The leading cause of network failure is dirty connections. Almost all the time, the dirt is completely invisible to the naked eye.
Failure occurs when dirt gets on a connector ferrule end-face and blocks light. Preventing contamination is the reason all fiber connectors are protected with a dust cap or built-in shutter.
The diagram below shows an LC connector, one of the most widely used and recognized fiber connectors in the world:
When the dust cap is removed the ferrule end face can easily be contaminated by direct contact with skin oil, grease, salt, fingerprints, lint, uncured epoxy, grime or dust.
Even just open air exposure may result in moisture and dust sticking to the end-face. When the dust caps are off your connectors are at risk of contamination.
To get the best connector performance and avoid failure due to dirt – inspect and clean, (if needed), EVERY connector before installation. Never connect an unchecked connector as this may cause dirt to become imbedded in the glass and cleaning may not be possible. Test lead connectors must also be inspected before EVERY connection.
Follow the steps below, and you will achieve the best performance from your single fiber connectors.
- Keep the dustcap on the connector until you are ready to connect. Only remove the dustcap prior to inspection and installation. If you plan to reuse the dustcap, keep it in a closed, clean container.
- Use a fiber inspection probe to inspect the end face of the connector to ensure there is no contamination. Never look at the end of the connector directly or with a simple optical instrument. The connection may be live with invisible high power light which can cause permanent eye damage. AFL offer a wide range of effective and safe connector inspection tools.
When inspecting, if contamination is found, continue to step 3, otherwise you may connect immediately.
- Clean the connector end face with one of the techniques shown below. Never allow cleaning alcohol (IPA) to evaporate from the ferrule as it can leave a residue that causes light to be reflected back into the fiber. Always follow wet cleaning with dry cleaning.
Check the end face of the connector by repeating Step 2. Once satisfied that the connector is free of contamination or defects, immediately install the connector into the adapter or active equipment. Never connect a dirty connector.
Follow this process every time you install or reinstall a fiber connector and eliminate the main reason for network failures. Follow this process every time you install or reinstall a fiber connector and eliminate the main reason for network failures.