Dirty Fiber? Let’s Take Care of That!

We’ve all heard it a thousand times. Make sure you clean your fiber.

Really, how important is it? If you have a brand new fiber that you’ve just taken out of the package, can’t you just skip cleaning? Just this once? I know you’re not likely to have the discipline to clean every fiber at every opportunity, but knowing what you risk might make it a more frequent occurrence.

Just look at these contaminated optics and what different exposure can do to them!

When you connect a fiber that’s dirty, you’re adding attenuation to the link as well as contaminating the surface that you’re connecting with. Contaminations that are initially outside of the core area can gradually degrade over time as ambient vibration causes spread or migration.

So, you scope it and clean it…And scope it and clean it again until you can certify that your fiber is fit for service. When a human judges the cleanliness of an endface, there’s a tendency to be optimistic. “It’s not so bad”, “that glob is far enough away from the core”, and “I don’t think that scratch is going to be a problem” will be enticing judgments as you are getting tired and just want the project completed. That’s why scopes with automatic qualification are such a blessing. When qualifying pass/fail, people are pretty subjective. Tools like the Smart Probe Wireless are objective. In fact, the International Electrotechnical Commission published the IEC 61300-3-35, which defines how much contamination a fiber endface can have before it’s no longer considered clean and fit for service.

You can see here that a technician would look at this fiber and decide that it’s dirty. Although they may deem it good enough, being as the core is clear and the contamination is a way’s out. Automatic qualification not only shows that this fiber is too dirty to deploy, but it shows you how it’s unfit.

Above, we see another fiber that’s been freshly cleaned. There’s just the smallest speck, but automatic qualification determines that this fiber is ready for service.

Integra Optic offers a full catalog of inspection and cleaning solutions to make sure your fiber is serving you well from greenfield installation through to an aged-in production environment. Included in this selection is the Smart Probe 2 Wifi scope with automatic qualification. Reach out to an account executive today to discuss what products will best suit your business.