Author Archives: Aria Zhu

Fiber Patch Cable Cleaning Recommendations

Fiber optics have expanded the capabilities and possibilities of networks beyond our expectation. Fiber patch cable serves as a common yet indispensable part which determines connection quality between fiber optic equipment, therefore it has no tolerance to any contaminant like dust and dirt. So keeping the end face of patch cables clean to ensure performance and reliability of the network is vital. This article offers general tips on patch cable cleaning, while introduces some professional tools that help simplify the process.

Why Is Patch Cable Cleaning Critical?

It is claimed that over 85% of fiber related problems in data centers, campus, and other enterprise or telecom environments are caused by contaminated connectors or end-faces. Which can often lead to degraded performance, or even worse, failure of the whole network system. So, cleaning consideration is always put in a paramount place in optical network transmission.

To ensure proper performance and reliability, care must be taken with the installation and maintenance of patch cable end face, as well as the removable fiber connectors. Because data are transmitted through the small core of the fiber patch cable, a very small amount of dirt or residue may significantly increase the connector’s attenuation and weaken the signal. Lack of applying proper patch cable cleaning procedures can directly impact the quality of the system’s performance.

General Tips for Patch Cable Cleaning

fiber patch cable cleaning is one of the most rudimentary and essential procedures to ensure network availability and reliability. The following lists some general suggestions when performing patch cable cleaning.

Point 1: Try to work in a clean area. Avoid working around heating outlets.

Point 2: Always keep dust caps on connectors and bulkhead adapters for as long as possible. Only remove the dust caps to clean the components prior to making a connection.

Point 3: Never touch the ferrule end face of a fiber optic connector. No matter what you do, you will leave contamination behind.

Point 4: Always clean connectors before inserting into an adapter. Use specialized cleaning tools or lint free pads and isopropyl alcohol to clean.

Point 5: Ferrules on the connectors/cables used for testing will get dirty by transference of contaminants from alignment sleeves in the bulkhead adapters, so test cables and adapters should be cleaned or replaced regularly when testing a large system.

Recommendations of Efficient Patch Cable Cleaning Tools

It is important to have proper fiber patch cable cleaning tools to facilitate the cleaning job, which will greatly minimize the cleaning time and difficulty, making the cleaning process easier and more efficient. The commonly used patch cable cleaning tools are illustrated as follow.

a. Push-type cleaners (one-push cleaners): this pen-shaped push-type cleaners feature an easy one-push action, which quickly and effectively cleans the end face of connectors on patch cables or through adapters without any alcohol or harsh chemicals. Always select the cleaner model for the connector type to be cleaned, 2.5mm for SC, FC and ST, and 1.25mm for LC and MU.

b. One-push MTP/MPO cleaner: this cleaner is specifically designed to clean MTP/MPO connector end face on patch cables or in adapters. The unique design enables effective cleaning of either male (with pins) or female (without pins) connector, in fiber breakout modules and even networking gear like switches and routers.

one-push mtp mpo cleaner

c. Reel-type cleaners (cassette cleaners): they typically contain a lint free reel of cloth that is moved after each cleaning, always presenting a clean surface. Reel-type cleaners are safe patch cable cleaning options without the need for alcohol. Besides, they have refillable cleaning tapes, making them ideal for lab, assembly lines and field use.

d. Wipes and cleaning cards: there are a wide variety of patch cable cleaning wipes and cleaning cards for both field and manufacturing applications. They can be used either dry or with cleaning fluid to remove common contaminants for effective patch cable cleaning.

eCleaning swabs & sticks: Precisely designed, the mini foam clean swabs are made to serve various different patch cable cleaning and maintenance needs. Foam swabs are ideal for more precision cleaning where linting needs should be avoided. Swabs assist in cleaning small or hard to reach items.

fiber patch cable cleaning swab

Conclusion

For best optical performance, it is imperative that all fiber patch cable connections are clean and free of contaminants. An easy to use patch cable cleaning tool becomes a necessity for fiber technicians and installers. Even without specific training, field technicians and fiber installers can use a simple insertion and push motion to remove residue, debris and dust that can negatively impact network performance. So why not grab a patch cable cleaning tool to make your job easier?

