The importance of properly cleaning fiber during termination – Part 1

From the August, 2014 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine
By Sean Sheedy

Using a medium only slightly larger than a human hair, fiber-optic communication has transformed our world. Not only have fiber-optic communications eliminated the vast majority of previous network limitations, but this technology also has expanded the capabilities of networks far beyond previous expectations. Today’s world of mobile communications and video downloads is a direct result of the rapid and affordable deployment of powerful, reliable fiber-optic networks. If anyone ever develops a roster of “disruptive technologies,” (as Joseph L. Bower and Clayton M. Christensen did in their 1995 Harvard Business Review article titled “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave,”), then fiber optics should be number one on that list.

Fragile signals
Amazingly, the signal carried by the fiber is astoundingly fragile and becoming more so. After more than 20 years in the industry, I can confirm there really are only two threats to a fiber signal: too much bending and too much dirt. At a BICSI Conference in 2008, JDSU stated, “Contamination is the number-one reason for troubleshooting optical networks.” A major telecom company, rolling out a new fiber-to-the-home service, found that 16 percent of all their connectors on their expensive new network were sufficiently contaminated to cause performance problems. Cleaning is not merely important; it is critical to the long-term reliability of any network, and at the heart of the profitability of a successful fiber deployment. Field techs must be taught, and must be provided the right tools, to clean every endface, both sides, every time they are installed, tested or reconfigured. Continue reading

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What are IP Ratings?

IPRatings2 copy
Ethernet technology is coming to the factory floor. Once limited to networks in office environments, Ethernet has also proven to be a robust alternative to the RS-232 interfaces traditionally used with industrial devices such as programmable logic controllers. Ethernet brings speed, versatility, and cost savings to industrial environments.

Ingress Protection
The requirements of industrial environments are different from those of offices, and there have been a proliferation of industrial standards. The most commonly accepted are the Ingress Protection (IP) ratings developed by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC), which specify the environmental protection an enclosure provides.

Two or Three Numbers
An IP rating consists of two or three numbers. The first number refers to protection from solid objects or materials; the second number refers to protection from liquids and the third number, commonly omitted from the rating, refers to protection against mechanical impacts.

First IP Number

0 No protection

1 Protection from solid foreign objects of 50 millimeters or greater

2 Protection from solid objects up to 12 millimeters

3 Protection from solid objects more than 2,5 millimeters

4 Protection from solid objects more than 1 millimeter

5 Protected from dust, limited ingress

6 Totally protected from dust

Second IP Number

0 No protection

1 Protection from vertically falling drops of water and condensation

2 Protection from direct sprays of water up to 15° from the vertical

3 Protection from direct sprays of water up to 60° from the vertical

4 Protection from splashing water from all directions

5 Protected from low-pressure water jets from all directions

6 Totally protected high-pressure water jets

7 Protection from temporary immersion up to 1 meter

8 Protection from long period immersion under pressure

Third IP Number

0 No protection

1 Protection from impact of 0,225 joule (150 grams falling from 15 centimeters)

2 Protection from impact of 0,375 joules (250 grams falling from 15 centimeters)

3 Protection from impact of 0,5 joule (250 grams falling from 20 centimeters)

4 Protection from impact of 2,0 joules (500 grams falling from 40 centimeters)

5 Protected from impact of 6,0 joules (1,5 kilograms falling from 40 centimeters)

6 Protection from impact of 20 joules (5 kilograms falling from 40 centimeters)

An IP67 rating means that the connector is totally protected from dust and is protected from the effects of immersion in 15 centimeters to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

Understanding fiber jacket color coding

By Robie Szyper

The color of the jacket on fiber optic cable identifies what type of fiber is used in the jacket. This is specified in TIA 598-C.

Orange: OM1 62.5-Micron Multimode
Orange: OM2 50-Micron Multimode
Aqua: OM3 Laser-Optimized 50-Micron Multimode
Aqua/Violet*: OM4 Laser-Optimized 50-Micron Multimode
Yellow: OS1/OS2 Single-mode
Blue: Polarization-maintaining Single-Mode
Black: Outdoor fiber

*OM4 cable is not specified in the standard. Aqua is used for OM3/OM4 cable (and some higher-grade OM2 cable). Violet is used for OM4 cable in Europe and is becoming more common in North America.

Fiber Color Coding Continue reading