Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

I smile as I think back to those days my friends and I spent outside playing games such as tag, kick the can, hide-and-seek or football. First it starts getting dark. Then my mom and the neighbor lady…almost on cue…yell for us to come inside. (Thinking back, they were TOO much on cue…parental conspiracy theory?!?) We head to our houses, climb the stairs and then Mom shouts out these fateful words: “Don’t forget to wash your face!” Certainly can’t go to bed with a dirty face…you might grow carrots behind your ears if you did!

Well, in today’s world of 5G and fiber to the home (FTTH), business, antenna and more, we would do well to heed those wise words.

For example, the ferrule of the fiber connector is a tiny area where all light passes through in order to make a network work. It’s likely the single most important part of the deployment. And yet, it’s often overlooked…until a problem occurs.

Simple cleaning and inspection of this ferrule endface eliminates a whole plethora (my mom would be proud of my using a big word like that) of problems.

Even though Clearfield® has wonderful pre-connectorized cables, we still advocate cleaning and inspecting all connectors before mating. Why?

Although fiber connections are reliable, they are also very precise in how they mate up. An extremely small amount of contamination causes any number of problems that degrade or even result in complete loss of signal…and as speeds increase, the need for a clean endface increases exponentially. Even out of the package, an endface can be contaminated. Dust caps can have small particles that, when pressed between two endfaces, can scratch or chip the endface, resulting in poor performance.

Cleaning these surfaces is critical…and not just the jumper. Any connection needs cleaning before inserting the fiber. This includes the ports on the optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR), light source and power meters, equipment and any panel or distribution device.

When you were a child and washed your face at bedtime, you needed to use water. Mom could tell if you just wiped your face with the towel. (Usually because of the dirty streaks left on the towel.) It’s the same with fiber connectors. We at Clearfield advocate the “Wet to Dry” cleaning method, as shown on our video. You start with a quality cleaning solution and wipe the endface from a spot wetted with this solution to a dry section. This method ensures all types of contaminates are removed: not just dust, but oils or other types of bad stuff.

If you adopt a good cleaning practice for all of your fiber connectors, you’re less likely to see data loss or downtimes. This makes your customers happy…just like Mom was to see your shiny, clean face!

If you want to know more about what makes your customers happy, reach out to Clearfield.

By Scot Bohaychyk

Scot Bohaychyk—Manager, Product Marketing—has nearly 30 years in the telecommunications industry. Scot’s background includes serving in The White House Communications Agency, providing communications infrastructure support. Scot’s private sector experience includes OSP field and engineering experience, as well as market development and sales work in the fields of blown and pushable fiber for long-haul fiber installations—both in the United States and overseas.