Advantages of Jetting Fiber Optic Cable Over Traditional Pulling

What are the advantages of blowing or jetting fiber optic cable vs. traditional pulling?

Pulling and blowing are the two primary fiber installation methods. But each of these techniques can impact the longevity, performance, and return on investment (ROI) of a fiber optic network. If you take into account the fragility of glass or fused silica during installation, distance to be covered, efficiency, and costs, you may see that jetting (blowing) offers many advantages over traditional cable-pulling techniques.

An Overview of Fiber Optic Cable Installation Methods

• Pulling: It involves pulling the fiber optic cable through pre-installed underground or aerial ducts. You can pull the cable manually or using a reeling machine. You’ll also need a pulling tape to haul the cable while measuring the distance covered.

• Blowing: With this technique, high-speed air pressure pushes fiber optic cables through standard ductwork or microduct systems.

Here are the reasons why cable jetting is superior to traditional pulling methods:

Minimal Risk of Tension Damage

Each brand of optical fiber cable has a maximum tensile strength. But in pulling, there’s a risk of straining the cable beyond its limit, which can compromise the fiber’s performance and cut its service life. Unchecked resistance forces, such as friction, on the sidewalls of cables and ducts, can also cause damage during a “pulling” installation.

In contrast, jetting involves little or no pulling, which significantly minimizes strain on the fiber optic cable. You can not only configure the system’s hydraulic pack or air-compressing equipment to control airflow inside the duct but also monitor the conduit and fiber to minimize damage.

To minimize friction during cable jetting, consider applying lubricants meant for the method. Ducts with low-friction interior walls may also help.

Suitability for Long-Haul Fiber Optic Networks

Pulling isn’t the best option for placing outside plant (OSP) fiber optic cable. With the technique, there’s always a high possibility of pulling the cable into conduit bends. And as bend angles continue to accumulate, it becomes increasingly difficult to optimize pull length. The bad news is that ducts for cross-country fiber optic networks can have many bends.

As such, pulling is ideal for short-distance fiber optic cable deployment. Distance will vary from one manufacturer to another and cable jacket material plays a role too.

With high air speed blowing fiber optic installation, however, conduit bends and undulations aren’t as much of an issue as they are with traditional cable-pulling techniques. The blowing force doesn’t pull the cable into a duct bend. It instead pushes it smoothly around every turn or curve.

In other words, the duct route geometry doesn’t impact installation distance in this case. Consequently, air-assisted installation lets you place fiber optic cable thousands of feet between jetting sites. That’s why it’s suitable for OSP fiber deployments, for example, telecommunication, CATV, and internet networks.

Reduced Costs

Cable jetting equipment and ductwork may be initially expensive. But you can amortize these upfront costs depending on current needs, and your initial investment may pay off in future savings on upgrades. For example, you don’t have to invest in redundant higher fiber counts when you can cheaply upgrade capacity in tandem with changing requirements. 

Likewise, “pulling” is more labor-intensive than the blowing method. The technique involves more equipment movement, and it may require the positioning of placing tools at intermediate points and both ends of long OSP runs. Additional workers and extra equipment translate to higher installation costs. Cable jetting requires fewer cabling technicians, however.

Keep in mind that air-assisted optical fiber installation minimizes the number of splices needed. Cables installed this way don’t usually require “figure-eight” looping to prevent twisting every time duct changes direction. Since the approach has fewer intermediate-assist placement operations, it limits the number of handholes and other access points required along the cabling route.

Suitability for Microduct Installation

Jetting is very effective in pushing fiber optic cable through microducts. With the blowing method, you can place microduct cable in continuous lengths. The technique is most suitable for modern optical fiber cables that tend to contain bare fibers, and sometimes reduced cladding diameters, both of which contribute to decreased outer cable diameters.

The thinner a fiber optic cable is, the larger the number of fibers you can place in specific innerduct. As such, jetting is the best installation technique when you wish to make the most of the available duct capacity. It also allows you to work with small but flexible fibers that go through multiple microduct twists and turns over long distances with near-zero bend losses.

