. As optical fiber extended deeper into communication networks the need for making robust optical connections in outdoor applications in a quick and easy manner was apparent. To address this need for making quick, reliable, and robust optical connections in communication networks hardened fiber optic connectors such as the OptiTap® plug connector were developed.

[0004] Multiports were also developed for making an optical connection with hardened connectors. Prior art multiports have a plurality of receptacles mounted through a wall of the housing for protecting an indoor connector inside the housing that makes an optical connection to the external hardened connector of the branch or drop cable. As optical networks grow and the needs continue to evolve with FTTx and 5G

applications there is a further need for optical connectivity that is quick, simple and scalable.

[0005] Consequently, there exists an unresolved need for devices that allow flexibility for the network operators to quickly and easily make optical connections in optical networks while also addressing concerns related to limited space, organization, or aesthetics.

SUMMARY

[0006] The disclosure is directed to port module inserts comprising at least one connection port and a securing feature associated with the connection port. Methods of making the devices are also disclosed.

[0007] One aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway.

[0008] Another aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature, and at least one securing feature resilient member for biasing a portion of the at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway.

[0009] Yet another aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway, and a portion of the at least one securing feature is capable of translating within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway.

[0010] One other aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway, and the at least one securing feature comprises a bore, where and a portion of the at least one securing feature is capable of translating within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway.

[0011] A further aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway, and the at least one securing feature comprises a bore, where a portion of the at least one securing feature is capable of translating within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature translates from a retain position to an open position as a suitable fiber optic connector is inserted into the at least one connection port.

[0012] Yet another aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, and the at least one securing feature comprises a bore and a locking feature, where a portion of the at least one securing feature translates from a retain position to an open position as a suitable fiber optic connector is inserted into the at least one connection port.

[0013] A still further aspect of the disclosure is directed to a port module insert comprising a housing comprising an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The at least one securing feature being associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway, and the at least one securing feature comprises a securing member and an actuator, and the at least one securing member is capable of translating within a portion of the cavity. The securing member translates from a retain position to an open position as a suitable fiber optic connector is inserted into the at least one connection port.

[0014] The disclosure also discloses methods of making port module inserts. One method of making a port module insert comprises of the steps of providing a housing having an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature.

The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The method includes assembling at least one securing feature being so it is associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway. Other methods for making port module inserts as disclosed herein are also contemplated.

[0015] Another method of making a port module insert comprises the steps of providing a housing having an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The method includes assembling at least one securing feature being so it is associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway. The method also includes assembling at least one securing feature resilient member for biasing a portion of the at least one securing feature.

[0016]

[0017] The devices can have any suitable construction such as disclosed herein such a connection port that is keyed for inhibiting a non-compliant connector from being inserted and potentially causing damage to the device.

[0018] Additional features and advantages will be set forth in the detailed description which follows, and in part will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art from that description or recognized by practicing the same as described herein, including the detailed description that follows, the claims, as well as the appended drawings.

[0019] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description present embodiments that are intended to provide an overview or framework for understanding the nature and character of the claims. The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the disclosure, and are incorporated into and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate various embodiments and together with the description serve to explain the principles and operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0020] FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views of a plurality of fiber optic port module inserts according to the concepts disclosed installed into a closure;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the port module insert of FIGS. 1 and 2 removed from the closure;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the port module insert of FIG. 3 with an external fiber optic connector inserted and secured in the connection port for making an optical connection;

[0023] FIG. 5 is a partially exploded view of the port module insert of FIGS. 3 and 4;

[0024] FIGS. 6 and 7 depict perspective views of the inner housing of the port module insert of FIG. 5;

[0025] FIGS 8-10 are various views of the inner housing of the port module insert of FIG. 5 with resilient members shown;

[0026] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a portion of the securing feature of the port module insert of FIG. 5 with the biasing resilient members shown;

[0027] FIG. 11A is a cross-sectional view of the securing feature of FIG. 11;

[0028] FIGS. 12-14 are various views of the securing member of FIG. 11 without the springs;

[0029] FIGS. 15-17 are perspective views of the outer housing of the port module insert of FIG. 5;

[0030] FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the construction of the port module insert with the housing removed for showing the cooperation between the actuator and securing member of FIG. 5;

[0031] FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the construction of the internal components of port module insert of FIG. 5 with the inner housing shown in phantom lines;

