Winter is coming, and for some of us, it’s already here! For
workers in an outside plant environment, the change in seasons means a change
in reasons why connectivity outages occur. There is not much that can be done
about fending off strong winds from violent storms that cause aerial plants to
become damaged; however, there is a lot that can be done to prevent ice
formation that causes outages in a fiber optic splice closure.
If you own a boat or pool in regions where winter freezes
occur, then you know that proper winterization will save you expensive repairs
from ice damage and get you back in the water sooner come late spring.
Frozen water can create pressures upwards of around 30,000
PSI. Most fiber cables begin to crush at a pressure of around 6380 PSI. Ice can
create almost five times the pressure needed to crush the cable.
What is the cost of a fiber outage in your network? In many
cases with the data being pushed through fibers, it would be considerably more
than a maintenance program to inspect, repair or replace closures that might allow
water in that could then freeze come winter.
CLICK TO TWEET: When it comes to fiber closures, ice isn't your friend. CommScope's Chris Gemme explains how to protect the outside plant.
Some closures will have a valve for flash testing the
closure. I would recommend pressurizing the closure to no more than 5 PSI, then
simply using a spray bottle containing a mixture of soapy water, apply it to
locations that seal the closure. A leak is detected when bubbles form. When
finished testing, release the air pressure from the flash valve. This video shows
the FOSC 450 Closure Sealing
and Testing the Seal.
For closures without flash test valves, it is necessary to
place the closure into a bucket of water to check for air bubbles escaping.
This testing obviously should only be done when the weather is warm enough not to
If you have a closure that is damaged or not sealing
properly, no matter the brand, then CommScope offers a FOSC
450 Rehabilitation Kit. It enables you to
simply remove the old closure without undoing any of the splice trays and move
them into a FOSC 450 D closure. This is a unique benefit of the FOSC 450 as it
relies on a split gel block to seal the cable entry.
Comments from the technicians that have used FOSC 450
- “Like the concept and will save a lot time
instead of having to cut out every bad enclosure.”
- “Love that there was no scheduled maintenance
- “Easy to do.”
- “Gives us ability to do any closure in
our network, regardless of manufacturer.”
It’s always best to prepare now for winter, even if you see
the snow coming down already. What else are you experiencing in the field?