How to Use and Maintain Fiber Optic Patch Cords?
Fiber optic patch cords are widely used equipment connection accessories in the field of optical communication, and their role in fiber optic transmission cabling should not be underestimated. Therefore, understanding the necessary methods and precautions is an indispensable step to ensure the quality of fiber optic transmission and enhance the durability of the fiber. In this article, we will introduce you specific operation guidelines and related suggestions from three aspects of fiber optic patch cord connection, disconnection methods and daily maintenance to help you avoid unnecessary troubles and losses in fiber optic cabling.
Fiber Optic Patch Cord Connection and Disconnection
Fiber optic patch cords can be used to connect a variety of network equipment and devices with fiber optic interfaces, such as optical modules, adapter panels, wiring boxes, wavelength division multiplexers and demultiplexers, fiber optic transceivers and so on. The following article will take the common patch cable to connect the optical module on the switch as an example, and introduce the general operation steps in detail.
Fiber Optic Patch Cord Connection Steps
Remove the dust caps on the connectors of optical modules and fiber optic patch cords respectively, and save the spare.
Insert the patch cord connector into the module correctly.
Tie the fiber optic cable section with a tie and fix it, shape it to protect the patch cord.
Fiber Optic Patch Cord Disconnect Procedure
Run the command to close the switch port where the optical module is inserted.
Carefully disconnect the fiber patch connector from the module.
Put a dust cap on each end connector of the fiber optic patch cord and the optical module interface.
- The installer should have sufficient technical skills and experience in network cabling to ensure the quality and safety of the installation.
- Be sure to wear protective gloves and anti-static bracelets when handling active devices to prevent fiber fragments and electrostatic injuries.
- Make sure the end face of the fiber optic connector is clean before use.
- Pay attention to the bend radius of the fiber optic patch cable when using, excessive stretching or squeezing may cause loss.
- Do not allow the patch cord to hang or place freely from the equipment to prevent breakage when pulling the patch cord inadvertently.
- Avoid frequent insertion or removal of patch cords in the equipment to reduce wear and tear.
- Do not look directly at the end of the jumper connector when connecting to prevent laser damage to the eyes.
- After installation, clean the work area thoroughly.
Fiber Optic Patch Cord Maintenance
Although the use of fiber optic patch cords is simple, their daily maintenance work should not be ignored. Proper cleaning and maintenance to ensure smooth signal transmission at the same time, to a certain extent, also extend the service life of the fiber.
Timely Cleaning of Fiber Optic Patch Cords
Why is fiber optic patch cord cleaning so important? An industry survey by a telecom giant pointed out that connector contamination is the primary cause of network failure. It can be seen that once the fiber is contaminated by dust, oil and other substances, the quality of optical signal transmission is greatly reduced. In addition, the metal particles generated by the wear and tear of the connector body and fiber housing may also clog the fiber, causing signal loss and bringing losses to users. Therefore, it can be said that the fiber optic patch cord is actually very “fragile”, timely cleaning is essential.
Generally speaking, fiber optic patch cord cleaning is mainly for both ends of the connector. There are two main cleaning methods, namely dry cleaning and wet cleaning. The two have slight differences and can be used in conjunction. Commonly used dry cleaning tools are cassette type fiber optic cleaning cassette and one push type cleaning pen, etc. Wet cleaning tools are dust-free wiping paper, cleaning stick, etc.
Reasonable Storage of Fiber Optic Patch Cords
Whether the fiber optic patch cord is in use or not, the first thing to remember is: do not overbend or stretch. This is a common mistake, and the worst result is damage to the patch cord. Some breakage caused by bending is visible to the naked eye, however, loss in some cases may not be simple to determine, such as micro-deformation of the fiber caused by ultra-low temperatures, millimeter displacement caused by buffer or conduit frame defects, poor installation or other factors. Because such damage is not directly detectable, it is often overlooked and can lead to larger problems in the long run. To avoid further damage, the following factors should be considered when a patch cord must be replaced.
- Never bend fiber patch cords beyond their minimum bend radius, especially in tight spaces with high-density fiber cabling.
- Redesign the fiber patch cord path with appropriate tools to protect the cable from breakage, such as horizontal cable management frames.
- Do not bump the fiber optic connectors as this may wear the end face and the fragments may pierce the skin. Therefore, it is always recommended to put a dust cap on the patch cord.
- For equipment to detect and identify faults, such as breakage and total attenuation inside fiber optic patch cords, optical time domain reflectometers (OTDR) and fiber optic microscopes can be used.
This article has listed some common issues to consider when using fiber optic patch cords and related recommendations, including how to connect and disconnect the equipment, as well as routine cleaning and maintenance. We hope these tips will help you deploy a safer and more stable fiber optic cabling system that will bring you higher benefits.