Importance of Reestablishing Fiber Connections Effectively

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

Fiber Optic cables offer a business many benefits for safe, fast installations with higher bandwidth frequencies. Fiber optic cables provide extreme pull tensions up to 600 lbs and a bend radius equal to coax cables.
If loss of fiber does occur it can result in disrupted communications and negative effects to local businesses. Review the steps below in order to repair any tainted connections quickly and effectively.Making a plan of how to respond to any cable failure is a great idea. Have questions answered ahead of time such as: Do we have the proper equipment if a loss occurs? Who will have proper training and materials to fix the issue? How will we know if the issue occurs? How quickly do we want to be able to resolve any issues?
Important Factors to Restoring a proper connection effectively
1) Documentation- Producing accurate documentation during the installation process and making updates is critical. Start with manufacturer data/tech sheets, review every component and contact for quick restoration.
Example: Having a record of how the fibers were installed as well as photos/drawings to quickly locate where the problem lies.
2) Proper Testing Equipment- To troubleshoot any connection start at the receiver and measure the optical power of the cable. If power levels are showing correctly the transmitter is properly working and the fiber within the cable has not be tainted. However, if the power is bad then there could be an error within the transmitter.
If all fibers are at total failure then the cable has either been broken, split or cut in some way. To determine this use a  laser light beam to show visibly where the cable has been damaged. Once the issue is located remove at least 10 m from either side of the cable break and test the remaining length for damage. Prep the cable and splice the fibers together to restore critical service as a short-term fix and have the system shut down at a later date to permanently fix the damaged cables.
3) Repair- Fixing the damaged cable requires proper tools and trained technicians. Tooling will include splicing and termination. Generally, cut cables can be spliced or reinstalled if there is an excessive cable that was kept from the initial install.
To make sure your fibers are installed correctly, review our complete field fiber kit to ensure proper installation.
West Penn Wire’s Complete Field Kit Includes:
Field Clever
VFL Visual Fault Locator with Adapter cords (FI-4283)
Fiber Stripper (FI-3151)
Support Handle with Adapters (FI-4289)
Tweezers
Scissors
Safety Glasses
Waste Bottle
Installation Guide
Refurbishing materials

Decoding Grade A Connector in Fiber Optic Cables

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

With the advances in fiber optic technology and transmission systems, reliable cabling systems are becoming even more important. Active optical equipment, which is often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, is all connected into the network via the humble fiber optic patch cord or patch lead. The risk of network downtime due to unreliable cabling is one that should be avoided. Therefore, these types of networks, along with many other Data Center and high speed Commercial networks require reliable cabling infrastructure in order to maximize performance and to ensure long term reliability. Today’s article will introduce Grade A optical fiber cables.
What Are Grade A, Grade B, Grade C Fiber Optic Connector?
IEC standards dictate the connector performance requirement for each grade of fiber optic patch cord connector. These standards guide end users and manufacturers in ensuring compliance to best practices in optical fiber technology.
According to IEC 61753 and IEC 61300-3-34 Attenuation Random Testing Method, Grade C connectors have the following performance characteristics.
Attenuation: 0.25dB-0.50dB, for >97% of samples.
Return Loss: 35dB
According to IEC, Grade B connectors have the following performance characteristics
Attenuation: 0.12dB-0.25dB, for >97% of samples.
Return Loss: 45dB
Grade A connector performance (which is still yet to be officially ratified by IEC) has the following performance characteristics. Average Insertion loss of 0.07dB (randomly mated IEC Standard 61300-3-34)and a Maximum Insertion Loss of 0.15db max, for >97% of samples.
While the return loss using IEC 61300-3-6 Random Mated Method is >55dB (unmated–only angled connectors) and >60dB (mated), this performance level is generally available for LC, A/SC, SC and E2000 interfaces.
How are Grade A Connectors on Optical Fiber Patch Cords Identified?
Grade A fiber optic patch cords are identified with the letter ‘A’ printed on the connector side. The symbol is actually the letter ‘A’ enclosed within a triangle (“A”).
This identification marker is proof that you are using a high quality fiber optic patch cord. Grade A connectivity is also available for Optical fiber through adapters. The same rule applies for A grade fiber optic Adapters which also have the letter “A” clearly marked.
What Does a Fiber Optic Patch Cord Meet the Grade A Criteria?
Firstly a high quality Grade A fiber optic patch cord begins with using high quality zirconia ferrules and high quality optical fiber cable. However, the manufacturing and testing process must be first class.
In order to meet the stringent performance criteria of ‘A’ Grade connectors on patch cords, high quality manufacturing, inspection, testing and Quality Assurance (QA) procedures are required. Without the proper expertise in optical fiber technology, many other manufacturers are unable to meet these requirements.
To consistently achieve ‘A’ Grade performance, high accuracy testing using state of the art test equipment as well as constantly assessing testing methods are all required. Analysing and ensuring mechanical end face limits and that parameters are within range, ensures that Grade A connectivity is achieved.
Grade A connectors offer virtually the same IL performance as a fusion splice, with the added benefit of providing a physical contact which can be connected, disconnected and moved when required.
Conclusion
It is important to fully understand the benefits of using reliable, good quality optic fiber patch cords and connectivity. Good quality connectors with low Insertion Loss will meet large bandwidth and high speed requirements of the latest active optical equipment allowing large streams of data to be transmitted reliably over long distances. Grade A connectors on optical fiber patch cords are an example of the advances in this technology.

