Maintaining clean fiber optic cables is an essential part of any network installation, but proper cleaning often gets overlooked. A clean fiber network can be the difference between a secure and robust network connection and one that might not be as robust. Check on the four facts below, and make sure you think twice before making a proper connection without ensuring that your fiber connector’s end faces are clean. Here are four facts about the cleanliness of your network’s fiber optic cables.
Improper Cleaning is the Top Cause for Network Failures and Contractor Call-Backs
A large portion of network owners and cable installers cite contamination as the root cause of most network failures. Dry cleaning tapes are recommended for single and multi-fiber ferrule connectors. Dry cleaning tape sticks and swabs, while used with non-volatile optical cleaning fluids, are also acceptable for cleaning optical ports. Note that this recommendation doesn’t include expanded beam lens connectors.
Your Fiber is Not Clean, even if it Seems to Be
A dust particle, one as small as one micrometer, could block up to one percent of the transmitted light through a connector. A speck of dust as tiny as nine micrometers is still too small to see without a real microscope, but it can completely block the fiber’s core. Use a fiber optic microscope with a reliable connector optical stage capable of magnification for multimode connectors and 400X for a single-mode connector.
Contamination Prevents Proper Physical Contact and Causes Permanent Damage to Your Fiber
PC, UPC, and APC connectors rely heavily on proper physical contact to achieve a low loss and low reflection optical connection. If there’s debris or a film that causes an air gap on its surface, the insertion loss of the connector will increase. The same will go for the reflections.
Charged Dust Particles can Attract More Particles
Because glass fibers are insulators, contaminated connector end faces will continue to attract and accumulate more and more debris and dust. A clean fiber optic connector will also appear pristine and fine under the microscope, and there will be no contaminants on the fiber optic cable’s surface or damage to the core.
If you have any questions regarding cleaning your fiber optic cables the right way, contact En-Net Services today!
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