Today we’re gonna go more in depth on episode #4, which is about end face contamination.

End Face Contamination

We’re going to check out the impacts of end face contamination and how to minimize your potential risks. Contamination can have a huge impact on a fiber optic cable. Even if you buy the most high-end expensive cable, if it gets contaminated it can ruin its performance. Greater than 50 percent of network outages are due to contamination. That’s downtime, and nobody wants that. Don’t assume that just because you have a factory sealed cable that it’s free from contamination. Condensation can form underneath the dust caps during transport. Contamination can happen any time the cable is not plugged in.

Here’s what a clean end face looks like under a microscope. Dust particles, food particles, lint, and skin oil are just waiting to jump on your end face connectors, and here’s what it looks like. Contamination increases insertion loss and back reflection and that’s bad, and as you can see this one doesn’t pass inspection. But as easily as it can happen is as easily as you can clean it with modern day tools, and once again we’re gonna re-inspect this and look we have a fairly clean connector which should pass our test. And be careful. Contamination can spread.

When you mate two fiber end faces, if there’s contamination on one, it’s gonna be on both of them. But once they’re clean and they’re mated leave them. This mated pair is at 45,000 PSI, no contamination is going to get in there. Don’t forget about your bulk head adaptors, maybe a module, maybe a transceiver. But most of the modern day equipment will have the capability to inspect these. Make sure they’re clean when they mate together.