Additionally, when setting up microducts for fiber optic cable jetting, you may include redundant ductwork to accommodate new fiber in the future as required. This way, you avoid the unnecessary costs of placing dark fiber, which may become obsolete sooner than anticipated.

Appropriate for Removal of Old Fiber

Pulled fiber optic cable may be difficult to remove when no longer needed. The presence of old and unwanted cables in mission-critical physical pathways may limit your ability to optimize your optical network capacity or even upgrade to higher-performance fibers.

But after installing optical fiber by cable jetting, you may easily remove it by the same approach when necessary. You may be able to reuse the removed fiber optic cable since the removal process is gentle enough to minimize or avoid damage.

Quick Installation

Cable jetting is faster than the “pulling” method. The pushing device can move fiber optic cable at speeds of 350 feet per minute or higher. With the air-jetting technique, you can quickly push cables through pre-installed innerduct or underground ductwork. But in most cases, you can only pull fiber at a rate of 100-200 feet per minute, or even slower.  

Less Disruption Choose cable jetting to upgrade your optical fiber with minimal interruption to ongoing workflows or operations. The cable-pulling approach is more disruptive.  

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A Guide to Optimizing Your Fiber Optic Cable Management

How safe, efficient, and organized is your fiber optic cabling? That largely depends on your cable management practices. Optimal organization of your networking cables delivers these benefits:

• Enhanced signal integrity by minimizing macrobend losses

• Protection of cables from macro-bending damage

• Improved accessibility for maintenance and upgrades

• Quick cable identification

• Neat and aesthetically-pleasing fiber infrastructure

But you need to use the right tools and methods to optimize your fiber optic cable management. Here’s how to do it right:

Use Vertical or Horizontal Cable Managers

Vertical and horizontal cable managers hold your cabling together for orderly and efficient management. You may need them both to secure and organize your fiber-optic cables.

For example, you may place horizontal managers in front of cabinets or racks and use them to neatly hold your cables together. These tools also work well with panel patches by providing a neat way to route fiber cabling from the back to the front of the rack where switch ports are installed.

Horizontal management helps to keep cables from tangling so you can quickly make changes or identify, access, and fix specific cabling issues.

Available options include:

• D-Ring

• Finger duct

• End ring

• Brush strip

• Lacing bar

Alternatively, you may mount vertical cable managers on both sides of the rack to safely bundle your cables. This management style provides a vertical path for a large number of premise cables from switches or other network equipment.

With vertical cable management, you’re also able to separate power cords from the optical fiber cables.

Types of vertical cable management products include:

• Finger Duct Vertical Bars

• D-Ring Vertical Bars

• Vertical Lacing Bars

Use Cable Lacing Bars

Cable lacing bars provide a cost-effective way to secure and support fiber optic cabling in rack or enclosure systems. Adjustable clips or ties are used to secure cables to these metal bars. Their benefits include:

• Easing strain on cables to optimize network integrity. They also prevent strain-related damage to the ports on rack-mount devices. • Neat and aesthetically-pleasing ways to route cables horizontally and vertically. • They help with bend radius control to prevent damage to cables and minimize signal loss.

There are different shapes and types of cable lacing bars, namely:

• Round lacer bars

• Rectangular lacer bars

• L-shaped lacer bars

• Square lacer bars

• Horizontal lacer panel

• 90-degree bend lacer bar

When choosing your lacer bars, consider factors like the size of the cable runs and the offset required.

Zip Ties vs. Velcro Hook and Loop Wraps

You can also neatly and safely hold a bunch of networking cables together by wrapping or tying them. In most structured fiber optic network projects, technicians use zip ties or Velcro wraps to do that. Both options are excellent, but a look at their distinct features can help to choose the best for your cable management requirements.

Zip ties features include:

• Easy to use: Simply strap it around your cables and fasten it.

• Sturdy: They steadily secure cables in place.

• Durable: Excellent for permanent fastening.

• Cheap: Cheaply available in large quantities.

However, the main issue with zip ties is that they’re not reusable. You have to cut and get rid of them to add in more cables. Also, there is the concern that the zip tie can be “over cinched” – holding the cables together too tightly which can cause attenuation or worse – broken fibers.

