Attenuation is major concern in every fiber optic system. The further a digital signal travels, the more its strength diminishes. Every splice, every connector, and even the fiber itself will contribute a tiny bit more to the overall system loss. Fortunately, for spans that are too long or have losses that are too great, a solution exists in the form of optical amplifiers.
Fiber optic communication systems consist of more than just a physical fiber optic link and troubleshooting must always begin with an examination of the entire network. A technician must look at the big picture to rule out other potential trouble spots before suspecting the fiber or other passive optical components.
A few months ago, we published some information about the pros and cons of sealed versus weather-tight fiber optic splice closures (FOSCs). We recently came across some additional information on labor time when having to splice into each type in an aerial installation.
A high-performance fiber optic network requires low attenuation and low reflectance values to obtain the necessary bit error rate level. Unfortunately, all it takes is one contaminated or damaged connector to slow down or disrupt a transmission system.
Although fiber to the home (FTTH) is now considered mature, the industry is still bringing new evolutions of the technology to the forefront. It is critical that designers, planners, and managers know what these evolutions are and how to migrate from a legacy or next generation fiber to the user (FTTx) network.
The proper installation of cables and patch cords and the routing of optical fibers in splice trays is crucial to meet the performance expectations of today’s high-speed fiber optic systems. However, these proper practices can sometimes be forgotten with the emergence of bend insensitive or bend tolerant fibers.
Most installers and operators focus on optical attenuation and dispersion to handle increasing data rates. However, in single-mode systems, reflectance is just as critical to achieve the desired bit error rate (BER).