It's Spring Cleaning Time!
Time to clean those fiber optic end-faces

Spring Cleaning - A Lesson in End-Face Contamination

By Josh Taylor, Director – CABLExpress Product Management

 

     Don't let this happen to your fiber optic cabling...

There’s snow place like the northeast, specifically Syracuse, NY, when it comes to weather. Our winter seasons often last through April and, dare I say it, early May.

While I love the winter season, by March I am tired of it and anxiously await the first signs of spring. When I hear the robins chirping outside, I know it's nature’s alarm clock reminding me of the spring cleaning that lies ahead.

It might seem like a stretch to think of spring cleaning along the same lines as fiber optic end-face contaimination, but stay with me. The windows on my house inevitably get dirty from the winter, and because I want every bit of that spring sun coming in, part of my family spring cleaning chores is to clean the windows.

It is amazing how much dirt collects on glass. This buildup not only look gross, but also blocks those precious rays of sunlight. I think you can see where this is going.

Starting the job of cleaning the glass is the hardest part. Once you get into it and see the amount of dirt that was on the windows, it starts to become a bit rewarding. Okay, okay, I’m stretching it a bit, but you get my point!

If You Can't See It, You're Just Guessing

I hope by now you see the parallel I am making between dirty windows and fiber optic end-face contamination. This could be causing you issues you don’t even realize—or worse—causing you issues that you think are from the hardware your cables are plugging in to. 

I would recommend anyone that has to troubleshoot problems in a data center, especially when fiber connections are involved, to use a visual inspection scope. Use that bad boy right away if possible. 

This is a simple and easy solution to fix your problem right away. If you can’t see it, you are just guessing.

Data center outages can happen due to fiber optic end-face contamination. It is not the most common reason, but you certainly don’t want to be on the wrong side of that statistic!

This is an easy preventable measure, unlike Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), what some experience in Syracuse and other dark, gloomy snowy climates!


Check out the impacts of end face contamination and how to minimize your potential risks. Do you want your fiber to look like the one in this video?

 


About the Author

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.