Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

There’s a lot to keep track of during a fiber installation, and often it’s the things that may seem small and insignificant that cause the biggest headaches down the line. Proper maintenance of fiber connectors is one of these priorities.

Keeping the fiber connectors clean before mating into the adapter is of critical importance, allowing the fiber to meet the increasing demands for network speed and reliability. Without this precaution, dirty fiber connectors can cause signal loss and connectivity issues. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this maintenance such a crucial step.

Save Time and Money

A recent survey conducted by NTT Advanced Technologies showed that 98% of network technician service calls resulted from dirty connector end faces1. This is a perfect example of why it’s so important to inspect before you connect. You can imagine the amount of time and energy saved on maintenance calls by simply ensuring the fiber connectors are clean before connecting them.

Another key consideration is how common it is for dust to collect on connectors. Take a typical construction environment, for example. When building a network in a large facility, you may have tens of thousands of connectors that need to be installed. Each of these may be exposed to the overly dusty air that is common in a construction zone. Without taking the proper precautions and checking each connector before installation, that could be tens of thousands of end faces that need to be cleaned after connectivity issues arise That translates into hundreds of hours of labor and a large cost in labor to fix.

Scenarios like these are all too common when installing a fiber network, which means proper training of your fiber technicians should be a top priority. With the right training and tools, any technician will be able to complete a clean installation and prevent unnecessary future service calls.

Use the Right Equipment

Recognizing the importance of having clean fiber connectors takes more than just good intentions to make happen. Without the proper inspection tools and cleaning equipment, it wouldn’t be possible.

This starts with a proper inspection tool, like the EXFO Fiber Inspection Probe. With such a tool, you can quickly and easily check how clean a connector end face is before installing. If it passes the inspection, great. If not, you’re going to need specialized cleaning equipment to sort things out.

Start with a Fiber Optic End Face Cleaning Platform, like the QbE 2 from CHEMTRONICS. With a reel of cleaning paper and a solid cleaning surface, you’ll be able to make use of swabs and cleaners to carefully clean the dust off the fiber connector. Once this process is complete, simply insert the end face into the inspection wand again to see if it passes.

Bottom Line

Clean and dust-free connectors in a fiber network may not always be a consideration, but they should be. It’s in every network builder’s best interest to ensure that each connector end face throughout their networks is properly inspected and cleaned before connecting. The reason is clear: cleaning beforehand will increase your yield and decrease future customer outages and labor costs across the board. In order to stay within the link loss budget designed by your engineers, it’s imperative that all connectors are inspected and cleaned.

1 According to a study conducted by Viavi Fiber Cleaning.  

Gavin Rummler assists with the marketing efforts for Clearfield as the team’s Corporate Communications Specialist. He joined the company in 2022, utilizing his communications expertise to author written collateral across various channels. Before joining Clearfield, he worked in multiple communications roles, including curriculum writing, technical writing, and copywriting.