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Caring for Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables are fast becoming the go-to solution when a long-distance, high-speed connection is required to connect networks and data centers. The high performance of fiber optics are achieved by transmitting data in the form of light signals through strands of hollow glass no thicker than a human hair. These glass strands are bundled in cabling insulation and allow data to be transmitted up to 10 km, depending on the type of fiber optic cable. Being constructed of gossamer-thin strands of glass means that fiber optic cables do require additional care during installation and over time, as any damage to the cable could result in decreased performance and even complete loss of signal.

Care for the Cable

Unlike insulated twisted-pair copper cabling, which is fairly durable, fiber optic cable can be a bit challenging to handle.

Avoid Bending and Folding

An excessive degree of bending or folding of the fiber optic cable can snap the glass fiber inside. Whether you’re installing cable, or re-spooling fiber optic cables, you should adhere to the manufacturer’s specified minimum bend radius to ensure you’re not exceeding the tensile stresses the cable can endure.

No Twisting or Pulling

During installation or ongoing network maintenance, you’ll be attaching and removing connectors on a regular basis. During this process, it’s important not to pull or twist the cable itself, as it can result in broken fiber optic strands or damage to the optical connector cable sheath.

Store Properly

Cable that has not yet been installed should be stored inside without exposure to the elements. It should also be kept properly wound around a properly supported fiber optic reel; if a reel isn’t properly supported on both flanges, fiber optic cable strands will gravitate toward one end of the reel or the other, resulting in damaged to the interior cabling during the unwinding process.

Care for the Connectors

Fiber optic cable connectors act as relays and allow signals to travel over longer distances by connecting segments of cabling. Using lens, they are very susceptible to damage and must be proactively cared for in order to protect network functionality.

Minimal Impact

Any damage to the lens on the end of the connector can negatively impact the signal strength. It’s important then to thoroughly inspect any connector that might be dropped on a desk or floor to verify the connector is intact. Similarly, do not disassemble and reassemble connectors, as this could damage the connector and result in reduced performance of network.

Preventative Maintenance

Connectors rely on glass lenses to relay signals between fiber optic cables. Dirt and dust are the enemy, and IT professionals must make sure to perform preventative cleaning tasks on a scheduled basis in order to prevent the scattering or poor reflection of light signals along the fiber optic cable system.

Fiber Optic Professionals

More than a data center storage solutions provider, SANDirect works with clients to ensure their networks are built to meet their needs. We provide consulting services to assess your storage needs and provide guidance on proper methods for bridging the gap between current network performance and goal state. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help to maximize the performance of your fiber optic cable network.

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Charlotte, NC 28202

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