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.
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.
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.
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.
Operators are lining up to deploy 5G technology. That means small cell architectures, centralized and cloud radio access networks (C-RANs) – and lots of optical communications technology. This issue of On Topic examines the role fiber optics likely will play in 5G deployment, describes the options available, and offers tips for successful deployment strategies.
African-American folk hero John Henry is known both for his skill as a steel driving man and for his resistance to embrace new technology — in his case a steam-powered rock drilling machine. He raced against the machine only to die from heart failure, hammer in hand. How does this relate to fiber connectivity? Many fiber optic splicers still hand-strip fibers one at a time when they could be using thermal strippers which is not only faster but also won’t damage the fiber.
Static is an invisible hazard to fiber-optic networks. Electrostatic charges draw and hold unwanted dust particles onto fiber network connector endfaces just like a magnet. Although this dust contamination is merely microns in size and only visible when magnified with an inspection scope, it can still cause serious performance problems for a network. Dust in a signal’s path may change or obstruct the light’s index of refraction, or the route of the signal, through the fiber. This causes insertion loss that weakens the signal and slows down the network speed. And if the refraction angle is altered enough, the network signal may be lost altogether.
The seas may dry, and the mountains may crumble, but the Zip-Ties vs. Velcro debate is forever. Which team are you on?
Congratulations Ashley Kellison, Network Engineer II and Adjunct Instructor Network Technology at Ozarks Technical Community College for winning 1st place for Installer 1 & copper cable terminations/Firestopping and Bonding & Grounding! Ashley was Women In BICSI’s 6th Annual Cabling Skills Challenge competitor. And thank you to our major sponsor Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, represented by Mary Adams, Applications Engineer, and our Scholarship Program Manager Cyndi Garrison of Five Points Infrastructure Services, a long-time sponsor and supporter of Women In BICSI.
CI&M has again published its round up of the most offputting structured cabling fiascos, as found on job sites and posted in photos to social media via Reddit’s ‘Cablefail’ and ‘Cablegore’ sub-communities. It’s hard to believe some of these are out there.