A Simple Guide to Fiber Cable Care & Maintenance

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Mar 21, 2023 11:23:15 AM

Minimize End-Face Contamination

The most basic ways to protect your fiber and maintain maximum performance are to:

Minimize End-Face Contamination

The most basic ways to protect your fiber and maintain maximum performance are to:

  • Minimize end-face contamination
  • Avoid excessive bending

Don’t assume that just because a cable hasn't been used that there is no risk of contamination. There is always the possibility that condensation has formed during shipping. Contamination (from dust particles, food particles, lint, skin oil, condensation) will increase insertion loss and could lead to downtime.

Remember to clean end faces prior to mating. Contamination, like the common cold, can be transmitted when mating connectors. Minimize risks by following the "Inspect, Clean, Inspect" routine EVERY TIME and repeat, if necessary!

For more information on how to inspect and clean your end faces, check out our tutorial videos #4 and #23.

More than 50% of network outages are due to end-face contamination!

Avoid Excessive Bending

Excessive bending can cause light losses due to micro and macro bends. Bend Insensitive Fiber, commonly called BIF, is a major improvement and helps to reduce the losses.

The bend radius is the minimum radius you can safely bend the cable without a loss occurring. The rule of thumb for the bend radius, the typical cable manufacturer standard (with the use of BIF), is that it is 10 times the diameter of the outer jacket of the cable.

Bend Radius Formula: Cable Diameter x 10

  • For instance, if you have a 2 mm fiber cable x 10 = 20 mm (bend radius) or 0.79 inches.
  • Now, this bend radius works for how you would typically place your cables in a structured cabling system, but sometimes it's easier to visualize the diameter. If you're looking to calculate the bend diameter, simply multiply the bend radius by 2. In this case, the bend diameter is 40 mm or 1.6 inches.

It may help to envision an everyday object, like a paper towel tube - this is the amount of bend allowed with BIF fiber.

Prior to BIF, bend losses were much higher. The minimum radius specified was typically not less than 15 times the cable diameter. This means that the fiber cable could only safely bend around the size of a sports drink bottle, almost 2.5 inches!

Check out tutorial video #32 for more info on the bend radius of BIF.

By following these two simple guidelines - minimizing your end-face contamination and avoiding excessive bending - you will be able to properly maintain your fiber cabling, thus allowing for maximum uptime in your data center.