Velcro straps features include:

• Reusability: To add cables to a bundle, you quickly unwrap, add, and re-wrap. Velcro straps are therefore an excellent temporary optical cabling support solution.

• Cable safety: Cutting zip ties risks damaging the cables. But unwrapping Velcro wraps involves no cutting.

Nonetheless, Velcro straps are more expensive than zip ties, although their reusability makes them a worthy investment for cable management.

Mark and Label Your Fiber Optic Cables

When you mark and label [] your fiber optic cables at both ends, you can quickly tell what you’re dealing with at all times. Doing that saves you troubleshooting time, and makes it easier and quicker to reorganize or make changes to your cabling structure. Here are some tips for getting it right:

• Size: Pick labels with sufficient space to add identification information for the size of your simplex or duplex fiber optic cables.

• Visibility: High-visibility labels display information clearly for quick identification .

• Labeling standards: Use a consistent labeling standard, such as the TIA/EIA-606-A, to name and number your optical fiber cables.

Different types of cable markers and labels include:

• ID tags: You may wrap these around bundles of cables. Other types of ID tags come with hook-and-loop closures or ties for strapping around the cables.

• Wire markers: Use these to identify individual cables. They may be numbered or color-coded to simplify the labeling process. Some are available as labeling tapes.

Cable Management With Fiber Enclosures

Fiber enclosures are boxes that house the devices and equipment that connect or terminate optic fiber cables. They’re of different types, including:

• Rack-mount enclosures

• Wall-mount enclosures

• Indoor or outdoor enclosures

The 19-inch rack-mount fiber enclosure is the most commonly deployed in fiber optic cable management and termination, and it’s usually available in five different configurations, namely 1RU, 2RU, 4RU, and 8RU. Of course, other configurations are available – these are just the most common.

Consider the following requirements to select the right rack-mount enclosure configuration:

• Number of Connections Needed: These determine the number of rack units (RU) required. A rack-mount enclosure with a larger number of RUs accommodates more fiber adapter panels. The greater the number of adapters loaded on the adapter panels, the more fibers the enclosure can hold.

• Accessibility: The type with a removable top is cheaper but more difficult to access when adding or moving cables. The slide-out or swing-out types have support trays that come out, which simplifies internal access. They cost more, however.

• Flush Mount Patch Panels: One option is the flush mount patch panel enclosure for mounting fiber optic adapters. Other rack-mount configurations may have several removable front panels. Their plug-and-play construction makes light work of fiber optic network installation and makes them an excellent cable management solution.


When your cable management is optimized, it brings organization to your cabling infrastructure, enabling you to save time, effort, and costs. This way, you can conveniently and quickly access cables within your network to implement repairs, upgrades, or other changes. Equally important, keeping your optical fiber network neat and optimally-managed means protecting it to preserve signal integrity. Still not sure of the tools or methods to use for your specific cable management solution? Contact one of our fiber optic technicians right away to explore your options!

Why should I calibrate fiber optic test and splicing equipment?

Would you drive a car with a speedometer that gives you faulty readings? How can you tell how fast you were driving? Optical testing equipment that is out of calibration will also cause faulty test readings. A fusion splicer that is out of calibration will produce inferior splices. False readings from an OTDR and a poor connector splice joining cable will cost you time and money. Not to mention customers and network owners who would question your fiber optic installation work. How do you expect to evaluate your installation or repair with equipment that has not been calibrated?

As demand keeps growing, more and more of today’s fiber optic network owners are demanding that their networks handle the increased speed needed to keep up with those demands. This means that your splice equipment and cleaver need to be up to the job. With this increased need for speed, today’s loss budgets are lower than ever. These budgets need to be met. Test equipment must be more accurate than ever.

Items that need to be calibrated

You need to remember your OTDR is an important piece of diagnostic equipment. It must be calibrated at specific intervals to ensure correct diagnostics. A power meter & light source is another important piece of testing equipment in your arsenal. This tool consists of transmitter and receiver. It measures the power of an optical signal that is passed through the fiber cable. When two ends of optical fiber are permanently welded together by an electrical arc, this is known as a fusion splice. Arc calibration is a must for the proper splice to take place. Do not forget the optical fiber cleaver. Cleaving is the process of breaking or cutting of the fiber. A fusion splice requires the use of a highly accurate cleaver. As you can see the each piece of equipment mentioned has a specific job. Not calibrating a cleaver or a fusion splicer can mean a poor splice. Without calibration, optic test equipment such as the OTDR and power meter & light source are somewhat useless in determining things like the quality of connectors and splices.