Learning Five Ways to Test Fiber Optic Cables

In this technological world filled by fiber optic systems everywhere, one won’t fail to enjoy the benefits brought by fiber optics in daily life. In a whole fiber optic system, the most essential part should be the fiber optic cable. This cable is made up of incredibly thin strands of glass or plastic capped with the same (eg. ST ST fiber cable) or different connector types (LC ST patch cable) on the ends, used as the medium to carry information from one point to another with light-based technology. Just like electricity that can power many types of machines, beams of light can carry many types of information, so fiber optics do great to people in many ways, like broadcasting, transportation, medicine, etc..Along with the heavy use of fiber optic cables, testing the installed cables also gains importance in practical use. Since there are many standards available for testing, some people may get confused. But don’t worry. This text is written with an attempt to clear off this confusion.
Testing Principles
Generally speaking, five ways are listed in various international standards from the EIA/TIA and ISO/IEC to test installed cable plants. First three of them use test sources and power meters to make the measurement, while the last two use an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR). Let’s first see the different results from these methods, and then delve into each one.
The use of source and power meter method, also known as “insertion loss”, simulates the way the actual network uses the cable plant. The test source mimics the transmitter, and the power meter the receiver. But insertion loss testing requires reference cables attached to the source and meter to connect to the cable under test. This insertion loss test can use 1, 2 or 3 reference cables to set the “zero dB loss” reference for testing. Each way of setting the reference gives a different loss. While OTDR is an indirect method, using backscattered light to imply the loss in the cable plant, which can have large deviations from insertion loss tests. OTDRs are more often used to verify splice loss or find damage to cables.
Source/Power Meter Method
In source and power meter method, all the three tests share the same setup (shown below), but the reference power can be set with one, two or three cables as explained next. In general, the 1 reference cable loss method is preferred, but it requires that the test equipment uses the same fiber optic connector types as the cables under test. If the cable (ST ST fiber cable) has different connectors from the test equipment (SC-SC on the tester), it may be necessary to use a 2 or 3 cable reference, which will give a lower loss since connector loss is included in the reference and will be subtracted from the total loss measurement.
Reference per TIA OFSTP-14 (1 Cable Reference)
This method, formerly called method B, uses only one reference cable. The meter, which has a large area detector that measures all the light coming out of the fiber, effectively has no loss, and therefore measures the total light coming out of the launch reference cable. When the cable is tested as below, the measured loss will include the loss of the reference cable connection to the cable plant under test, the loss of the fiber and all the connections and splices in the cable plant and the loss of the connection to the reference cable attached to the meter.
Reference per TIA OFSTP-14 (2 Cable Reference)
This one, formerly called method A, uses two reference cables with one launch cable attached to the source, and the other receive one attached to the meter. (The two cables are mated to set the reference.) Setting the reference this way includes one connection loss (the mating of the two reference cables) in the reference value. When one separates the reference cables and attaches them to the cable under test, the dB loss measured will be less by the connection loss included in the reference setting step. This method gives a loss that’s less than the 1 cable reference.
Reference per TIA OFSTP-14 (3 Cable Reference)
Reference cables are often patch cords with plugs, while the cable under test has jacks on either end. The only way to get a valid reference is to use a short and good cable as a “stand-in” for the cable to be tested to set the reference. To test a cable, replace the reference cable with the cable to test and make a relative measurement. Obviously this method includes two connection losses in setting the reference, so the measured loss will be less by the two connection losses and have greater uncertainty. Finally, here goes the picture showing the testing case with one, two, three reference cables.
OTDR Testing
With only one lunch cable, the OTDR can measure the length of the cable under test and the loss of the connection to the cable under test plus the loss of the fiber in the cable under test, and any other connections or splices in the cable under test. However, this method doesn’t test the connector on the far end of the cable under test, because it isn’t connected to another connector, and connection to a reference connector is necessary to make a connection loss measurement.
If a receive cable is used on the far end of the cable under test, the OTDR can measure the loss of both connectors on the cable under test as well as the fiber in the cable, and any other connections or splices in the cable under test. The placement of the B marker after the connection to the receive cable means some of the fiber in the receive cable will be included in the loss measured.