[0032] FIGS. 20 and 21 are perspective views showing details of the construction of the port module insert of FIG. 5 with an external connector attached;

[0033] FIG. 22 is a perspective view of showing another device in rack using explanatory port module insert according to the concepts disclosed;

[0034] FIG. 23 is a perspective views of another port module insert having two connection ports according to the concepts disclosed and being installed into a multiport;

[0035] FIG 24 is a perspective view of the port module insert of FIG. 23 with two external fiber optic connectors inserted and secured in the connection port for making an optical connections;

[0036] FIG. 25 is partially exploded view of the port module insert of FIGS. 23 and

FIG. 24 the inner housing assembly removed from the outer housing;

[0037] FIGS. 26 and 27 are perspective views of the internal construction and operation of the port module insert of FIGS. 23-25 with the housing removed for showing the cooperation between the actuator and securing member;

[0038] FIG. 28 is a perspective view of the of the inner housing assembly of the port module insert of FIGS. 23-27 with the outer housing removed for clarity; and

[0039] FIG. 29 is a perspective view of the assembled port module insert of FIGS.

23 and 28 with the external fiber optic connectors attached.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0040] Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the disclosure, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Whenever possible, like reference numbers will be used to refer to like components or parts.

[0041] The concepts for the devices disclosed herein are suitable for providing at least one optical connection for indoor, outdoor or other environments as desired. Generally speaking, the devices disclosed and explained in the exemplary embodiments are fiber optic port module inserts (hereinafter "port module insert"), but the concepts disclosed may be used with any suitable device as appropriate. As used herein, the term "port module insert" means any device comprising a first connection port for receiving a fiber optic connector and making an optical connection configured as a modular assembly. Consequently, the port module insert that can be mounted into the opening of a suitable device as a module for making optical connections to the device. In one embodiment, the port module insert has a first connection port for receiving and securing an external fiber optic connector, and the first connection port is aligned with an adapter for making an optical connection between external fiber optic connector and a connector received in the adapter. Thus, the port module insert may be used in a variety of devices such as mounted to an external wall of the device for providing modular assembly of devices with different port counts, thereby providing further flexibility to the network provider. The port module insert comprises a securing feature associated with the at least one connection port for securing and releasing the external fiber optic connector.

[0042] The concepts disclosed advantageously allow compact form-factors for the port module inserts. The securing features disclosed herein for the port module insert engage directly with a portion of connector without conventional structures like prior art devices that require the turning of a coupling nut, bayonet or the like. As used herein, "securing feature" excludes threads and features that cooperate with bayonets on a connector. Thus, the devices disclosed may allow connection port to be closely spaced and may result in small devices since the room and structure needed for turning a threaded coupling nut or bayonet is not necessary. The compact form- factors may allow the placement of the port module insert into a variety of devices in in indoor, outdoor, buried, aerial, industrial or other applications while advantageously providing a device having at least one connection port with a robust and reliable optical connection in a removable and replaceable manner.

[0043] The port module inserts disclosed are simple and elegant in their designs. The devices disclosed comprise at least one connection port and a securing feature associated with the connection port that is suitable for retaining an external fiber optic connector received by the connection port. A keying portion of the connection port may cooperates with a key on a complimentary external fiber optic connector to inhibit damage to the connection port by inhibiting the insertion of a non-compliant connector while also ensuring the correct rotational alignment to secure the fiber optic connector. The keying portion may also aid the user during blind insertion of the connector into the connection port of the device to determine the correct rotational orientation with respect to the connection port when a line of sight is not possible or practical for alignment. The keying portion may be an additive keying portion to the primitive geometric round shape of the connection port passageway such as a male key. However, the concepts for the connection ports of devices may be modified for different connector designs without a keying portion as well.

[0044] The concepts disclosed advantageously allow the quick and easy connection and retention by inserting the fiber optic connectors directly into the connection port of the port module insert without the need or space considerations for turning a threaded coupling nut or bayonet for retaining the external fiber optic connector. Generally speaking, the securing features disclosed for use with port module inserts herein may comprise one or more components with at least one component translating for releasing or securing the external fiber optic connector to the device. As used herein, the term "securing feature" excludes threaded portions or features for securing a bayonet disposed on a connector.

[0045] Since the connector footprint used with the devices disclosed does not require the bulkiness of a coupling nut or bayonet, the fiber optic connectors used with the devices disclosed herein may also be significantly smaller than conventional fiber optic connectors.