What is a loss budget?

This calculation is the total optical power loss that the system is allowed to have. This amount is determined by the power losses resulting from the total amount of equipment that the system has. A loss budget for fiber optic networks is derived from installation of items such as patch cords; couplers, adaptors, splices, cable and any additional optical components installed in the system. This is determined when the network is designed. After it is installed this loss must be tested to see if the budget has been met. Is the splice that has been made to extend the cable acceptable? How about a connector? Was it installed properly? Another equally important reason for OTDR testing, is once the system is active, later on if a problem presents itself, you can go back to the original test. You could then compare the new test to the original test and determine the problem quickly and easily. This is why accurate OTDR testing equipment must be maintained. In order for that piece of equipment to be accurate it must be calibrated on a regular basis.

Calibration is not an option. It is a must.

Put calibration off and it could cost you more than the cost of the calibration itself. Incorrect readings could have technicians thinking the installation is better than it really is or just the opposite. Your company name depends on quality and accuracy. It is not worth saving a few bucks on calibration. During the year your equipment such as splicing equipment is subjected to all sorts of events that can cause it to go out of calibration. If you are in the south heat can be your enemy. Up north freezing temperatures are not your friend. Have you left your equipment in your truck only to be bounced around? All those bumps, drops and bangs add up to inaccurate readings. Dirty conditions are no help either. In many instances in order to get paid you need up to date certified testing equipment. If you are certified for ISO 9001 you need your equipment calibrated. ISO clause 7/6 reads in part as; Control of monitoring and measuring equipment. The organization shall determine the monitoring and measurement to be undertaken and the monitoring and measuring equipment needed to provide evidence of conformity of product to determined requirements. The organization shall establish processes to ensure that monitoring and measurement can be carried out and are carried out in a manner that is consistent with the monitoring and measurement requirements. Remember, calibration is always a must when the measurements from your equipment are critical – It’s that simple.

What exactly is calibration?

When you calibrate any piece of equipment the unit to be calibrated is compared to a unit of a known value. This known value comes from another similar device of known accuracy and precision. Equipment that has a laser which is being calibrated means that laser must fall within a specific acceptable range. Should the equipment being tested be found to be “out of calibration” and produces faulty readings, the equipment must be repaired or adjusted so it falls within the acceptable specified range of measurement.

What is NIST Calibration?

NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. They provide services to make sure the equipment being calibrated is measured up to a particular piece of equipment similar to that of the equipment being calibrated. NIST certifies that that the lab testing to equipment uses a method that meets the standards of the NIST and must match the NIST measurement standard for a particular piece of equipment. For fiber optic purposes, that would be equipment such as an OTDR, a fusion splicer, cleavers, power meters and lights sources.

In simple terms when using the NIST method you need an unbroken chain of documents; your piece of equipment and components are compared to our piece of equipment which in turn was compared to a piece of equipment from the NIST which is within a stated tolerance. NIST sets the tolerance and it is correct. Our equipment was compared to the NIST equipment so we know ours is correct. Finally yours is compared to ours and found to be correct. That is an unbroken chain. This unbroken chain which is traced back to NIST standards for accurate measurement is how uniformity is maintained. Once your equipment has been tested and meets NIST standards you will receive a calibration certificate paper work stating the results and the date. This means your equipment has met the highest test standards. A big plus would be getting that certification from an ISO compliant calibration company.

What is ISO?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest non-governmental organization developer of standards. ISO 9001 is the most sought-after and internationally acclaimed management system standard. They have created over 22,808 International standards and goals. Their standards are voluntary. Companies who seek out this standard are ensuring that their customer requirements are met accurately and consistently. When it comes to calibration a company is working to meet a set of regulatory requirements which in turn will improve company performance, which will improve product and service quality. This method in the end will benefit the customer by assuring them that the ISO certified company has met the exacting ISO standards to bring them a better product.


