Inspection and cleaning of all connector and optical fiber types
One of the biggest causes of faults in modern optical networks is contaminated fibers and/or connectors, and is likely to only become more of an issue as the capacity of datalinks continues to increase.
This technical advisory has therefore been produced to amalgamate useful information relating to the maintenance of optical connectors and fibers used with EXFO products, to help enable users and operators to properly care for their instruments, as well as ensuring they get the best results possible.
Before starting any inspection and cleaning procedures, you should ensure that you have the right tools and accessories, and that you know how to use them correctly.
Make sure you have the correct Fiber Inspection Probe/s (FIP) and accessories for the connectors and/or fiber types you will be testing.
Information on technical specifications for inspection probes is given in EXFO Application Note 297.
Optical sources often emit infrared radiation that is not visible to the human eye and so always ensure that any optical fibers and connectors being inspected and cleaned are not connected to an active source first; this may require liaison with personnel responsible for operating transmission apparatus to ensure appropriate ports have been deactivated, as well as confirming this with the use of an Optical Power Meter (OPM).
General inspection and cleaning instructions are provided by the first few sections of EXFO Application Note 058.
Various accessories and qualified cleaning consumables (such as the GP-144/145 cleaning swaps and GP-2157 cleaning set) can be purchased from EXFO if required; see KB0010487 for further information.
Cleaning Optical Bulkhead Connectors
Instruments will possess one or more bulkhead connector to which different EUIs can be attached. The center of the bulkhead consists of a Ø2.5mm ferrule connected to internal fiber which can be inspected, and you should be especially careful not to damage this.
See Cleaning Bulkhead Connectors in EXFO Application Note 058.
See Cleaning EXFO Universal Interface Connectors below for information on removing and refitting EUIs.
Cleaning EXFO Universal Interface Connectors
Different EXFO Universal Interface (EUI) connectors are attached to optical bulkheads to allow mating of a variety of different optical fiber connector types, including those with a Ø1.25mm ferrule.
|EUI-28 (DIN 47256)
See Cleaning EUI Connectors in EXFO Application Note 058.
When fitting EUI connectors:
- First ensure that the dustcap is closed.
- Squarely insert the EUI into the bulkhead baseplate, ensuring that the additional positioning notch is correctly aligned and being careful not to damage the protruding Ø2.5mm fiber ferrule.
- After gently ensuring the EUI is pressed flush with the bulkhead baseplate, turn the EUI a quarter turn clockwise to lock it.
When removing EUI connectors:
- First ensure that any attached test leads are removed and that the dustcap is closed.
- Turn the EUI a quarter turn counterclockwise to unlock it.
- Squarely remove the EUI from the bulkhead baseplate, being careful to avoid damaging the protruding Ø2.5mm fiber ferrule.
Cleaning and Verification of Optical Click/Swap-Out or Modular Connectors
Several instruments now feature click- or swap-out optical connectors, otherwise referred to as modular connectors, and these require some additional precautions and understanding on the part of the operator, to be able to work with them safely and effectively.
To learn more about modular optical connectors and verifying their correct operation, consult KB0011320.
Cleaning Fiber-Optic Adapters
Different Fiber-Optic Adapters (FOA) can be fitted to optical detector ports to allow connection of a variety of different optical fiber connector types.
See Cleaning Fiber-Optic Adapters in EXFO Application Note 058.
Cleaning Optical Detector Ports
Optical detectors are extremely sensitive ports for sensing incident electromagnetic radiation, and care is needed when cleaning to ensure that the detector window is not damaged or contaminated.
See Cleaning Detector Ports in EXFO Application Note 058.
Cleaning Optical Fiber Connectors
Optical fibers, including test jumpers and patch or reference cords, should be inspected and cleaned along with connectors.
For information on the inspection of optical fibers, see The Inspection Phase in EXFO Application Note 191.
For information on the cleaning of optical fibers, The Cleaning Phase in see EXFO Application Note 191.
Cleaning Optical Multifiber Connectors
Multichannel assemblies using Multifiber Push-On (MPO) connectors require special instruments to properly inspect, and a dirty MPO connector has the potential to affect multiple fibers.
For more information on MPO connectors and testing, see how to test MPO connectors.