[0046] The devices disclosed comprise a securing feature for directly engaging with a suitable portion of a connector housing of the external fiber optic connector or the like for securing an optical connection with the device. Different variations of the concepts are discussed in further detail below. The structure for securing the fiber optic connectors in the port module insert provides a quick-connect feature. The concepts disclosed

advantageously allow a scalable and relatively dense and organized array of connection ports in a relatively small form- factor while still being rugged for demanding environments.

[0047] The concepts disclosed herein are suitable for optical distribution networks such as for Fiber-to-the-Home or 5G applications, but are equally applicable to other optical applications as well including indoor, automotive, industrial, wireless, or other suitable applications. Additionally, the concepts disclosed may be used with any suitable fiber optic connector footprint that cooperates with the securing feature of the port module insert. Various designs, constructions, or features for devices are disclosed in more detail as discussed herein and may be modified or varied as desired.

[0048] FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views of an explanatory closure 500 comprising a plurality of port module inserts 100 according to the concepts disclosed. Port module inserts 100 are attached to a wall of a shell 510 of closure 500 as shown for making optical connections with fiber optic connectors disposed inside the closure. FIG. 2 shows the shell 510 of closure 500 comprising a plurality of openings 510a sized and shaped for receiving and securing a port module insert 100 at the external wall such as shown in FIG. 1. Of course, other devices may have one or more openings for receiving port module insert such as multiports (FIG. 23) and the like. Further, the openings need not be round, but can have any suitable shape to conform with the form- factor of the port module insert such as shown in FIG. 22.

[0049] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the port module insert 100 removed from the closure, and FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the port module insert 100 of FIG. 3 with an external fiber optic cable assembly having a connector 1 inserted and secured in the connection port 36 for making an optical connection. Housing 21 comprises an inner housing 21 A, and an outer housing 2 IB. Generally speaking, port module insert 100 comprises at least one connection port 36 being a portion of a housing 21. By way of explanation, at least one connection port 36 is molded as a portion of housing 21.

[0050] More specifically, the inner housing 21 A comprises at least one connection port 36 having an optical connector opening 38 extending from an outer surface 34 of the inner housing 21 A into a cavity 16 and defining a connection port passageway 33. The inner housing 21A also comprises at least one securing feature passageway 45. In this embodiment, the port module insert 100 comprises a securing feature 10 comprising an actuator 10A and a securing member 10M. The actuator 10A is used for releasing the external fiber optic connector from the connection port 36 as discussed herein.

[0051] FIG. 5 is an exploded view of explanatory port module insert 100 comprising at least one connection port 36 for making optical connections. Port module insert 100 comprises at least one securing feature 10, a housing 21 comprising an inner housing 21 A and an outer housing 2 IB, an adapter 30, and a resilient member 30R for biasing the adapter 30. Securing feature 10 comprises actuator 10A and securing member 10M that cooperate for retaining or releasing external fiber optic connectors. Securing member 10M may be biased to a normally retain position using one or more resilient members 10R, and the actuator 10A may be biased to a forward-position using resilient member 10AR. Although, cable assemblies with single-fiber connectors are shown, the concepts may be used with multi- fiber connectors as well. Port module insert 100 may also include a coupling nut 80 or other retaining structure for mounting the port module insert 100 to an external wall using the threads 21T on inner housing 21A.

[0052] The securing feature 10 is associated with the connection port passageway 33 for cooperating with the external fiber optic connector 10. A portion of the securing feature 10 may translate for releasing or securing the external fiber optic connector 10. One or more securing feature passageways 45 may extend from the outer surface 34 of port module insert 100. Respective securing features 10 are associated with the connection port passageways 33 and may have a portion of the securing feature 10 disposed within a portion of the securing feature passageway 45 of the port module insert 100.

[0053] Optical connections to the port module inserts 100 are made by inserting one or more suitable external fiber optic connectors 1 into the connection port passageway 33 of the connection port 36 as desired. Specifically, the connection port passageway 33 is configured for receiving a suitable external fiber optic connector 1 (hereinafter connector) of a fiber optic cable assembly (hereinafter cable assembly). Each connection port passageway 33 or connection port 36 is associated with a securing feature 10 for retaining (e.g., securing) connector 10 in the port module insert 100. The securing feature 10 advantageously allows the user to make a quick and easy optical connection at the connection port 36 of port module inserts 100 by pushing the connector 1 into the connection port 36 until it is secured. The securing feature 10 may operate for providing a connector release feature when actuated such as by pushing inward.

