Clean fiber optic components are vital for a quality connection between your pieces of network equipment. As network providers are building up to deploy 40G and 100G systems, techs must pay close attention to their fiber optic performance, ensuring data is transmitting quickly and without failure.
This is the third in a Telect blog series, entitled The A-B-Cs of Cable Management. Fiber Product Manager Aaron Monheim tackles the subject of fiber optic cleaning.
Contaminated fiber connectors often lead to network failures and limited insertion loss. If a connector is dirty, even a contaminant that is only 1µ can degrade the signal by 1%, resulting in 0.05dB of insertion loss.
A larger 9µ speck of dust can block the signal completely, even though it is not possible to see with the naked eye.
Dust is not the only culprit for attenuation loss on the endface of a fiber connector. Oils from our hands, airborne contaminants and residue left by water or other solvents are all common contaminants on connectors.
They’re more difficult to remove from the endface, but they also can cause damage to networking equipment.
It’s all easily prevented, though, with a little house cleaning:
HOW TO CLEAN FIBER OPTIC CONNECTIONS
The goal is always to eliminate the dust or contaminants and get that fiber-optic connection clean for optimal data transmission.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
Using a scope to inspect each fiber connector
If the connector is dirty, do a one-click clean and re-inspect with the scope
If the connector is still not passing, remove the connector from the module and attempt a second dry clean with a cletop cleaner
If the connector still does not pass, do a wet clean with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free KIM wipe
These steps should get your fiber optic connections clean. If the endface is still failing after two dry cleans and one wet clean, the connector may need to be re-polished.
Remember that re-inspection is an important step before you try to plug the fiber into the connector.
After all, your end users’ download speeds are at stake!