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The transmission characteristics of optical fiber connectors are analyzed in detail in order to calculate nonlinear distortions and noise due to instable speckle patterns. The fluctuation amplitude of the transmission loss and its sensitivity, with respect to a wavelength shift of the laser source, are determined for coherent and partially coherent laser sources. Nonlinear distortions due to fiber connectors yield a second-order harmonic distortion of typically -36 dB for a single-longitudinal mode injection laser, and typically -65 dB for a multimode laser. The noise performance has also been estimated for both low frequency and high frequency fluctuations.