Why Is Fiber Cleaning Necessary?

At a BICSI Conference in 2008, JDSU stated, “Contamination is the number-one reason for troubleshooting optical networks.” For the long-term reliability of any network, fiber cleaning is critical and it is at the heart of the profitability of successful fiber deployment. This paper will introduce the necessity of fiber cleaning and then give two tips on fiber protection against dust contamination.

Four reasons for fiber cleaning are listed below:

Signal Failure

As you know, fiber optic networks work by carrying pulses of light between transmitters and receivers. Contamination and dirt will block the signal and lead to light loss, reducing power and efficiency. The amount of light loss shrinks correspondingly as links carry higher data rates, which makes cleaning even more essential. Dirty equipment can give rise to network failure or paralysis.

Equipment Failure

Dirt can cause permanent damage to the end-face, digging into the surface and creating pits that increase back reflection. Failures in the network caused by dirt can increase costs and install time because damaged equipment may need to be tracked down and replaced, which means more time on-site and greater expenditure. Both of the two will impact the overall budget for a deployment.

Angry Occupants

It is naturally going to enrage consumers and building owners by leaving a mess in a subscriber’s home or the common areas of an apartment building. They’d like to have the benefits of fiber broadband rather than the dirt or damage to their property when it is installed.

Adopting Proper Cleanliness Procedures

While it is easy to focus on more visible debris, dirt is most dangerous at a microscopic level, particularly when it comes to the end-faces of connectors. For example, simply touching the ferrules of a connector will deposit significant amounts of body oil onto the end face. Best practice for this issue is to use high-grade, completely lint-free wipes (aiming for clean room quality) and pure Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA).

On top of this, here are two areas to keep an especially close eye on:

Mating and Unmating

The actual process of mating and unmating connectors can also cause damage to the ceramic. Therefore, aim to minimize this plugging and unplugging as much as possible and ensure you inspect the two end-faces for dirt or debris that could be crushed between them. This can cause permanent damage, such as scratches, cracks or pits that will require re-termination, not just cleaning. Moreover, make sure you inspect any other equipment ports that the connector is being plugged into, as they can also harbour contamination.

Don’t Rely on Dust Caps

Many people may think that if you don’t take the dust cap off your factory terminated connector until you plug it in, it’ll keep dirt free. After all, it was packaged in a sterile factory environment. In fact, dust caps are preventing damage to the end-face, rather than stopping all contamination reaching the connector.

FS Fiber Cleaning Solution

As a professional supplier in the optical industry, FS has various high-quality and low-price fiber optic cleaning tools, such as fiber connector cleaner, optical connector cleaning cards, one push fiber optic cleaner for 1.25mm connectors, etc. These tools can help to ease or remove all kinds of dirty particles, such as dust, dripping and moist. Choosing any kind of fiber optic cleaning tools in FS will give you a surprise!