Over time even a well cared for piece of test equipment can lose its’ accuracy. You must have your equipment calibrated as suggested by the manufacturer. However, in many instances you may need to get it done sooner, as many conditions that the equipment is subjected to may alter or falsify your test results. As networks need to increase their efficiencies loss budgets are becoming smaller and smaller. Only calibrated equipment can assure you are correctly within that budget. Calibration is not really an option. It is a must. Always use a lab that will test to NIST standards and if possible use an ISO certified test lab. Accurate results will always save you time, money and your company reputation.

What is the Purpose of a Power Meter & Light Source?

A Power Meter & Light Source is a low cost way to certify optical fiber. These two pieces of test equipment are used to measure fiber optic light continuity, loss and lastly the actual strength of the optical signal.

Signal Loss

In fiber optics when a beam of light which carries a signal goes through the optical fiber the strength of that beam of light will diminish over distance. This means the signal strength becomes weaker. This loss of light power will affect the fiber optic network in a negative way. The loss of light power or attenuation of the optical fiber is caused by two issues, scattering and absorption of the light source. If the degradation is too great then performance of the network will be affected.

The following can be the cause of signal loss:

• Tight Bends in the Cable

• Dirty or Improperly Cleaned Connectors

• Too much Stress on the Cable During Installation

• Poorly Installed Connectors

• Improper Splicing Technique

• Poor Cable Quality

What Equipment is Needed to Conduct a Power Meter & Light Source Test?

What Training Does an Installer Need?

A Power Meter and Light Source are a pretty simple piece of test equipment to use. The actual connection of the fiber to the test equipment is fairly straightforward. If you are familiar with handling fiber optics the test is very easy. If you are new to fiber optics this test should not present any issues. A simple short video explaining the test should be all you need.

Why use an OTDR in Place of a Power Meter & Light Source?

The Power Meter and Light Source are more limited than an OTDR. A Power Meter can only measure the received optical power. The OTDR can not only tell you there is a break is in the fiber, it can also measure the distance between the test point and the break. In addition, it is able to give you reflectance for each connector. Even though the OTDR can reveal additional information, the Power Meter and Light Source are still an important piece of optical fiber test equipment and their importance should not be underestimated when testing an optical fiber network.

How Does A Power Meter & Light Source Work?

By attaching a reference cable to the light source, power can be measured at the opposite end of the fiber optic cable. The signal is sent from the light source down the fiber. These two pieces of test equipment are used to measure fiber optic light continuity, loss, and lastly the actual quality of the signal. In short, it measures the power of the optical signal that has passed through the fiber cable from the light source.

Steps to Using a Power Meter and Light Source

Using the Power Meter & Light Source to test a fiber optic cable is relatively easy.

• First take the reference cord end face and clean it with 99% reagent grade isopropyl alcohol and lint free fiber optic wipes.

• Next plug the reference cord into the light source and select the wavelength you are testing. When testing a multimode cord attach a mandrel wrap to strip out the higher modes of light that can interfere with the test results. A mandrel wrap is not necessary for singlemode.

• Clean the other end of the reference cord and insert that end into the Power Meter. Now zero out the reference cord by hitting the “zero” button. After zeroing out, do not unplug the reference cord from the Light Source. Take the cord to be tested and clean one end, then attach the connector adapter. Clean the other end of the patch cord.

• Remove the reference cord from the power meter and attach to the test cord adapter, insert the other end of the test cord into the power meter. The reading on the power meter will give you the loss on the connector mated to the reference cord only. To get the loss reading on the other end simply unplug the test cord from the reference cord and switch the connectors. You have now completed the one cord reference test.

• For a two cord reference test attach a connector adapter to the reference cord and insert the other end to the power meter. Zero out the power meter. You are now ready to get a loss reading for the entire cord being tested.

• Take the test cord and clean both ends with the cleaning alcohol and wipes. Connect the test cord in between the two reference cords. The power meter will show a full cord reading for total power loss. Record your loss as needed.

What to Look for when Purchasing a Power Meter and Light Source

The Power Meter and Light Source or Optical Loss Test Set are must have tools for the fiber installer. While they are fairly simple tools to operate, care should be taken in choosing the Power Meter and Light Source as there are many models to choose from.

