Category Archives: Fiber Optic Patch Cables

Basic Things To Know About PM Patch Cables

Standard fiber patch cables are widely discovered in our life, but fiber patch cables also have other special types, such as the mode conditioning cables, fiber loopbacks, etc. These special fiber patch cables are usually used for some particular applications. In this article, we will mainly introduce the basic knowledge of PM (polarization maintaining) patch cables.

PM-patch-cable

Function of PM Patch Cables

In fiber optic industry, polarization maintaining fiber is a single-mode fiber that can maintain a linear polarization light propagation during the whole transmission inside fiber. As long as the light is linearly launched into the fiber, its polarization in the fiber path will not change. PM patch cable is a fiber optic cable consisting of PM fiber and high-quality ceramic fiber optic connectors. With the special polarization maintaining function, PM patch cables have the characteristics of low insertion loss, high extinction ratio, high return loss, excellent changeability over a wide wavelength range and excellent environmental stability and reliability.

How to Choose PM Patch Cables?

PM patch cables have various types according to different classification bases. To choose the right type of PM fiber patch cable, you may consider the following aspects.

Connector

Similar to standard fiber optic cables, the common connectors for PM fiber patch cables are LC, SC, FC and ST types. Connectors on both ends of the cable can be identical or different, such as LC-LC or LC-SC connectors. The special part is that connector ends are capped for better protection since the PM connectors are made to be more sophisticated.

Fiber

PM fiber patch cables all use the PM fibers. However, PM fibers can be different according to different shapes of the inside rod. This special rod can ensure the linear polarization of input and output light in the fiber. The following picture shows the examples of “Panda” and “Bow-Tie” styles of PM fiber.

PM-fiber

Cable Jacket

With or without cable jacket are both common for PM fiber patch cables. Generally speaking, there are three types of PM cables – 250μm bare fiber PM cable, 900μm loose tube jacket PM cable and 3mm loose tube jacket PM cable.

Length

The standard cable length of PM fiber patch cables is 1 meter. If other lengths are required, the cable is able to be customized to the required lengths as well.

Where to Use PM Patch Cables?

Since PM fibers are typically used to guide linearly polarized light from point to point, PM fibers can be used for many special applications in optical sensors or telecommunications and sensor research. PM fiber patch cables are especially useful for polarization sensitive fiber optical systems where optical light needs to be maintained at a linear state. PM fiber patch cables can be used with other devices like interferometric sensors, integrated optics, fiber amplifiers in high-speed and coherent telecommunications.

Conclusion

As one type of special fiber patch cables, PM patch cables are particularly designed for keeping the polarization of linear optical lights. PM patch cable is definitely a good solution to ensure the high performance of data transmission. FS.COM offers various types of PM patch cables with length customization service. If you are interested in more details, please kindly visit FS.COM or contact us via sales@fs.com.

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-clike 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-clike 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-click 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?