[0054] Specifically, the external connector 1 may be retained within the respective connection port 36 of the device by pushing and fully-seating the connector 1 within the connection port 236 as shown in FIG. 4. To release the connector 1 from the respective connection port 36, the securing feature 10 is actuated by pushing the actuator 10A inward to translate the securing member 10M a suitable distance, thereby releasing the securing member 10M from the connector and allowing connector 1 to be removed from the connection port 36. Stated another way, the at least one securing feature 10 is capable of releasing the connector 10 when translating the actuator 10A a suitable distance within the securing feature passageway 45. The full insertion and automatic retention of the connector 1 may advantageously allow one-handed installation of the connector 1 by merely pushing the connector into the connection port 36. The port module inserts 100 disclosed accomplish this connector retention feature upon full-insertion by biasing the securing member 10M to a retain position in the normal position. However, other modes of operation for retaining and releasing the connector 1 are possible according to the concepts disclosed. For instance, the securing feature 10 may be designed to require actuation for inserting the connector 1; however, this may require a two-handed operation.

[0055] Securing feature 10 may be designed for holding a minimum pull-out force for connector 1. In some embodiments, the pull-out force may be selected to release the

connector 1 before damage is done to the device or the connector 1. By way of example, the securing feature 10 associated with the connection port 36 may require a pull-out force of about 50 pounds (about 220N) before the connector 1 would release. Likewise, the securing feature 10 may provide a side pull-out force for connector 1 for inhibiting damage as well. By way of example, the securing feature 10 associated with the connection port 36 may provide a side pull-out force of about 25 pounds (about HON) before the connector 1 would release. Of course, other pull-out forces such as 75 pounds (about 330N) or 100 (about 440N) pounds are possible along with other side pull-out forces.

[0056] FIGS. 6 and 7 depict perspective views of the inner housing 21 A of the port module insert 100 of FIG. 5 for showing details of the same. Inner housing 21 A comprises at least one connection port 36 having an optical connector opening 38 extending from an outer surface 34 at a front end 21F into a cavity 16 defining a connection port passageway 33. As depicted, the connection port passageway 33 extends from the front end 21F to the rear end 21R of the inner housing 21A. Inner housing 21A also comprises at least one securing feature passageway 45. Securing feature passageway 45 receives a portion of the securing feature 10. More specifically, securing feature passageway 45 receives a portion of the securing member 10A that may translate within the securing feature passageway 45.

[0057] Cavity 16 is sized for receiving a portion of the securing feature 10M. Securing feature is biased relative to the inner housing 21 A to the retain position for securing the external connector 1 as discussed herein. Securing feature 10M comprises a bore 10B that is aligned with the connection port 36, and the bore 10B is sized and shaped to receive a portion of the external connector 1 therethrough and secure and release the same such as shown in FIGS 20 and 21.

[0058] Inner housing 21 A may comprise one or more retention features 21RF for assembling and securing the inner housing 21 A with the outer housing 2 IB. In this embodiment, retention features 21RF are a first and second cantilevered latch arms that extend from a flange 21FL of the inner housing 21a toward the rear end 21R. Retention features 21 A are configured to cooperate with complementary retention features on the outer housing 2 IB. In this embodiment, the latch arms cooperate with the windows 21 W on the outer housing 21B for securing the inner housing 21 A with the outer housing 21B. Additionally, inner housing 21A comprises slots 2 IS disposed at near the front and rear ends 2 IF, 21R for aligning the inner housing 21 A in the correct orientation for assembly with the outer housing 2 IB. Specifically, the slots 21S align and cooperate with one or more complimentary rails 21BRL (FIGS. 15 and 16) on the outer housing 2 IB.

[0059] Inner housing 21 A may also comprise a threaded portion 2 IT for securing a coupling nut 80 and securing the port module insert to wall of a device. Specifically, the wall of the device is captured between the flange 21FL and the coupling nut 80 when mounted.

