One of the most overlooked aspects of fiber optic maintenance and troubleshooting is keeping the fiber optic connector endfaces clean. As we will discuss later in this article, a dirty fiber connection can either slow down or completely inhibit network traffic.
Keeping fiber connections clean is different from any other type of cleaning due to the relative sizes of the connectors compared to the particles and contaminants that typically reside on them. Also we need to be diligent in their maintenance by cleaning the connectors every time before they are mated and after each un-mating. Static charges attract dust to the fiber connectors and prevent them from falling off even when blown with a can of compressed air. As we will see later on in this article, dust caps are primarily used to protect the ferrule and do not offer fail safe protection from particle matter. In some cases, the dust caps can actually make a clean connector dirty due to their tendency to keep a static charge. In addition to dust, there are other contaminants like dried liquid compounds that need to be dealt with on the cleanings.
Use this for all indoor installations. The cable can be run directly in all indoor applications. Installation in conduit or innerduct is not required but does offer additional security for the possibility of the cable from being cut. Most installations do not use conduit of innerduct. A cable rated for plenum installation will have low-smoke characteristics as defined by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency).
Outdoor cables are filled with a water blocking jell and are rated for all outdoor applications except for "direct bury". This cable is suitable for underground installation in conduit, overhead lashed to a guy wire, or secured to a building or other permanent outdoor structure. The drawback of the jell-filled cable is that it is mandated at a maximum of 50 feet run indoors due to fire-code regulations.
When troubleshooting fiber, it is important to remember that dirty fiber connections can easily cause a slowdown or a complete shutdown of data traffic. An important tool for a network manager to have is a 200 or 400 power microscope. Dirty fiber connections should not be overlooked when troubleshooting fiber.
CAUTION: Never look directly into an illuminated fiber. Laser light can cause permanent eye damage.
A 400 Power Video Microscope
A 400 Power Handheld Microscope
The Sticlklers Fiber
use wet/dry cleaning processes
So we have seen that dirt or other contaminants that reside on fiber optic connector endfaces can cause major problems for the network. Dirt can even cause a slowdown that may not be apparent. And so it is wise for the network manager to have a microscope and fiber optic cleaning kit on hand for inspection and cleaning. If you are diligent with keeping all of the connections clean, you will avoid problems and have a fast running network.
LANShack.com sells all of the fiber optic cleaning supplies that you may need!