The 5 Big Things That Cause Fiber Cable dB Loss

The 5 Big Things That Cause Fiber Cable dB Loss

High dB loss in fiber optic cabling infrastructures can lead to downtime… and nobody wants that! The following are five big factors resulting in dB loss:

A Contaminated End Face

Fiber is glass. Data transmission over fiber cabling is severely reduced when that glass is dirty. Most of the fiber optic glass is covered so it will not get contaminated, however, the end faces are the one place where this can happen. To avoid slow data transmission make sure you inspect, clean and inspect, your fiber on a regular basis (and repeat clean multiple times if necessary).

Exceeding the Bend Radius

Fiber optic glass can bend, but bending it too much will cause optical loss. Typically, this damage occurs most often during the installation. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 10 times the diameter of the outer jacket. When in doubt, contact your supplier for exact measurements.

A Pinched Jumper

Many installers use “zip ties” to keep cables nice and neat. This is great for many cabling types, but not for fiber. The zip ties pinch the fiber, compressing the glass and in turn, can cause high dB loss amounts.

Cracked Fiber

Some manufacturing production lines do not pay enough attention to consistencies in the end face polishing process. When that critical detail is overlooked the fiber can protrude too much and can crack and/or splinter when mated with another fiber or into a transceiver. This can be a very troublesome problem as many times it is intermittent! To ensure quality control, ask your supplier about their system to keep fiber protrusions in spec.


Fiber optic cores are where the data passes through. When fiber optic cables are mated in a patch panel the cores need to line up to ensure all the data passes through. Cheaper components will lead to mismatched cores and dB loss will happen! You may have saved money in the short term but you could be losing a lot more by gambling with mismatched cables.

CABLExpress guarantees the highest quality cabling for your layer one infrastructure. If you have questions about fiber cables feel free to talk with one of our experts today!

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