[0060] FIGS 8-10 depict further views of the inner housing 21 A of the port module insert 100 of FIG. 5 with resilient members shown in position on the inner housing 21 A for illustrating the biasing direction of the securing member 10M. As shown, one or more securing feature resilient members 10R are disposed in cavity 16 and are seated into recesses disposed in the cavity 16 of inner housing 21 A as best shown in FIG. 9. Securing feature resilient members 10R bias the securing member 10M to normally retained position for the securing member 10M for retaining the external connector 1 in connection port 36 during use. FIGS. 8 and 10 also show an actuator resilient member 10AR disposed within the securing feature passageway 45. Specifically, actuator resilient member lOAR is disposed in the securing feature passageway 45 from the front end 21F of the inner housing 21 A for trapping the actuator resilient member lOAR within the securing feature passageway 45. Actuator resilient member lOAR is used for biasing the actuator 10A to a forward position and allows the actuator 10A to translate within the securing feature passageway 45.

[0061] As best depicted in FIG. 8, connection port passageway 33 may comprise a keying portion 21KP as part of the inner housing 21 A. As shown, keying portion 21KP is disposed forward of the securing feature 10 (i.e., before) in the connection port passageway 33 upon entry of the passageway. The keying portion 21KP may have any suitable location in the connection port passageway 33 forward of the securing feature. Keying portion 21KP inhibits the insertion of a non-compliant connector into connection port 236, thereby inhibiting damage that may be caused to the device. Suitable connectors 1 may have a complimentary keying feature that cooperates with the keying portion 21KP of port module insert 100. Keying portion 21KP may be a protrusion or additive feature disposed within the connection port passageway 33 on the optical connector opening 38 side of the securing feature 10 and may take several different configuration if used. For instance, keying portion 21KP may be a simple protrusion as shown. In other embodiments, the keying portion 21KP may take the shape of a D-shaped opening to allow only a suitable connector 1 having a complimentary feature to be inserted into the connection port 36. The keying portion 21KP may also aid with blind mating a connector 1 into the connection port 36 since it only allows further insertion into the connection port 36 when the connector is in the proper rotational orientation.

[0062] As best depicted in FIG. 9, the shape of the cavity 16 formed in the inner housing 21 A may key the assembly of the securing member 10M (FIG. 12) into the inner housing 21A so that the securing member 10M may only be assembled into the cavity 16 in one orientation for the correct orientation of the locking feature 10L in the passageway 33 for the port module insert 100.

[0063] Securing feature 10 comprises a securing member 10M capable of translating in a transverse direction with respect to the connection port 36. On the other hand, actuator 10A has a portion that is capable of translating within securing feature passageway 45 that is generally aligned with the connection port 36. The cooperation of the actuator 10A and the securing member 10M allow the movement of the actuator 10A in the direction aligned with the connection port 36 to be transformed into movement of the securing member 10M in a direction that is transverse to the connection port 36. However, the securing features 10 disclosed herein may take many different constructions or configurations.

[0064] The transformation of the direction of movement in the securing feature 10 is enabled by a wedge 10W disposed on the securing member 10M as shown in FIG. 11. Simply stated, as the actuator 10A is pushed forward the wedge 10W of the securing member 10M follows a complimentary surface of actuator 10A for translating the securing member 10M to an open position for connector release. When the displacing force is removed from the actuator 10A, then the actuator resilient member 10AR biases the actuator 10A to its home position, and securing member 10M can return to its normally retain position for securing external connector 1 since the actuator 10A is not applying a displacing force to the securing member 10M.

[0065] FIGS. 11-14 show detailed views of the securing member 10M. As shown in FIG. 11, securing member 10M comprises one or more posts 10P for positioning of the securing feature resilient members 10R when assembled. In this embodiment, two securing feature resilient members 10R are used on opposite sides of bore 10B for balancing the restoring force on the securing member 10M so that it translates in a smooth manner; and other concepts are possible. Securing member 10M locates wedge 10W disposed on the side opposite of the posts 10P. When assembled the posts 10P face the cavity 16 of the inner housing 21 A and the wedge 10W faces outward so that it can cooperate with the actuator 10A as depicted in FIG. 19. Securing member may also comprise one or more notches 10N or cutouts IOC, thereby allowing the nesting of the actuator 10A in close-position with the securing member for providing a compact form-factor.

[0066] In this embodiment, the securing feature 10 comprises a bore 10B that is aligned with the least one connection port passageway 33 when assembled. Bore 10B is sized for receiving a suitable connector 10 therethrough for securing the same for optical connectivity. Bores or openings through the securing feature 10 may have any suitable shape or geometry for cooperating with its respective connector. For instance, the bore may have any suitable shape desired including locking features on the surface of the bore for engaging with a connector for securing the same.

