Glass is very fragile. Evidence of this is in the plethora of options for shipping preparations and packing materials.
To ensure the product is in one piece upon delivery, lots of packing material is used with stickers added to the exterior of the box to alert people of the fragile contents inside.
Of course you know that fiber optic cables have glass in them, but it’s easy to be misled by the jacket surrounding the glass core; it would appear to be protected enough.
Don’t be fooled. You will need to handle this product with care. Here are some of the best practices for handling fiber optic cables.
Leave your cable boxes in a safe place until your team is ready to use them. Don’t open, don’t unwrap. Err on the side of caution to avoid potentially damaging situations – like someone rolling a cabinet over it – crashing into it with a forklift truck!
When using the assembly, make sure to leave the protective end-caps on until you are ready to plug the cable into the patch panel or transceiver.
These caps protect the most sensitive part of the fiber assemblies. Once removed, the tiny core of the cable, the glass that runs through its center, is now exposed to the contaminants in the environment surrounding it.
Contaminants that find their way to these glass ends can cause the loss of light flow, which means less data passes through. To ensure you maintain a clean connection to the other fiber end piece, wait to remove those caps!
Leaving these caps off opens opportunity for scratching and pitting to occur. This can severely, or even completely, ruin the performance functionality of the jumper or trunk.
When handling fiber cable, never pinch or kink. While the glass inside is designed to be flexible, at a certain point it will snap, ruining your company’s expensive investment. Use Velcro to gather cables, never zip ties. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for bend radius and you’ll be fine.
Josh Taylor is the director of CABLExpress product management, where he is responsible for all aspects of product design, support, market development, and inventory positions, including the high-performance fiber optic Skinny-Trunk® Solution.
He has published several white papers on topics including, Passive Optical Port Replication™ in the Data Center, Taking Your Network to 40/100G Ethernet, and Data Center Structured Cabling Guide.
In addition, he produces the informative Respect Layer One® video series.