critical to the performance of optical communication networks. Cleanliness of fiber optic connections Contamination on a connector end face,
even if only at the microscopic level, can create
fiber optic core diameters are approximately nine microns (a human hair is approximately
Contamination that blocks
the fiber core generates strong back reflections (return loss) and may impact attenuation (insertion loss).
Loose contamination on the connector end-face
may move during de-mating or
the physical glass-to-glass contact required for proper signal transmission.
Rigid contamination trapped between connector end faces may permanently damage the fiber core(s).
Dry contaminates are
relatively simple to remove compared to the oils and films that naturally occur
with human contact, vapor condensation and solvent evaporation. Let’s review
several ways on cleaning your fiber connectors.
Single Fiber Connectors (LC/SC/ST) and Adapters VIDEO
For dry cleaning, use a reel-based cassette cleaner with
medium pressure and wipe the connector end-face against a dry cleaning cloth in
one direction or use a ‘stick cleaner’ with similar effect. For
angled physical contact (APC) polished
connectors, ensure that the entire end-face surface mates with the cleaning
cloth. Dry cleaning will generally remove airborne contamination and should be
attempted first. Make sure you inspect the connector’s end-face for
contamination after cleaning.
Multi-Fiber Array Connectors (MPO) and Adapter VIDEO
There are special
cleaners available that can be used for the pinned and the unpinned (PC and APC
polished) MPO connectors. For APC MPO connectors, ensure that the entire end-face
surface mates with the cleaning cloth. Another method is to use a reel-based
MPO In-bulkhead cleaner specially designed for cleaning both the pinned and the
unpinned (PC and APC polished) MPO connectors.
To prevent scratching the end-face, always clean the MPO connectors
with a cleaning motion from top to bottom perpendicular to the fiber array.
Never clean the MPO connector by rubbing across it from side to side (parallel
to fiber array).
For inspection, cleaning and maintenance, you might want to learn more
about fiber optic infrastructure. The
Infrastructure Academy offers you several fiber optic training courses,
suited to anyone working with optical fiber at any level. Click to learn more. here