[0067] Securing feature 10 comprises a locking feature 10L. Locking feature 10L is disposed on securing member 10M and cooperates with a portion of the connector 1 when it is fully-inserted into the connection port 36 for securing the same. Specifically, the connector housing of connector 1 may have a cooperating geometry that engages the locking feature 10L. FIG. 11 shows a detailed view of securing member 10M comprising a bore 10B that is aligned with the connector port passageway 33 when assembled. The bore 10B is sized for receiving a portion of connector 10 therethrough.

[0068] In this embodiment, locking feature 10L is disposed within bore 10B. Specifically, locking feature 10L comprises a ramp in this embodiment. The ramp is integrally formed at a portion of the bore 10B with the ramp angling up when looking into the connection port 36. The ramp allows the connector 1 to push and translate the securing member 10M downward against the securing feature resilient member 10R as the connector 1 is inserted in the connection port 36. Ramp may have any suitable geometry such as a retention surface such as a ledge at the backside or the ramp may lead to a flat portion before the retention surface. Once the locking feature 10L of the securing feature 10 is aligned with the cooperating geometry of the of connector 1, then the securing feature 10 translates so that the locking feature 10L engages complementary feature of connector 1.

[0069] Details of the locking feature 10L are best shown in the cross-sectional view of FIGS. 11A taken through a longitudinal vertical plane through the wedge 10W. Locking feature 10L comprises a retention surface 10RS. In this embodiment, the backside of the ramp of locking feature 10L forms a ledge that cooperates with complimentary geometry on the connector housing of connector 1. However, retention surface 10RS may have different surfaces or edges that cooperate for securing connector 10 for creating the desired mechanical retention. For instance, the retention surface 10RS may be canted or have a vertical wall for tailoring the pull-out force for the connection port 36. However, other geometries are possible for the retention surface 10RS.

[0070] As best shown in FIGS. 11A, locking feature 310L is configured as ramp 10RP that runs to a short flat portion, then to a ledge that reverts to a round cross-section for creating the retention surface 10RS for engaging and retaining the connector 10 once it is fully- inserted into the connector port passageway 33 of the connection port 36. Consequently, the securing feature 10 is capable of moving to an open position (OP) when inserting a suitable connector 1 into the connector port passageway 33 since the connector housing engages the ramp 10RP pushing the securing feature downward during insertion.

[0071] The securing feature 10 translates from a retain position (RP) to an open position (OP) as a suitable connector 1 is inserted into the connection port 36. Once connector 10 is fully inserted into connector passageway 33, then the securing feature 10M automatically moves to the retain position (RP) since it is biased upwards to the retain position. This advantageously allows a plug and play connectivity of the connectors 1 with port module insert 100 without having to turn a coupling nut or a bayonet like conventional devices. Thus, connections to the port module insert may be made faster and in positions that may be awkward with relative ease.

[0072] FIG. 12 is a plan view showing the wedge 10W along with the perimeter profile from the front end 10F to the rear end 10R of securing member 10W. As shown, the perimeter in this view is asymmetrical for keying the assembly of the securing feature 10M to the shape of the cavity 216 of the inner housing 21A. This ensures that the locking feature 10L on the securing member 10M has the correct orientation for connector insertion and retention in the connection port 36. FIGS. 13 and 14 depict other views of the securing feature 10M to show details of this specific design.

[0073] FIGS. 15-17 show perspective views of the outer housing 21B of port module insert 100. Outer housing 21B comprises a front end 21BF having a large opening leading to a cavity that receives the inner housing 21 A, and a rear end 21 BR. As depicted, rails 21BRL cooperate with the slots 2 IS on the inner housing 21A for aligning the portions of the housing 21. One or more windows 21W cooperate with latch arms for securing the inner housing 21 A with the outer housing 2 IB Outer housing also comprises an opening 21 OP at the rear end 21 BR for allowing a portion of adapter assembly 30 through. Specifically, adapter assembly 30 with the resilient member 30R are installed from the cavity of the outer housing 2 IB so that the resilient member 3 OR is seated in the spring seat 21BSS between the outer housing 2 IB and a flange of the adapter 30. Once positioned the inner housing 21 A can be inserted into the cavity for trapping the adapter 30 and resilient member 30R between the inner and outer housings. Outer housing 2 IB may also have one or more keys for fine alignment of the inner housing 21A as well.

