Fiber optics need to perform reliably. So, you must ensure that your fibre optics stay neat and well-kept. The fundamental cause of optical network failures is contamination issues. Fiber has to be handled with extreme care to prevent potential damage.
Fiber optic inspection enables network personnel to safely inspect fiber’s ends for contamination and verify the effectiveness of fiber cleaning procedures. In fiber optic communication, dust, dirt, oil and anything else on a connector end-face can seriously impact network performance.
Although fiber systems are built with the intent to be installed and left alone unless damaged, issues can arise. Beyond necessary cleaning, performing constant maintenance checks can be detrimental. An accidental drop or excessive bending can cause significant damage to many of the fragile components of fiber optic systems. It’s also easy to introduce new contaminants such as dust and dirt into the adaptors and connectors when exposed to the air.
At COMsolve, we recommend visual inspection and technical testing to ensure a healthy fiber optic system.
To start the visual inspection process, our technicians walk around and inspect the installation, checking the cable route, its start and termination point, pathways, and all equipment rooms when visible. We also ensure that the design, specifications, and relevant safety codes are up to status. We will correct any problems that may be prevalent during the visual inspection process.
Once visual verification is complete, it is time to test that the network performs correctly. The equipment used by our technicians depends on the type of network. The critical parameter to measure for a fiber network is optical loss, often called dB loss or attenuation. A high optical return loss can cause the laser within the system to stop transmitting correctly. It is also a good practice to test the loss readings for individual components, such as connectors, cables, and splices, using an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR). Testing using an OTDR not only helps identify potential faults that may have been missed with an Optical Loss Test Set (OLTS), something that measures end-to-end readings. But, it can pinpoint issues with specific components, allowing easier identification of where failures occur.
Fiber optic inspection is instrumental in fiber optic termination and optical communication. A good fiber inspection cannot be conducted remotely, even if you are a fiber installer or a network operator. Most experts will recommend that it is good practice to inspect all fiber regularly.