• Is the equipment easy to use or does it require a huge manual?

• Operation of this piece of equipment should almost be intuitive.

• Appearance is important. Is it easy to hold?

• There should be a minimal amount of buttons on the unit.

• Are screens easy to read? Is it backlit?

• Is the Power Meter and Light source calibrated?

• Does the manufacturer calibrate?

• Can they provide a calibration certificate traceable to NIST standards?

• Does the unit come with a protective carry case?

• What about battery life?

• Are adapter caps included?

• Does the kit include a dual wavelength multimode or single mode light source?

• Does it come with interchangeable adapters allow flexibility with reference cords? As with any fiber optic test equipment, know the manufacturer. Find a reputable company that will stand behind their equipment. If you have questions about your choice, call or email the company and talk with a technical person that can help you decide which piece of test equipment best suits your needs. Remember, there are many manufacturers out there in the marketplace. Consider only those with reputable firms that have a good track record. One that can service and maintain your equipment if needed.

The Different Types of Fiber Optic Fusion Splicers?

You’ve probably heard the term fusion splicer before, but in case you haven’t – an optical fiber fusion splicer is used to “splice” or fuse two separate pieces of glass optical fibers together – whether the optical fiber type is single mode fiber or multimode fiber. The goal is to join the two pieces of bare fiber seamlessly. They are connected to each other by an electric arc. You may need to fusion splice for a variety of reasons – the fiber may have been broken or damaged, or you could be performing a termination of the fiber using a pigtail or a splice on connector (SOC), or you may need to extend the length of a fiber optic cable run to reach an end point in your long haul network. Fusion splicing ensures that the light will pass from one end of the fiber to the other without interruption, making sure there is the least amount of back reflection from the splice. Fusion splicing can be used instead of mechanical splices, and it is actually usually preferred because of its benefits, which we will talk about in the passages below.

Fusion splicing ensures optimal performance, the lowest loss, and the lowest amount of reflectance when compared to a mechanical splice. The price of fusion splicers varies depending on the type you choose, core alignment and ribbon or mass fusion splicers are more expensive than cladding alignment fusion splicers. Most standard fusion splicer features include a large color screen, built-in splice sleeve ovens, and many come with high precision cleavers when purchased as a kit. As technology progresses we are seeing Bluetooth options, fully automated processes, and Wi-Fi capabilities being developed.

Typical applications where fusion splicers are used include fiber to the home applications, applications where splice on connectors are being used, maintenance in data center locations, and in research and development facilities. When you have a fusion splicer you can do repairs on the fly, whether it is a broken fiber or a bad connector, a fusion splicer can be used to make the repair and get your system back up and running in no time. There are many manufacturers of fusion splicers in the marketplace, and each has its own perks, features, and benefits, but there are two main types of splicers that you could potentially purchase.

Core Alignment Splicer

In core alignment units, the cores of the fiber are aligned prior to the splice being performed, not the cladding of the fiber that you are trying to splice. These units work using a system of magnifiers, cameras, and motorized movable fiber holders or clamps to see the fiber. These parts will move the fiber in any way necessary to achieve the proper alignment of the cores of the fiber. After the alignment is achieved according to the parameters set in the software, it will then perform the splice. The operator of the splicer does not have to worry about manually moving the fiber to get the proper alignment.

These splices are performed in mere seconds after alignment is achieved. In the case of core alignment units, specific splice recipes or parameters can be set to achieve the specific results for your application. These attributes contribute to making core alignment splicers more expensive than cladding alignment units, but they are also what make core alignment units so easy to use.

Something to consider if you are working on or doing maintenance in older, established networks is that when you are splicing legacy fibers, core alignment splicers are preferred because the concentricity of the core within the fiber was not as consistent as it is in new fibers, and in this case, you will want to be sure the fiber cores are aligned, not just the claddings.

