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:
• 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 [https://www.fiberinstrumentsales.com/searchanise/result?q=label+printer] 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!