Because fiber optics use light instead of electricity, there are several new problems that technicians need to take into consideration. One of the top is connector cleanliness. Dirt and debris within a connector can cause the scattering of the transmitted light which increases attenuation. What's more, particulates can cause permanent damage to the connector face by creating pits in the glass. The result is intermittent connections and network downtime. Fortunately, L-com carries many convenient solutions to aid in fiber connector cleanliness:
Other Fiber Optic Cleaning Products
If you are working with fiber cables, it is a good idea to stock up on a few of these items:
Fiber Core Sizes
When you use fiber optic products, it is important to know the core size diameter that you are working with. See a helpful video here. Multimode fiber cables include 62.5/125 (OM1), which is the most commonly installed but has limited support of modern Gig speed networks, and 50/125 (OM2, OM3, OM4), which is not backwards compatible with 62.5/125 but can accommodate 1G and 10G networks. L-com can help with selecting the cables you need and custom manufacturing cables to suit your application.
Another confusing point about fiber optics is the connectors available. There are a few options:
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These are useful for high density patching and are becoming more popular. LC connectors can come simplex, like in this picture, or they can be clipped together either with a plastic clip or a "uniboot" to simplify patching.
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These connectors are rugged and provide a reliable connection especially where vibration might be an issue. The round connector “locks down” to create a tight fit.
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These connectors are common on network switches, especially those that are a few years old. LC connectors are gaining in popularity now as they are similar to SC connectors but smaller. SC connectors can be clipped together similar to LCs.
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Other Common Fiber Connectors
If you’re working with fiber optics and need help identifying connectors, L-com has great resources for you! Check out our connector chart, a helpful fiber tutorial and even a video tip! Remember: L-com custom manufactures most fiber optic cables not available online.
Fiber Connector Polish Types
A last concern of fiber products that doesn’t occur with electrical connectors is the polish type. Most fiber connectors can have PC, UPC, or APC polish types. In general, UPC will have less back reflection than PC, and APC will have less back reflection than UPC. APC polish, because it is angled, requires special adapters when mating cables to align the connectors together correctly. L-com can custom manufacture cables in any of these polish types.