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How to Handle Fiber Optic Cabling

It’s lightweight, and it allows signals to travel amazing distances in the blink of an eye. It’s fiber optic cabling, the favorite medium in transmitting data to data centers. Rising in popularity when it started being used commercially in the 1980s, fiber optic cabling provided an extremely high speed and versatile network cabling solution for moving large amounts of data in a short amount of time. While allowing high performance levels, fiber optic cables are also somewhat fragile, and if handled wrong, could be damaged during the installation process.

Handle with Care

If you were to strip the covering off of a Cat 6a cable, you’d see a bundle of twisted copper wiring, shielding, some support to keep the wire shape, and the outer shell. Fiber optic cable is much simpler in that it consists of glass cladding surrounding a glass or plastic core, wrapped in a cable jacket that might contain some strengthening fibers. A very simple and elegant solution for high speed data transfer, the glass core is also somewhat fragile and requires special handling during installation.

Protect the Ends

The ends of the fiber optic cable have protective end-caps that manufacturers suggest be kept in place until the cable is plugged into the patch panel or transceiver. Once removed, the glass or plastic core of the wire is exposed and can be damaged or become dirty, which could affect the signal integrity. A scratched or pitted end of the fiber optic cable can in fact completely cause the cable to fail.

No Bending, No Pinching

Is the glass core of a fiber optic cable flexible? To a point. However, it should never be kinked or severely bent, as doing so will snap the interior core. Favor adjustable velcro ties for bundling versus zip ties, and follow the manufacturer’s suggested bend radius. The bend radius rule generally advises that the cable should never be bent with a radius of 10 times the diameter of the cable. Aside from breakage, a bend too sharp in the cable can cause the light signal to either absorb into the side of the cabling or u-turn back to its source. This can also occur if the cable is draped over a sharp ledge, as the weight of the cable over time will cause it to bend and eventually snap.

Informed Network Construction

At SANDirect, we understand how tricky it can be to properly construct and assemble a network that meets the needs of your organization. We offer access to some of the best SFP modules on the market, and we’ve partnered with a number of storage solution partners to ensure your network storage needs are covered. Our team of professionals can provide you a quote that you can use to make an informed decision on setting up your network solution.

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