Pre-Terminated Cabling System Pros and Cons

The past few years have seen the steady rise in the use of pre-terminated cabling system. This cabling solution is considered as the norm for some key areas, such as data centers and commercial office fit-outs. Then, what is pre-terminated cabling system in essence? And what we can expect from this cabling alternative? This article intends to clear the confusion about pre-terminated cabling system, by analyzing its definition as well as explaining the benefits and drawbacks of it.

pre-terminated cabling system

What Is Pre-terminated Cabling System?

Pre-terminated systems are factory manufactured cables and modular components with connectors already attached, which usually have been tested, qualified and ready to plug and play in the network. They are available in both fiber and copper cabling. Pre-terminated systems offer unsurpassed advantages over conventional field installed system, which partially explains why the use of factory pre-terminated assemblies continues to grow, especially for data centers. Pre-terminated assemblies come in various forms, from trunk cables, connectorized fan-outs, attached or discreet cassette modules to cable bundles with protective pulling grips installed over the connectors at one end.

pre-terminated assemblies

Where to Use Pre-terminated Cabling System?

At the beginning of the article, we’ve mentioned that pre-terminated cabling system commonly found its position in two fields: data centers and open offices. In response to the accelerated network capacity and application processing demands, data centers are expanding dramatically both in number and size. Which propel the advancement of alternative to improve the connectivity installation times and simplify the deployment for reliable and rugged cabling systems. The open office also benefits from the pre-terminated cabling system which can be quickly reconfigured to match the moves, adds and changes. Pre-terminated cabling system is expected to spread its influence in these types of scenarios.

pre-terminated cabling for data center and office

Pros and Cons of Pre-terminated Cabling System

We all know that one size does not fit all, so there are some serious pros and cons one must take heed of when dealing with pre-terminated cabling system.

Benefits of Pre-terminated Cabling System

Once used properly, pre-terminated solutions can bring a raft of benefits to cable installers and end-users.

Cost Saving: Although pre-terminated assemblies may have a higher initial cost since they include the factory termination time, the savings it provides go beyond the expense.

Time Saving: Pre-terminated system helps to save time in various ways. Since the assemblies are factory terminated, they require minimal engineering or assembly work on site. Meanwhile, pre-terminated assemblies also save testing and troubleshooting time. Also, pre-terminated assemblies are factory terminated which reduce many of the problems that may occur with field terminations.

Labor Saving: With pre-terminated assemblies, you don’t need as many on-site engineers pulling cables in and terminating them. As the pre-terminated links have been pre-tested, this vastly mitigates the need for troubleshooting and retesting.

Space Saving: For any data centers, the available space is always precious. Data center managers will embrace anything that contributes to promoting space utilization. With massive optical fibers being adopted in the data center to speed data transmission, pre-terminated assemblies offer much higher density and flexibility for data center upgrades.

pre-terminated cabling for high density data center

Cooling Advantages: Heating and cooling issues matter significantly especially in high density network environment. Pre-terminated cabling system allows much more flexibility in configuration for installers working in compact space. Optimized airflow can be achieved by using pre-terminated assemblies such as trunk cables and plug and play cassettes, in conjunction with high density frames.

Security Benefits: Security is always put in a paramount place in data centers. And pre-terminated cabling system does offer numerous security benefits. With pre-terminated solution, less manpower is required for the installation, making it simpler to manage “contract personnel”. While less specialist skills required to install pre-terminated assemblies, enterprises can even use their own team to do the job.

Drawbacks of Pre-terminated Cabling System

For all its advantages, pre-terminated cabling system is something of a double-edged sword, which means it certainly has some downsides. One drawback concerning pre-terminated cabling solution is the accuracy measurement required. Three is no turning up with cable assemblies that are too short or excessively long, and there is no containment space to store the excess cables. So accurate site surveys are rather essential.

Conclusion

With the benefits absolutely outweigh the drawbacks, pre-terminated cabling system provides an increasingly popular way of delivering a project in a more timely and cost effective manner. However, one should always carry out a comprehensive planning and site survey before installation to assure you can exactly benefit from pre-terminated cabling solution.