In this tutorial JT discusses the basic handling techniques and procedures for handling fiber optic assemblies.  Using cables, patch cords, trunks and multi-fiber assemblies.  End face contamination, pinching, breaking, storage, installation methods included.



Hi, I'm Josh Taylor, product manager with CABLExpress. Today, we're going to talk about some of the basic best practices for handling fiber optic assemblies. Let's start off with talking about the basic instruction types.

Here you have a jumper, or a patch cable. It's going to have a connector on each end, and it's going to be 2 fibers. You have a short one like this, 1 meter or 3 feet, and it can also go much longer. Typically, you don't want to go over 10 meters with something like this. When you do, you would move to what we call a trunk, multi-fiber assembly. You can carry a lot of fibers in this one little piece. Whatever your overall construction type, underneath those jackets you're going to have this. This isn't a bare fiber, this says a 250 micron coating on there, but underneath that is the fiber. It's very, very small, and very, very delicate. That's why you have so much jacketing around it. There's kevlar in this, and there's the outside jacket which helps protect it. This actually has a pretty good strength with you pulling on it. Not that you want to try it, but it's when you bend it to excess, eventually they'll snap. A lot of times, especially older fiber, gets very brittle and it snaps very easily.

Don't unpackage until you're going to use them. Store them in an approved area. You don't want them sitting around, laying there on the floor. people could step on them, crush them, or just pick them up and play with them. You don't want that. Leave them in an approved area only. If you don't have an approved area, make one. You can use a cabinet, bins, you want it out of harm's way. Also, if there are instructions, take a read, follow them. They're there for a reason.

When you do open them, only take off these protective end caps when you're about to plug it in. Otherwise, when you do, you have the end face exposed. If you just touch it, you're going to have end face contamination. Be sure to see episode 23 where I go in depth on end face contamination. It's a very serious issue. If it does get contaminated, need to follow a best practice and clean them. Again, see video #23.

Come on with me, we're going to do some installation best practices. The first off is you never want to bend a fiber cable in excess. As you remember, that fiber cable underneath is very delicate that way. A cable hanging like this, if weight, gravity, pull on it, it's going to bend. You certainly don't want to route it tightly around something like this. That can cause a lot of problems. You want everything to be smooth bends. That'll really help you. Also, never use these. It's a fiber's enemy. It's a zip tie. This creates a pinch point on the fiber. If you start to tighten it up, it's very easy, somebody could even tighten it up more or more, pinching your fiber, causing insertion loss, cracking the fiber, that could lead to down time. Nobody wants that.

The best practice is to use Velcro. It comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. This is double-sided, sticks together, you can cut it to different length, it works great, and it doesn't pinch the fiber and it doesn't bend it in excess. Now that you have those basics, you just need to use your common sense. Don't route cable in an area where it could get damaged, it could get trampled, or it could get snagged and pulled. Also, every single fiber is important, so take care when installing it, and keep it out of harm's way. Also, take pride in your work. It helps, and it will make a difference.

Thanks for watching. I hope you learned something. For more information, visit us on