 

BOON OF USING FIBER OPTIC CABLES OVER COPPER CABLES

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

Everyone knows that approx.. an year ago we use copper cables while using the internet connection of any brand. The service providers come up with copper cable to install the internet connection and provide the required service to them. But at present time, fiber optic cable is in demand. The users are quite happy with its performance as it rarely gets out of connection. On the other hand, it also gives a good speed to the user in comparison to the copper cables. Let’s discuss some other best advantages of fiber optic cable over the copper cables.
Greater BandwidthThe
copper cable has the capacity to handle greater bandwidth as originally it was designed for voice transmission and have a limited bandwidth. So, now it is used as a greater bandwidth device. It carries more data than copper cables at the same diameter. Within the fiber cable group, only single mode fiber can delivers up to twice the multimode fiber. So, users are fine with what they are availing.
Faster SpeedsThe
fiber cables carry light to transmit data. This enables the cable to carry diverse signals at speeds that are slower than the speed of light which is faster than cat5 and cat6 copper cables. Therefore the speed this cable is higher than the copper cable.
Longer Distances
When it comes to long distance, this cable never disappoints as cables generally works on the basis of wavelength, network, distance and it performs well in each of these areas. It carries signals much faster than the traditional foot limitations upto 328ft. It carries data upto 25 miles.
Better ReliabilityBe
it any weather, fiber cable is immune to temperature changes. Weather doesn’t hamper the connectivity of this cable as like other traditional cables. And it does not even carry electric current so user must be stressed free with electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can interrupt data transmission.
Thinner and Sturdier
In comparison to any other cable, this cable is thinner, sturdier and light in weight. It is less prone to damage and breakage.
More Flexibility for the Future
According to the demand and usage, the media converters enable the user to incorporate fiber into existing networks. The converters enhance the Ethernet connection over fiber optic by extending the UTP. Modern panels are designed to meet the current needs and provide the flexibility for future needs. The panels are comprises of variety of cassettes for different types of fiber patch cables.
Low Cost
If the user gets its ownership, then he or she will realize that in initial days the rate of fiber optic cable is a bit expensive, but its reliability, durability and speed makes it worth it. And after some days of use, it automatically becomes affordable as there are a number of packages are given to the user to choose the most affordable one.
Each of these advantages of fiber optic cable makes it best among all other traditional internet connections.

