FIBER CABLE MAINTENANCE

The most prominent cause of fiber-optic dropped packets or network outages comes from dirty or comprised fiber connections. If a particle of dust, lint, oil or any other dirt gets on the end of the connector, it will interrupt the signal being sent. These seemingly small particles can throw a hiccup in the data transfer capabilities of your network, leading to costly network failures and downtime. It is important to address why clean environments and proper cleaning maintenance of your fiber transceivers and cables is necessary for the health of your network.

In order to maintain optimal performance in a fiber network, it is paramount that fiber never be left exposed. Maintaining clean connections ensures your cables will perform to their proper specifications. Transceiver connectors and fiber cables should always be plugged in or covered with a dust cap in order to protect the fiber core. Any contamination in a fiber connection can cause failure of the component or the whole system overall. Microscopic dust particles that partially or completely block the fiber core generate strong back reflections which in turn cause instability in the laser system.

Examples of compromised fiber cores

Examining a fiber core with an Integrated Fiber EndFace Inspector can help identify when damage or contaminates are effecting the throughput of light in the fiber.

A 1-micrometer dust particle on a single-mode core can block up to 1% of the light (a 0.05dB loss).

A 9-micrometer particle can completely block the fiber core. These contaminants can be more difficult to remove than dust particles.

Indicators of a contaminated or compromised fiber core

If you are experiencing degradation of performance in your fiber connection, your first step in troubleshooting should always be to clean both the transceiver connector and fiber cable connectors on both ends of the link.

Proper cleaning procedure for fiber optic connectors
  1. Open the dust cover or remove the dust plug from the module
  2. Use a non-abrasive cleaner (canned air) to remove any dirt or debris.
  3. Insert a lint-free cleaning stick of the appropriate size (2.5 mm or 1.25 mm) and turn clockwise. Dry cleaning is recommended. Do not use alcohol-based cleaning sticks!
  4. Remove the cleaning stick, close the dust cover or reinsert the module’s dust plug. Always keep the dust cover or dust plug inserted in the module when not in use.
  5. Always make sure that the connector that will be plugged into the module is also clean before connecting it to the module to prevent cross-contamination.
  6. This procedure should always be followed when connecting or disconnecting fiber to or from the module.

Fiber Optic Cleaning Products & Procedures
GT-LCS-PENFC
LC/MU Simplex Click Pen Fiber Cleaner (800+ Cleans)

Designed for cleaning LC and MU type connectors, this fiber cleaner can easily remove dirt, dust, oil and grease from an optical fiber adaptor. With the ability to each into the entire area within the connector, it makes cleaning of the ferrule endface a simple task with the push of a button.

For Fiber Connectors (LC/MU):
1. Remove the top of outer cap of LC/MU Simplex Cleaner (with attachment still on cleaner)
2. Align connector to fit into cleaner
3. Press cleaner until click is heard, then release
4. Repeat for each fiber cable connection needed

For Transceiver / Fiber Patch Connection (LC/MU):
1. Fully remove outer cap of LC/MU Simplex Cleaner
2. Press cleaner until click is heard, then release
3. Repeat as needed per LC Transceiver / Fiber Patch connection

GT-MPO-PENFC
MTP/MPO Click Pen Fiber Cleaner (500+ Cleans)

This push-type cleaner is specifically designed for the cleaning of ferrule end-faces in MTP/MPO adapters. With the ability to clean all 8/12/24 fibers simultaneously it is a time and cost efficient tool for the maintenance of fiber cables. This cleaner can clean both exposed jumper ends as well as connectors embedded in the adapter.

For Fiber Connectors (MTP/MPO):
1. Keep attachment on device
2. Align connector to fit into cleaner
3. Press cleaner until click is heard, then release
4. Repeat for each fiber cable connection needed

For Transceiver / Fiber Patch Connection (MTP/MPO):
1. Fully remove outer cap of MTP/MPO fiber cleaner
2. Press cleaner until click is heard, then release
3. Repeat as needed per MTP/MPO transceiver / Fiber Patch connection

GT-FIB-CASFC
Fiber Connector Cassette Fiber Cleaner- APC/UPC LC, SC, ST, FC, MT, MU, E2000 (500+ Cleans)

Reel-type cleaners quickly and effectively clean a variety of connectors. Reel-type cleaners are a safe cleaning option without the need for alcohol, which can be toxic and flammable. They have refillable cleaning tapes making them ideal for lab, assembly lines and field use.

1. Have cleaner and desired cabling ready to use together
2. While holding cable with one hand, use other hand to firmly secure the cleaner and press down the release to open position
3. Run cabling in 1 direction toward yourself (1 swipe per cable, do not run multiple times to avoid contamination)
4. Release the latch to close the exposed cleaning material
5. Repeat procedure for each cable needed