Autumn 2019 - Optical Connections Magazine


RESOURCES CHALLENGE Even with the use of mass fusion splicers to fuse bundles of 12 ribbonised fibres simultaneously, it can take a fibre installation technician 3-4 days to inspect, clean and install a 6,912-fibre cable. Therefore, it is important for companies to carefully plan in advance the correct amount of time, equipment and personnel needed to complete an installation project. In addition to budgeting extra time, an installer also may require additional tools and helpers to work more efficiently. It may be necessary to invest in extra splicing trays, more testing or inspection equipment and another technician to help complete the installation in a timely manner. Companies should also plan ahead to ensure they have the correct type and sufficient quantity of splice and end face cleaning products needed to complete the install. Cleaning kits are an excellent way to ensure they have all the necessary high-purity cleaning fluids, optical-grade wipes, lint-free cleaning sticks and push-to-click tools to complete the required end face cleaning. They should keep the kits well- stocked and handy at the installation site to speed the process and avoid downtime. New and improved splicing and cleaning tools to boost efficiency are being developed now and it is predicted they will be introduced over the coming months. Whether the tools are brand new or are retrofits for existing equipment, one thing is for certain, they need to be rugged and simple to use. The tools need to be tough enough to stand up to the sheer volume of usage and easy enough to deliver consistent, repeatable and reliable results every time. CONCLUSION The ever-increasing demand for more bandwidth and faster connectivity has spurred the rise of large-scale and hyperscale data centres. New ultra- high-fibre-count cables help support the delivery, the speed and reliability that data end-users require. However, these ultra-high-fibre- count cables are complex and time- consuming to splice, clean and install, posing a resource challenge to fibre optic technicians and the companies they work for. But with the proper planning and preparation, companies can streamline their installation operations. Fortunately, better tools and innovative methods are on the way. These tools will enable fibre optic technicians to work even more quickly, yet carefully to optimise their time and cost-effectiveness. Jay Tourigny is Senior Vice President at MicroCare Corp., which offers Sticklers brand fibre cleaning solutions. He has been in the industry more than 30 years and holds a BS from The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

and lens-array ferrules for parallel optic and silicon photonics applications. All have their advantages and all bring their own cleaning challenges. CS SINGLE-FIBRE AND DUPLEX CONNECTORS These connectors utilise the standard 1.25-mm LC form factor ferrule, but with tighter spacing between the ferrules. With the CS design, pitch is reduced to 3.8 mm from the LC standard of 6.25 mm. The result is a theoretical capacity increase of 80%. The clearances on CS adapters are very tight which makes it difficult for cleaning tools to get inside the ferrule. High quality, non-linting fibre cleaning sticks with a high-purity fibre cleaning fluid or a mini push-to-clean tool typically work best for cleaning. MULTI-FIBRE CONNECTORS Some cable manufacturers are migrating from the traditional 12-fibre arrays to a 16-fibre array using the same 2.5-mm x 6.4-mm standard MT ferrule footprint. These connectors are most often used on optical backplanes, where the data jumps from the fibre transport into the switch for routing. Not only are these connectors denser, they are 80% glass to improve thermal expansion control. These connectors may retain more static than other connectors, so the use of an optical-grade, static-dissipating cleaning fluid is important to remove it. LENS ARRAY CONNECTORS The lens array connectors basically are expanded beam lenses on a microscopic scale. These designs collimate the optical signal and eliminate the need for physical contact. They use a very small, tightly focused “spot size” beam to pass the signal into the receiving lens. This minimises problems associated with scratching and contamination between the lenses. However, these connectors are made from moulded plastics that can attract dust into the central signal

“spot-zone” and can be difficult to clean with anything other than a can of optical- grade duster. PLANNING FOR HIGH-FIBRE COUNT INSTALLATION SUCCESS Although the new ultra-high-fibre count cables and connectors make data access for end users fast and reliable, there are some unique challenges when it comes to installation. However, with some thoughtful planning and thorough preparation companies can be better prepared to meet and overcome them. STAFFING CHALLENGES To provide a faultless multi-gigabyte service that the UHFC cables promise, the fibre used in the networks must be properly installed and perfectly cleaned to support successful connectivity. However, finding qualified fibre optic technicians in the field today have more experience with copper cable, but lack the knowledge for fibre optics. This is especially true in more rural areas where fibre optics networks are not as prevalent. Currently some contractors are flying fibre installation teams in from metro areas to complete the fibre work on their data centres. There is real concern within the industry that the combination of extensive travel along with the intensity and amount of work required may actually cause burnout on some of the installation teams. The fibre optics industry groups are mobilising to help recruit and train new talent. Fibre optics companies are also looking into various and sophisticated ways to train their existing employees. Some are tapping into online fibre installation training seminars while others are considering AR (Augmented Reality) to create visual guides to walk installers through the processes step-by-step, via AR goggles. splicing, cleaning and installation technicians can be difficult. Many

FK20 Field Inspection Kit


ISSUE 18 | Q3 2019

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