Dirty fibre connectors are the number one root cause of fibre optic system failures. These failures impact timelines for delivering projects and can result in signal loss. Inspecting and cleaning fibre connectors can reduce network downtime ensuring they are in good condition. Cleaning can remove microscopic dust particles from the ends of fibres.
So how does something so small impact performance? A dust particle can interrupt a laser signal, which can cause strong back reflections and result in instability of the entire system. Particles can also cause scratches to glass surfaces, when caught between two fibre end faces, permanently damaging the connector.
Whilst dust particles have their role in disrupting network connectivity, actions from installers can also impact performance. This includes:
What actions should installers avoid when attempting to clean fibre connectors?
But can dust really impact performance of a fibre network? Dust particles can be 20um or larger in diameter. A 1um dust particle landing on a core of single mode fibre can cause up to 1db of loss.
So how can you minimise exposure to dust on the fibre end-face?
Following these simple guidelines may seem time consuming but will result in optimum connectivity across your fibre network. Furthermore, these actions will minimise the likelihood of an engineer having to be dispatched to an installation, therefore saving valuable time and resources. Employing best practices can also increase the chances of a successful installation, for example by storing cleaning tools and consumables in a resealable container. This will help avoid further contamination.