Contamination is the number-one enemy of fiber-optic connectors. Dirty endfaces can be costly, slowing data speeds and in worst cases, bringing fiber networks down. This fact is well-known; however, many installers do not proactively implement “Inspect Before You Connect” (IBYC) procedures.

Contamination can present in two ways, the first being residue-based. This can include fingerprint oils, moisture, the use of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and even out-gassed plasticizers from protective dust caps. If not cleaned correctly, this can change the index of refraction. If the index of refraction within the fiber changes, it will strip some of the wavelength off and weaken the signal. In the worst cases, it can change the refractive angle enough that the signal is lost completely. Read more.

This article was authored by Tyler Vander Ploeg from VIAVI Solutions and Brian Teague of Sticklers. It appeared in the August 2018 issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.