[0074] FIG. 18 shows the cooperation of the securing feature 10 components within the housing 21 along with the adapter assembly 30 and a resilient member 30R. As actuator 10A moves forward, the motion moves the securing member 10M in a transverse direction to an open position for releasing a connector as depicted by the arrows. A rear connector 52 may be received in the adapter assembly 30 for making an optical connection with the external connector 1 that may be inserted into the connection port 36. By way of example, the rear connector 52 may be a SC, LC or any other suitable connector as desired.

[0075] As shown, adapter assembly 30 is aligned with the connection port passageway 33 of connection port 36 when assembled. Adapter assembly 230A is suitable for aligning the ferrule of connector 1 inserted into connection port 36 with the rear connector 52 that may be received in the adapter assembly 30. Consequently, rear connector 52 disposed with a closure, multiport or other device may be optically mated with the external connector 1. Adapter assembly 30 may also comprise a ferrule sleeve (not visible) if desired. If used, ferrule sleeve receives a portion of the respective ferrule of connector 1 for precision alignment. The adapter assembly 30 is biased forward by resilient member 3 OR and allows the adapter assembly 30 to "float".

[0076] Actuator 10A provides a follower or cam surface that engages with the wedge 10W of securing member 10M. The follower or cam surface may be disposed within a longitudinal groove of actuator 10A for allowing nesting of the components and a more compact form- factor or not. Actuator 10A also includes a push-button (not numbered) at the front end and a post (not numbered) at a rear end for receiving the resilient member lOAR. The push-button at the front end may have a notch 10AN for nesting the position

of the actuator 10A and allowing the external connector to be inserted into the connection port 36.

[0077] FIG. 19 shows the assembly of inner housing 21 A loaded with components for assembly into the outer housing 2 IB. For clarity, the outline of inner housing 21 A is shown in phantom lines for showing details. The interface between components of the housing 21 may have other structure or features for securing or sealing the inner housing 21 A to the outer housing 21B such as fasteners for securing the components of the housing or an adhesive, o-ring or gasket or weldable feature for sealing. Any of the port module inserts 100 disclosed herein may optionally be weatherproof by appropriately sealing seams of the housing 21 between components using any suitable means such as gaskets, O-rings, adhesive, sealant, welding, overmolding or the like.

[0078] Further details of the actuator 10A and are discussed next in relation to FIG. 20. One or more sealing feature 10S may be disposed on the actuator 10A. Sealing feature 10S provides a seal between the actuator 10A and the securing feature passageway 45 to inhibit dirt, dust and debris from entering the device. Sealing member 10S may be seated in a retention groove. Actuator 10A may also include a dimple 10AD on the push-button for providing a tactical feel for the user. Securing features 10 may also be a different color or have a marking indicia for identifying the port type or count.

[0079] Port module insert or housings 21 may have any suitable shape, design or configuration as desired such as non-round. FIG. 22 depicts a plurality of port module inserts 100' having a non-round shape that is similar to port insert modules disclosed. In this embodiment, the port insert modules 100' are rectangular and each comprise a plurality of connection ports 36. The device 600 is configured to receive a plurality of port insert modules 100'.

[0080] Port module inserts may have still other constructions using the concepts disclosed. By way of example, FIGS. 23-29 depict views of port module insert 100" similar to the port module insert 100 of FIGS. 3 and 4, except they use other mechanisms with for securing feature 10. For the sake of brevity, the differences of port module insert 100" will be explained in detail and other features or constructions are similar to port module inserts disclosed herein.

[0081] FIG. 23 shows port module inserts 100" being installed into a conventional multiport 700. The conversion from conventional adapters for hardened connector to the port modules doubles the density of the multiport by having two connections occupying each aperture. The dual-port arrangement of port module insert 100" uses a different securing member 10M than port module insert 100. More specifically, a single securing member 10M is used for both connection ports 36, and separate locking features 310L and actuators 310A are used for cooperating with the individual external connectors 1.

[0082] FIG 24 is a perspective view of the port module insert 100' 'with connectors 1 secured in the respective connection ports 36. FIG. 25 depicts the inner housing 21A assembled with the components and ready to insert into the cavity of the outer housing 2 IB. In this view, the securing member 10M is also shown on the inside the cavity to depict how it cooperates with a pin P of the outer housing 2 IB. Specifically, pin P acts and an isolator on securing member 10M for inhibiting movement in the other arm of the securing member 10M if one side is deflected outward to release a connector.

