Optical fiber is the predominant media type for mission-critical datacenter links, backbone within buildings, and longer distances for campus networks. As network speeds and bandwidth demands increase, distance and loss limitations have decreased, making fiber optic cabling certification testing more important than ever.
For decades, fiber optics have been inspected and cleaned to ensure the proper passage of light. While fiber optics inspection and cleaning fiber connectors is not new, it is growing in importance as links with increasingly higher data rates are driving decreasingly small loss budgets. With less tolerance for overall light loss, the attenuation through adapters must be lower than ever before. This can be achieved by properly inspecting and cleaning fiber optic cables when they are installed or while making moves, or changes.
Dust, oils and water blocking gel are common forms of fiber connector end-face contamination. Simply touching the ferrule will immediately deposit body oil on the end-face, and cause unacceptable attenuation once connection are made. Dust and small static-charged particles float through the air and can land on any exposed termination. This can be especially true in facilities undergoing construction or renovation. In new installations, buffer gel and pulling lube can easily find its way onto an end-face.
Fiber optic cable damage appears as a scratch, pit, crack, or chip. These end-face surface defects could be the result of poor termination or mated contamination. Deciding to mate every connection first and then inspecting only those that fail is a risky approach as the physical contact of mated contaminants can cause permanent damage. This permanent damage would require more costly and time consuming re-termination or replacement of pre-terminated links.