Maintaining Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cable is everywhere and, once installed properly, it normally just works. But, like everything else, these cables require care and feeding, especially ones repeatedly used in mobile broadcast applications. Here are some recommendations to keep fiber cables in top condition.

Camplex, an assembler of fiber optic cable systems in Saugerties, New York, works with all the leading brands. The company offered several tips for maintaining reliable fiber operations with any brand of product.

Begin by keeping cable connectors clean and dry. Before using fiber optic cables, clean the connectors on the cable and the ports the cable is connected to.

Connectors can easily be contaminated by dust and oils. This can come from oily hands, film residue condensed from air vapors and coatings left after water and solvents evaporate. Moisture can also corrode cable terminations, so cables should always be stored in dry areas.

Another tip is to leave dust caps on until the cable is ready to be connected. Dust caps keep contaminants and moisture away from the connector and protect it from damage.

After removing a dust cap, inspect and clean the ferrule before connecting to another cable or device. Only use cleaning products intended for fiber optic connectors.

Take it easy when handling fiber cables. Cables consist of cladding, coatings and jackets that protect the delicate glass strands and provide durability. However, if jerked or mishandled, the glass strands can fracture. This, of course, affects signal transmission.

Always test cables for failure points. Exceeding the bend radius or crush resistance ratings of the cable can affect performance, so use a visual fault locator (VFL) to find any failure points or a power meter to determine if there is signal loss.

Finally, avoid tangled fiber cables. Be sure to coil fiber optic cables and secure connectors with hook and loop type fasteners. Since compressed cables could cause signal loss, avoid using plastic zip ties. When zip ties are the only solution, cinch the zip ties loosely.

Minimum care is needed to make sure fiber assemblies work properly. If ignored, it can waste a lot of time troubleshooting problems. 

Let us know what you think…

Log-in or Register for free to post comments…

You might also like...

Routers Link Mobile Units to Provide Hugh IP Connectivity for Super Bowl

Evertz EXE IP routers will be linked together in NEP’s SSCBS and Game Creek’s Encore mobile units to provide at least 2,000 inputs and 4,000 outputs for this year’s Super Bowl coverage.

How 24 AWG, 26 AWG and 28 AWG Network Cables Differ

When purchasing Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a network cables, buyers may notice an AWG specification printed on the cable jacket. AWG is a standardized system for describing the diameter of the individual conductors that make up a cable. But…

2018 NAB Show Highlights Complex State of the Industry

Following numerous private conversations and panel discussions at the recent 2018 NAB Show, it’s become clear that broadcasters are being challenged like never before to hold the line on CapEx spending while delivering more content across their linear platforms. Because o…

Loudspeaker Technology Part 14: Cables - Behind the Myths and Magic

John Watkinson puts on his snake-oil-proof clothing and looks at speaker cables. Finally, some clarity behind the myths and magic that surround technical aspects of speaker interconnections.

Applied Technology: Maximizing 12G Digital Patching System Performance

Broadcasters have a flurry of changing parameters and imperfections to avoid when making the transition to single-link 12Gb/s connectivity. This article will provide some guidance to the needed decisions and key performance factors.