[0083] FIGS. 26 and 27 are perspective views showing how the actuators 10A may deflect an individual arms of securing member 310M for moving the one-side of securing member 10M to an open position for releasing the connector 1 from connection port 36. The views in FIGS. 26 and 27 have the housing 21 removed for clarity.

[0084] Port module insert 100 "comprises securing features 10 comprising actuators 10A and a common securing member 10M. Specifically, securing member 10M comprises a spring clip that may be elastically deformed by actuators 10A when pushed (or upon insertion of a suitable connector 10 into connection port 36) and the securing member 10M springs back to engage a suitable portion of external connector 1 such as locking feature of connector housing when the actuator 10A is released or when connector 1 is fully-seated within the connection port 36. As best shown in FIG. 26, the securing member 10M comprises a securing feature 10M comprising arms 10AM that deflect outward with the cam surface of actuator 10A.

Arms 10AM may have an edge portion that act as a locking feature 10L for the suitable connector 1. By way of explanation, the edge portions of arms 10AM engage the locking feature of the connector housing for securing the connector 1. In order to release the connector 1 from the connection port 36, the arms 10AM and locking features 10L on the arms 10AM are translated outward. Securing member 10M may be formed from any suitable material such as a spring steel and have a suitable geometry for retaining a connector 1. This advantageously allows a push and play connectivity of the connectors 1 with port module insert 100" without having to turn a coupling nut or a bayonet like conventional connections. Thus, connections to the port module insert may be made faster and in positions that may be awkward with relative ease. FIG. 28 is a perspective view of the assembly of components of port insert module 100" in the inner housing 21 A. FIG. 29 is a perspective view of the assembled port module insert 100".

[0085] Any of the port module inserts 100 may also have one or more dust caps (not shown) for protecting the connection port 36 from dust, dirt or debris entering the port module insert or interfering with the optical performance. Thus, when the user wishes to make an optical connection to the port module insert, the appropriate dust cap is removed and then connector 1 of cable assembly may be inserted into the respective connection port 36 for making an optical connection to the port module insert. Dust caps may use similar release and retain features as the connectors 1. By way of explanation, when the actuator 10A is pushed inward, the dust cap is released and may be removed. Moreover, the interface between the connection ports 36 and the dust cap or connector 1 may be sealed using appropriate geometry and/or a sealing element such as an O-ring or gasket on the connector or dust cap. If the port module insert 100 is intended for indoor applications, then the weatherproofmg may not be required.

[0086] To make identification of the connection ports or easier for the user, a marking indicia may be used such as text or color-coding for the connection ports 36 of port module inserts.

[0087] The present application also discloses methods for making port module inserts. One method of making a port module insert comprises the steps of providing a housing having an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The method includes assembling at least one securing feature being so it is associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway. Other methods for making port module inserts as disclosed herein are also contemplated.

[0088] Another method of making a port module insert comprises the steps of providing a housing having an inner housing and an outer housing along with at least one securing feature. The inner housing comprises at least one connection port having an optical connector opening extending from an outer surface of the inner housing into a cavity and defining a connection port passageway, and at least one securing feature passageway. The method includes assembling at least one securing feature being so it is associated with the connection port passageway, wherein a portion of the at least one securing feature is disposed within a portion of the at least one securing feature passageway. The method also includes assembling at least one securing feature resilient member for biasing a portion of the at least one securing feature.

[0089] The methods disclosed may further include steps or features as disclosed herein for making port module inserts where the securing feature may translate between an open position and a retain position. The method may include translating the securing feature for moving the securing feature to the open position and the securing feature 310 is biased to retain position RP.

[0090] Although the disclosure has been illustrated and described herein with reference to explanatory embodiments and specific examples thereof, it will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that other embodiments and examples can perform similar functions and/or achieve like results. For instance, the connection port module insert may be configured as individual sleeves that are inserted into a passageway of a device, thereby allowing the selection of different configurations of connector ports for a device to tailor the device to the desired external connector. All such equivalent embodiments and examples are within the spirit and scope of the disclosure and are intended to be covered by the appended claims. It will also be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the concepts disclosed without departing from the spirit and scope of the same. Thus, it is intended that the present application cover the modifications and variations provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.