Leading manufacturers today are working to help prevent fiber endface contamination by introducing fiber adapters with integrated shutter doors that allow you to do away with pesky dust caps.
Expert opinions vary, but many agree that up to 75% of all fiber network problems are caused by contamination of patch cords, adapters, alignment sleeves or transceivers. Dirty endface connectors in particular are a real hazard to modern fiber-optic networks. The higher the light frequency in a network, the greater its sensitivity to contamination. This means that faster 5G networks, which need every milliwatt of power to function flawlessly, are more vulnerable to contamination.
The performance of a fiber optic system depends heavily on the cleanliness of the interfaces. Dirt particles, grease, dust, etc. can have a highly negative impact on the transmission characteristics. They can actually destroy a fiber optic connection depending on the circumstances. If the connector is plugged in without first being tested, it could well be too late. The high pressure in the connection means that particles are immediately pressed in and this causes irreversible damage. This is why it is becoming increasingly important to test all connectors and adapters, and, if necessary, to clean them before they are mated – even new products that have just come out of the packing.
The need to connect data center facilities to one another, frequently referred to as data center interconnect (DCI), has been a primary driver for optical-fiber and fiber- optic cable manufacturers to develop products containing thousands of fibers. We refer to cables with 1728 or more fibers as ultra-high-density cables, and this article examines those products.
Platinum Tools has launched a Fiber Optic Cleaner product line. The pen-style cleaners work with virtually all common fiber-optic sizes and connector types, allowing you to clean connectors and ports for the best possible optical performance. The two sizes have color-coded tips for easy identification, so all you need to do is push to effortlessly clean fiber ports or connectors.
Contamination is the primary cause of network disruption or failure. Dirty fiber splices can cause network problems including back reflection, signal loss and even fiber breakage at the splice, causing complete network failure.There is a right way to clean fusion splices. Because high heat is generated by arcing electrodes during the fusion splicing process, technicians should always follow the recommended processes supplied with the fusion splicing equipment.
This on-demand webinar discusses the importance of inspecting and cleaning the connector end-faces, the approval/rejection criteria defined by the standards, as well as methods to maintain clean connectors.
For years experts have been telling fiber-optic technicians not to use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to clean fiber endfaces. Some technicians have listened; some haven’t. Today, one of Covid-19’s many effects on global commerce is the scarcity of IPA. Sticklers national accounts manager Rick Hoffman talks about the IPA shortage and its practical impact on fiber cleaning in this article.
Fiber Optic Connectors need to be pristine when they are connected for several reasons. First, dirty or damaged connectors are the number one cause of network outages. Second, if a dirty or damaged connector is plugged into another connector, your problem just doubled. Lastly, if test equipment, like an OTDR, or a network element, such as a receiver, is damaged it can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair or replace them.
85% of network failures are caused by dirty connectors. The connectors entrusted to carry the critical information that passes through your network deserve far more than a wipe on a t-shirt. As data center bandwidth continues to increase, adherence to best practice fiber endface cleaning and inspection methods must improve. Download AFL’s best practices guide for cleaning.