Fiber optic cables are becoming more and more important in our daily lives. They are used to transmit large amounts of information in a short period, and we strongly rely on them to maintain a reliable network connection. However, many things could potentially slow down the transmission of data, such as contaminated connectors and congested networks. As such, preventative maintenance is recommended to ensure that a system is running smoothly. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and inspections of the network all have long-term effects on the network’s performance and reliability. 

 

Here’s why it’s important to perform regular fiber cleaning and maintenance:

 

Guaranteeing Your Network to Run at Its Best

Fiber deployment technologies, such as Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM) and iterations of it, namely dense WDM (DWDM) and coarse WDM (CWDM), allow telecommunications companies to expand their network capacity without having to increase the number of cable installations. These technologies help to make our networks as powerful as they are today. However, they also have their challenges, such as heat dissipation from high-powered lasers, or back reflection due to material mismatches and contamination. By regularly performing fiber maintenance, such as cleaning your splices and connectors properly, your network will be able to run at its best performance.

 

Preventing Contamination-Related Issues

As many fiber contractors have known, contamination is the number-one cause of optical network issues. Despite industry best practices of fiber cleaning and maintenance, contaminated connections remain the number one cause of fiber-related issues and test failures. The cable network in the outdoor environment is subject to a variety of environmental challenges, including extreme weather, vehicle damage, and more. Similarly, accidentally touching a fiber end-face and dirty environments are well-known causes of contamination. Regular fiber cleaning, inspection, and maintenance will help to eliminate these issues and prevent any disruption to the service.

 

Fiber maintenance and cleaning are not just important; it is critical to the long-term reliability of any network. In fact, it sits at the heart of successful fiber deployment.

 

Preparing for Sudden Changes 

The Internet is crucial for us to weather unexpected events. We need it for communication, news, provisioning, entertainment, work, health, education, and other activities. A recent study from the Fiber Broadband Association shows dramatic shifts in the use of advanced applications that require both strong upload and download capacity. For instance, there is a significant rise in the use of video conferencing, online gaming, and video streaming – all of which require high levels of reliable bandwidth. Another article noted that in the first quarter of 2020 alone, bandwidth usage increased by 47%, with the average broadband subscriber consuming an average of 402.5GB of data per month.

 

This is where fiber maintenance comes into play. The continuous monitoring and maintenance of fiber infrastructure help companies ensure their fiber network’s high performance and reliability, despite any dramatic increase in demand or other sudden circumstances. In order to continuously provide reliable service, network operators must actively monitor the integrity of the optical fiber infrastructure.

 

Maintaining Data Centers Performance

We’re facing a future where 5G, Virtual and Augmented Reality, AI, and IoT are transforming technology and cabling infrastructure. These technologies are quickly taking data volume and data rates to levels we’ve never seen before. In order to keep up with bandwidth demands, today’s data centers need to be fast, dense, and scalable, as well as cost-and-energy efficient. Increasingly, fiber has become the go-to option for data center architecture due to its numerous benefits, including greater bandwidth, smaller size and weight, and error-free transmission over longer distances.

 

As more data center fiber is deployed to meet demands, effective fiber maintenance and management become vital to ensure data center uptime and efficient operations. A routine fiber inspection and maintenance will protect the cables from external interference – such as bent or crushed cables, thus preventing any performance issues during day-to-day operations. High-density solutions that can provide scalability (i.e. the ability to support more fiber connections in the future) are also critical to maintaining data center reliability and operations.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, fiber cleaning and maintenance are essential for today’s fiber networks. Properly cleaned end-faces will  Consequently, it is equally important to wisely choose your Fiber Inspection & Cleaning tools and methods. VIAVI Solutions’ award-winning FiberChek family delivers the industry’s best solutions to ensure that “Inspect Before You Connect” is easy and reliable for every fiber test.

Learn more about fiber inspection and fiber testing on our website.

About The Author

Channel Marketing Manager - APAC

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