Ribbon Splicers

A ribbon splicer or mass fusion splicer is exactly what it sounds like; it is a splicer that is made to splice ribbon fiber together. In this case, instead of splicing a single fiber in a splicing cycle, the machine splices up to 12 fibers together, all at the same time. These units are typically more expensive than their single fiber counterparts. They use a cladding alignment system to line up the fibers prior to performing the splice. Almost all ribbon splicers can accommodate up to 12 fiber ribbons in their holders, but many can accommodate as few as 2 fibers. Specific ribbon fiber holders are used to splice fiber ribbons of various fiber counts. Ribbon splicers can splice single fibers with the proper holders, but it would not be cost effective to purchase a ribbon splicer if ribbon fiber is not something that you work with on a regular basis.

Cladding Alignment Splicers

Cladding alignment units are different than a core alignment fusion splicer as they only use a fixed V-Groove to align the fibers based on the claddings of the fibers being spliced. These types of splicers are more basic units and they lack some of the bells and whistles that are commonly seen on the core alignment units. In cladding alignment splicers, the alignment of the fibers being spliced is not as perfect as a core alignment, because this type of splicer only matches up the outer cladding of the fiber, and they move only a single axis. After the splice has been performed, the core of the fiber may be slightly offset if the core concentricity of the fibers is not on dead center. These types of splicers are preferred when cost is an issue because they are more affordable, and when higher loss rates are acceptable. These units are usually handheld and normally much smaller than the core alignment units, so if space is an issue, such as in the case of being up in a bucket truck or a tight telecom closet or handhole it may be beneficial to use a smaller cladding alignment splicer.

After each splice is performed on either a cladding or core alignment unit, the splicer will give an estimated loss reading for the splice and, it will also perform a ‘proof test’ to make sure that the tensile strength the splice is stable and that it will not break apart with any minuscule mishandling. Both of these units will splice your fiber, and get the job done. So, in conclusion, whether you are looking for the premium fusion splicer or something a little more affordable, there are many options that are on the market. It all depends on the options you are looking for and the features you need to complete your job. There are super simple units, and then there are fancy high tech units, but each fiber optic technician has his or her own set of preferences and needs.

Detail introduction for MTP and MPO Fiber Optic Connector?

MTP stands for Multifiber Termination Push-on/Pull-off. You can use the term MTP connector or MPO connector, they both indicate the same multi fiber connector style – MTP is just the trademark registered name that USConec uses for their MPO connectors. You typically see these types of connectors in the data center world, as they are commonly utilized for high density, high speed, and space saving applications. Take into consideration that you are housing multiple fibers within one single connector instead of using twelve connectors for twelve fibers. These connectors enable the fastest connection speeds and provide reliability to the user. Most MTP/MPO patch cords are manufactured in a cable assembly house and polished for optimal performance, making this an easy plug and play solution for consumers.

These connectors come standard in 8, 12, 16, 24, or 32 fiber offerings, with both Singlemode and Multimode fiber options available. Multimode MTP/MPO ferrules are typically ultra-polished and singlemode ferrules are angle polished. MTP/MPO connectors must comply with quality standards laid out in the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association), this means that all the connector brands must have standard features so different manufacturers’ connectors and adapters can be utilized interchangeably. These standard features include the size and dimensions of the connector, the pinholes, and other physical features, as well as color coding of the connector housings to simplify fiber type identification.

These connectors allow for the ability to utilize fast connection speeds, and superior reliability in applications that need multiple fiber connections and have limited installation space.

MTP/MPO connectors are composed of a ferrule and a connector housing. Housing kits come in a variety of colors which aid in the identification of the mode of the fiber and the quality of the ferrule, in the case of multimode connectors you will see beige, black, aqua, magenta or lime green housings and single mode housings are typically green or yellow.

MTP/MPO’s come in both single mode and multimode styles; there are differences in multimode and single mode MTP/MPO’s. For a single mode MTP/MPO, it is always an APC (angled physical contact) polish while in multimode applications it is generally an ultra physical polish (UPC).

