Connector Inspection and Cleaning
Lee Kellett, AFL
Why Do We Care?
•Connector contamination and damage is the leading
root cause of fiber optic network failures.
•Network failures cause downtime and truck rolls.
•Lower loss budget requirements make cleaning
even more important than before.
•Inspecting and cleaning before connecting saves
troubleshooting costs, downtime and improves
• Dust and dirt can literally block the light
• Dirt and oils can cause light to refract and be lost at the connection
• Particles can prevent proper mating of connectors
• Dirt can damage connector end face when mating and cause
permanent damage – cleaning will no longer help
Clean connectors matter!
Dirty connectors = high insertion loss and high reflectance Clean connectors = low insertion loss and low reflectance
Take a newly cleaned and installed connector...
Why Inspect, Clean, Inspect?
• Inspect first to determine need for cleaning
• Dry cleaning is quite effective, but is not perfect – so inspect after clean
• Many customers now require proof of inspection to certify installations
• Inspecting first verifies pre-connectorized products have been supplied in
• Saves time and money in the long run
What Equipment Do I Need?
• A good inspection scope
• Auto pass/fail analysis is best; Manual/view only is better than nothing
• stand alone or connected to your other test equipment
• Cleaning supplies
• Dry is ok but having a wet solution available is preferred
• Make sure they are designed for fiber – tissues don’t work!
WHAT WE HEAR...
• I have not had issues – a quick rub
on my shirt works
• I cleaned – no need to inspect or I
just unpacked new jumpers
• It takes too much time – not
• YIKES! High speed networks of
today are not forgiving
• If there are issues – how will you
prove it was not you? How do you
know cleaning worked?
• How much does it cost to replace
connectors? Or deploy someone
to troubleshoot later?
It’s Not Just Us!
• There are IEC standards that define pass/fail criteria
• Cisco has a 20+ page document detailing cleaning and inspection
procedures for fiber connectors
• AT&T has their own pass/fail criteria and a 112 page document on
inspecting and cleaning
• All of us on this panel, and many more at this conference agree - this is a
fundamental requirement for today’s networks.
Best Practices - Summary
• Inspect, Clean and Inspect every connector
• Assures optimum performance
• Prevents damage
• Saves time and money in the big picture – less downtime, fewer truck rolls,
less damage and replacement
• Assures performance needs will be met
• Provides a better product to your customers