Different Types of Cable Jacketing

In the fiber industry, we have all probably seen the words plenum or riser in our day, as these are two of the most common jacket types in the United States. In Europe we are seeing more Low Smoke Zero Halogen cables being utilized. But there are other options out there in the fiber optic world that are lesser known and talked about, they are the likes of Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH), and Polyethylene (PE).
When looking at the construction of any fiber optic cable, you will notice that the jacket is the first line of defense against physical damage from chemicals, water, burning and other potentially damaging effects that would compromise the viability of the cable. Cable jackets come in multiple colors, but there are industry standard color codes such as aqua for OM3 or yellow for single mode, but in some cases there are custom colored jackets. You will also see foot markers on the outer jacket, showing you length of the cable, and even a print string showing the type of fiber, brand of cable, and type of cable construction. The print string will also contain information as to whether or not the cable is UL listed, and if it is, it will contain the UL number. Most cable jacket material is made from PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride, and there are additives that determine its jacket rating.
Plenum and riser ratings are defined by the National Electrical Code (NEC). They are also responsible for the standards that these cables must abide by in order to be classified as plenum or riser cabling. This standard basically states that if a fire were to start within a structure, how much would these compounds contribute to the fire, and create a “fuel” source – transporting the fire from place to place along the cable.
Most fiber optic cables that adhere to these fire standards are Underwriter Laboratories (UL) tested, meaning that they bear the UL marker on the cable jacket and have been certified to meet the NEC Standard for the cable jacket type. These UL Listings are independently tested, and qualified to ensure that the safety measures are upheld. They (UL) have no monetary stake in the items that they test, and consumers can be assured that this UL listing means that the safety standards are upheld. These listings are given and can be taken away at any point if the quality of the product does not continue to meet that UL standard.
The real question that most technicians ask in the field is where to use what type of jacket. Below we will go into a breakdown of the cable jacket types and where they can be utilized within a building or structure.
Plenum Cable
Plenum has the highest fire rating, meaning that it can be installed in all of the plenum spaces within a building such as the air ducts and ventilation systems – any part of the building that has to do with heating or cooling. Plenum can sometimes be utilized in any space within a building as an alternative to other jacket types. Plenum cables are less hazardous and create less smoke and toxic fumes in the case of fire. If a job requires plenum cable then plenum cable must be installed, there are no alternatives for this type of cable install. Plenum cables for the above reasons are usually slightly more expensive than the other cable jackets.
Riser Cable
Riser cabling is only to be used within riser spaces in a building – such as between building shafts, for vertical runs. It is meant to be a backbone cable, the fire ratings that fit a riser rating are not as strict as plenum. You can utilize a plenum cable within a riser space, but you cannot utilize a riser cable in a plenum space. Such as in the case of a ventilation shaft – you could not install a riser cable because this is a plenum air space, but you can install riser say in an elevator shaft between the floors of a building. Typically, riser cables are less expensive than plenum because the standards are less stringent.
Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) Cable
Low Smoke Zero Halogen cable jacketing or LSZH is a separate classification from riser or plenum cables because it does not contain the same compounds or thermoplastics that produce smoke and other hazardous chemicals that could be harmful to humans and animals that may be in the vicinity of the cable, if it ever should burn. To be considered low smoke zero halogen cable, it must be made of flame retardant materials that do not excrete halogens, and produces little to no smoke when it burns. LSZH is not the same as a plenum cable – they are two different fire ratings. While it may seem beneficial to use LSZH within every space in a building, this type of cable does not fit the bill for every single application. Since this product is far more expensive than other compounds, it does not make sense to install this in areas that do not require a less hazardous, or low smoke material. LSZH is highly recommended for areas that have poor ventilation, where people tend to congregate or in a confined space. LSZH is primarily utilized in Europe currently but, this type of cable is gaining traction within the US markets. .
PE Cable
PE (polyethylene) rated cable is primarily used for outdoor cables only; this is not a cable that can be installed more than fifty feet inside of a building. PE cable jacket’s superior weather, temperature and water or moisture resistance makes this a great pick for harsh weather conditions and installations, but its rigid characteristics make it difficult to utilize in environments that require flexibility or movement of the cable. It also boasts superior UV protection because its black color absorbs the sunlight, which is a typical characteristic for outdoor rated cabling.
While there are more cable ratings and classifications than these shown above, these are the most common types that your average technician will run into on the job more. Familiarity with the cable jacket types is never a bad thing to have in a technician’s pocket. Knowing and being able to define what makes a plenum cable plenum or riser cable riser is superior knowledge that will benefit the technician on future jobs. .

Understanding Signal Transmission in Fiber Optic Cables

The primary function of fiber optic cables is to send signals across long distances. The transmission of these signals takes place in the form of light. This answers for the speed of broadcast and its zero interference with other electronic devices around.
How Does It Actually Work?
Each of the cables constitutes thin strands of glass, which we often hear of as ‘fiber optics.’ These pieces of glass form the core of these cables and facilitate the major task of sending data, assisted by Fiber Optic Patch Cords. But doesn’t light travel in waves, spreading straight from its point of diffraction?
Yes, absolutely. Then how do light bend around corners while running through the length of the fiber optic cable? Let’s try to unravel the science that goes behind it.
How Light Bends Through Fiber Optic Cables?
The Mirror Effect
When you show a flashlight beam across a hallway, you will see the length of the light extending till the next bend but won’t be able to see anything further. But placing a mirror on the corner does the trick. You can now see the light bending further. This is because the mirror reflects the light. That’s exactly how the fiber optic cables basically work.
Internal Reflection
The reflection on which these cables operate is often termed as ‘total internal reflection’. That’s because when you send the light signal, the light remains within the cable and reflects internally. This also ensures the data isn’t lost during the transmission.
But the signals sent through fiber optic cables eventually degrade. That’s because of the decay of the signal either due to the wavelength or the affected purity of the optic glass.
Why So?
The wavelengths that fiber optic cables utilize to send over information are much longer than the light visible to use. We call these invisible ranges of long light ‘infrared’. These infrared waves are when passed through the fiber optic cables weakens the transmission of data either by absorption and scattering.
So, basically, the length of the waves reduces the accentuation of the fiber optic cable. And if we use longer waves with lower frequencies, it would result in heat interference. The temperature of surrounding objects will thus be affected resulting in signal loss.
How To Ensure Maximum Utilization?
Though fiber optic cables do eventually degrade, getting good quality cables and accessories can increase its life significantly. For optimum functioning, consider buying quality cables. The wavelength of a typical good quality fiber optic cable varies from 850 to 1550 nanometers.
The accessories are equally important. The fiber optic patch cords that connect the devices through which the information transmits should also be of best quality. Often the patch cords decay and are assumed as cable decay, resulting in increased cost investment. Therefore, it’s always a great idea to get your electronics supply only from branded and reliable manufacturers. It’s not only important for the longevity of the supplies but is also imperative from the point of view of safety.