How to clean fiber end-faces

By Fluke Networks

Because cleaning has been part of fiber maintenance for years, most people have their own approaches for cleaning end-faces. However, beware of bad habits. Many have developed in the industry over time. With an evolving base of knowledge, the industry has moved recently towards new best practices.

Canned air
One common approach to cleaning end-faces is to blast them with canned air, either on a connector inside a port. Canned air is only effective on one type of contaminant: large dust particles. Canned air is ineffective not only on oils and residues but also on smaller, charged dust particles. Moreover, canned air will tend to blow large particles around inside ports rather than carefully remove them.

Dry cleaning
Traditionally, dry cleaning is proven to be only partially effective in eliminating contaminants from fiber end-face and connectors. The challenges had been that the dry cleaning materials are either not good enough to uplift the various types of dirt or greasy contaminants over fiber end-faces, or they actually introduce static to the fiber ferrule that attract dust. Technological advancements and better dry cleaning materials introduce a new class of fiber cleaning tools that are cost effective and efficient in cleaning more than 50% of contaminants from fiber. These tools become a perfect complement to the fiber wet cleaning solution to cover the cleaning needs in almost all situations and environments.

Fiber end-faces

The newly developed dry cleaning tool provides an economical and easy way to remove contaminants from fiber end-faces.

Use of solvent
Some contaminants, like greasy and sticky materials, are difficult to uplift without the use of a solvent. Solvents provide multiple benefits, the most important being their ability to dissolve dried contaminants that have adhered onto the end-face. In addition, solvents will envelop particles and debris to effectively lift them from the ferrule surface so that they can be carried away without damaging the end-face. Last, solvents will prevent a static charge from developing during cleaning with a dry wipe or reel that are not optimized for dry cleaning. There are many stories of end-faces becoming statically charged during solvent-free cleanings such that they were strongly attracting static-charged dust floating in the air. The developed charge can be so strong that static dust accumulates on the end-face during the short move from a microscope into port. Continue reading


Why you need a UPS

Every day, interruptions to electrical service in homes, businesses, and public sector organizations occur. The losses from these power outages can be extensive and of great consequence. For a business, the recovery time is significant and the costs are high. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers research, after a power outage disrupts IT systems:

  • More than 33% of companies take more than a day to recover.
  • 10% of companies take more than a week.
  • It can take up to 48 hours to reconfigure a network.
  • It can take days or weeks to re-enter lost data.
  • 90% of companies that experience a computer disaster and don’t have a survival plan go out of business within 18 months.

Power outages can cause substantial losses for the companies affected. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when a power failure disrupts IT systems:

  • 33% of companies lose $20,000 – $500,000.
  • 20% lose $500,000 to $2 million.

Why a UPS?
A UPS protects IT equipment and other electrical loads from problems that plague our electrical supply, performing the following three basic functions:

  • Preventing hardware damage typically caused by surge and spikes. Many UPS models continually condition incoming power as well.
  • Preventing data loss and corruption. Without a UPS, devices that are subjected to a hard system shutdown can lose data completely or have it corrupted. In conjunction with Intelligent Power Manager, an Eaton UPS can facilitate a graceful system shutdown.
  • Providing availability for networks and other applications while preventing downtime. In some cases, they provide enough battery runtime to ride through brief outages; in other cases, they provide hours of runtime to ride through extended power outages. UPSs are also paired with generators to provide enough time for them to power up. Continue reading

The future of video extension

Analog versus Digital Video
Analog video (VGA)

An analog signal is continuously variable. Composite video, Component video, RGBHV, and VGA are types of analog video signals, with VGA being the most common video format used with PCs –at least until recently.

An analog video signal can be run over long lengths of native VGA cable as long as the diameter and shielding of the cable is good enough. However, regardless of the cable quality, signal attenuation increases with video frequency and cable length. This means that after 30 to 50 feet, the image quality will start to degrade. This leads to color skew and smeared-looking text.

To solve for signal degradation in VGA applications, use an extender that compensates for signal loss. A good extender has separate adjustments for high and low frequencies; HF loss is usually greater than LF loss.

Untitled-1 copyDigital video
While analog video signals travel in a sine-like wave form, digital signals travel in a square-like waveform. A digital signal is broken into a binary format where the audio or video data is represented by a series of 1s and 0s. Like analog signals, digital video also suffers from loss, but as long as the cable is of sufficient quality and within the maximum supported distance, the signals don’t suffer from blurring or color skew. HDMI and DVI (explained below) are examples of typical digital video interfaces.

However, what you will get when the maximum supported cable length is exceeded is the “cliff” effect, where the digital signal drops off and you completely lose the picture. To overcome distance limitations, you need to use extenders or repeaters.

DVI and HDMI Interfaces
Digital video interface (DVI)

DVI is the standard digital interface for PCs.

The DVI standard is based on transition-minimized differential signaling (TMDS). DVI comes in two formats: single-link and dual-link. Single-link DVI has a maximum frequency. A single-link interface can transmit a resolution of 1920 x 1200 vs. 2560 x 1600 for dual link.

The most common DVI connections are:

  • DVI-D: A digital-only connector for use between a digital video source and monitors. DVI-D eliminates the analog pins.
  • DVI-I (integrated): Supports both digital and analog RGB connections. It can transmit either a digital-to-digital signal or an analog-to-analog signal. It is used on products instead of separate analog and digital connectors. Continue reading