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July, 2020 Continued from page 55


the end face during installation. Therefore, installers should always clean and test all fiber connector end faces, even the brand-new ones, to remove any contamination that could impact network performance and reliability. International IEC standard


61300-3-35 is the measure for the cleaning and inspection of fiber optic connectors. One of the best ways to meet the IEC standard is to use cleaning tools, fluids and methods engineered specifically for fiber optic cleaning applications. Better clean- ing tools and procedures allow net- work installers to clean quickly and thoroughly, saving time and money on both the initial 5G fiber network installation and any subsequent net- work repairs or maintenance.


“Inspect, Clean, Inspect” Fiber optic contamination is on


the level of microns so it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Network installers must use an inspection microscope during fiber network installation or maintenance to ensure both ends of the connector pair are clean and trouble-free. “Inspect, clean, inspect” is the three-step process installers should use to visually find and remove any contamination. First, inspect the end faces prior


to cleaning to identify the type and amount of contamination. It might just be one particulate, or it could be a combination of dust, oil, and salts on the end faces. By understanding the contamination, it helps installers to determine which cleaning tech- niques and tools are appropriate to remove it. For example, optical grade wipes are good for wiping fiber end splices and for lighter cleaning of widely spaced male-end LC connec- tors. Mechanical “clicker” tools and or specially engineered fiber cleaning sticks are preferred when cleaning very dirty connectors and for getting into tight-pitched CS adapters. Second, clean the fiber end faces


to remove any contaminants that might block signal or otherwise dam- age them. In some instances, such as with heavily soiled end faces, wet/dry cleaning using a cleaning fluid is rec- ommended. The fluid helps to remove contaminants, dissipate static and eliminate the triboelectric charges that attract dust particles and cause them to stick to a connector end face. Water and IPA (isopropyl alcohol) are common fluid choices, though they are hard to buy in high-purity packaging and difficult to keep clean and decon- taminated during day-today use. Plus, since the COVID-19 virus outbreak, alcohol is in very short supply and is three or four times more expensive than it was. A better option is to use a special-


ly engineered optical-grade cleaning fluid to clean the fiber optic connec- tors. The optical-grade fluid offers very consistent cleaning performance, is static-dissipative to repel dust and is sold in hermetically sealed packag- ing to prevent spills and maintain high purity of the fluid contents. Also, it is very quick to dry. This is especial- ly important for cleaning 5G fiber, since it speeds cleaning time and keeps ambient moisture from being attracted to the fluid, minimizing potential contamination. In addition, optical grade clean-


ing fluids are nonflammable and non- hazardous, making them safe to store,


www.us- tech.com Clean Fiber Optic Networks...


and easy to transport either by air or inside service vehicles. This is an important benefit, especially if an installer flies or drives to remote 5G installation sites and must bring their cleaning tools and fluids with them. Finally, after cleaning, re-


inspect the end faces to confirm that the contaminant is gone, and the end faces meet the IEC 61300-3-35 clean- liness


standard. Re-inspection


should always be done before cables are put into service. Clean connec- tors ensure that all data is transmit- ted at optimal 5G speed. Without the final re-inspection, there is a risk of leaving contaminants on the end- faces. This not only degrades the sys- tem’s 5G performance, but could also


result in time-consuming rollbacks, additional network troubleshooting and costly rework and repair. Taking extra care to inspect,


clean and inspect fiber connections before mating ensures the reliability and longevity of the 5G network. The cleaning procedures themselves are straightforward. If installers take the extra few minutes and do not rush the process, the connections maintain their integrity over the life of the 5G fiber optic system.


Finding a 5G Network Cleaning Partner


Reliable, trouble-free fiber optic


Contaminated end face of a fiber optic cable.


networks are the key to the 5G inter- connected manufacturing future. 5G will ultimately provide the comput- ing power and network speed for manufacturers to upgrade their tech-


Continued on page 60


Page 57


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