MTP/MPO connectors are gaining popularity in the fiber world because they allow for the ability to utilize fast connection speeds, and superior reliability in applications that need multiple fiber connections and have limited installation space. Cable Options for the MTP/MPO Connectors

Ribbon Cable

Most commonly MTP/MPO connectors are terminated on 12 or 24 fiber ribbon fiber optic cable because ribbon cable already comes in a multi-fiber array. Ribbonized fiber is most commonly constructed of 12 color coded bare fibers held together in a flat form by glue or adhesive called a matrix. MTP/MPO connectors are the ideal choice for this cable construction. Ribbon cable also assures the fiber lengths are equal, delivering high speed data requirements with minimum error rates. The MTP/MPO connector can be terminated easily on this cable style, and ribbon is usually compact in size compared to other fiber cable constructions, making this a space saving solution.

Micro Distribution

Micro Distribution Cable is also an option for building MTP/MPO cables as they are a small, compact cable solution that can house high fiber counts. This cable, like ribbon cable, allows for runs in small ducts, panels, and other tight spaces.

Polarity Types

There are three main polarity types when referring to MTP/MPO’s there is Polarity A, Polarity B, and Polarity C, and also an 8 fiber option. If you are building a custom MTP patch cable you may have the option for custom configured polarities but in reality, the most common types of polarity are the 3 options listed above. Polarity refers to the configuration of the fibers within the connectors, each of these fibers corresponds to a transmit and receive fiber connecting your equipment, and if these fiber links do not match, your connection will not work properly.

Polarity is one of the most important factors when deploying an MTP patch cord; you must know what configuration is being utilized in the system in order to properly mate to the equipment. The adapters for the MTP’s will also need to correspond to the polarity of the MTP that will be mating with the adapter, all the polarities must be the same within a system.

Polarity A

Polarity A is also referred to as key up – key down polarity or Straight Through Polarity, this means that the fibers are configured with Fiber 1-Fiber 1, Fiber 2-Fiber 2, Fiber 3-Fiber 3, and Fiber 4-Fiber 4 and so on. Each 1 fiber must match the other 1 fiber in the configuration.

Polarity B

Polarity B is key up to key up configuration. In this polarity Fiber 1 is matched to Fiber 12, and Fiber 2 is matched to Fiber 11 and so on. This is also referred to as Reversed Polarity.

Polarity C

Polarity Type C is also key up to key down, but instead of the fibers going Fiber 1-Fiber 1 such as in Type A polarity, instead Fiber 1 will be matched with Fiber 2, and Fiber 3 will be matched with Fiber 4, and Fiber 5 will be matched with Fiber 6 and so on down the configuration. This polarity is also called Flipped Pairs Polarity.

12 Fiber MTP/MPO 40 Gig SR4 Pinout

An 8 fiber pinout is used for 40 Gig applications, in this configuration, only 8 of the fibers are lit up, 10G per lane (fiber) bi-directional multiplied by 8 fibers equals 40G bi-directionally, with 4 remaining unused within the connector. Commonly this configuration is Fiber 1-Fiber 12, Fiber 2-Fiber 11, Fiber 3-Fiber 10, and Fiber 4-Fiber 9 with Fibers 5, 6, 7 and 8 being dark.

MTP/MPO Adapters/Mating Sleeves

MTP/MPO adapters or mating sleeves must also be selected according to the polarity method of the system they are being installed in. So for Polarity A and C, you will need a key up to key down adapter or mating sleeve and for Polarity B you will need a key up to key up mating sleeve. It should also be known that you cannot mate two connectors of the same gender, so you cannot mate two male MPO connectors or two female connectors. Connectors are aligned within the mating sleeve by the guide pins of the male connector. You will choose the correct mating sleeve according to the system’s polarity.

MTP/MPO Gender

MTP’s come in two different genders – Male and Female. The female MTP connector does not have any pins and the male connectors have two stainless steel guide pins within the connector housing. Each connector will align with a specific adapter depending on if the connector has pins or no pins and whether or not the polarity is a key up to key up type or key up to key down type.

Recently we have seen gender and polarity changeable MTP connectors. With a small tool, you can open the housing and remove the pins if necessary based on the needs of the installation. These types of connectors are especially valuable in the field because you do not need to send the connectors or the patch cord back to the manufacturer to have the gender changed.

MTP connectors are becoming more popular as bandwidth and space are at a premium in data center solutions and other applications, and the notion of why we would use twelve connectors when you can use one single connector. MTP/MPO cords are an easy plug and play solution for any fiber technician to use.