For many users of cabling, the first time they think of restoration is when the network goes down. It has been said that 90 percent of all network problems are cabling related, but many users are woefully ignorant of where to start restoring network operation. Let’s test your restoration savvy. Correct answers and explanations are in red.

1. The most important thing to help find the problem in a restoration is ________.

A. Good documentation on the network

B. Spares

C. Test equipment

D. Knowledgeable installers

Nothing makes troubleshooting easier than having good information on the cable plant having the problem.

2. Records on the cable plant generated during installation should include ________.

A. Where every cable goes (and every fiber for fiber)

B. Location of splices and connections

C. Insertion loss test data

D. All of the above

More information available will make troubleshooting that much easier.

3. In fiber optic networks, a(n) ________ will help determine if the problem is in the cable plant or the networking equipment by testing the transmitter and receiver.

A. Visual fiber tracer

B. Fiber optic power meter

C. Optical loss test set (OLTS)

D. Optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR)

A fiber optic power meter can determine if the transmitter power output or receiver input is within specifications.

4. For copper networks, to determine if the problem is cabling or network related, either a communications protocol analyzer or a cable tester should find the problem.

True

False

The protocol analyzer can determine if the networking equipment is working properly, so the cable plant is the likely problem. A cable tester can confirm whether the problem is with the cable plant itself. So either works.

5. For long-distance fiber optic cabling placed underground, the most likely fault in a cable plant is ________.

A. Failed splices

B. Bad connectors

C. Dig-up of buried cables

D. Earthquake-broken cables

In spite of all the efforts to get contractors to “call before they dig,” dig-ups, also called “backhoe fade” are still the biggest problem for buried cable.

6. For long distance cabling placed aerially, the most likely fault in a cable plant is caused by ________.

A. Target practice

B. Earthquakes

C. High winds

D. Auto accidents

A utility installer informed me their biggest problem was target practice in rural areas, their equivalent of “backhoe fade.”

7. Long fiber optic networks need a(n) ________ to diagnose cable plant faults.

A. Visual fiber tracer

B. Fiber optic power meter

C. OLTS

D. OTDR

For longer fiber optic cable plants that are built from concatenated lengths of cable, only an OTDR will give the information needed for troubleshooting.

8. Coaxial cable can often be tested with a ________, but a ________ will give more useful data.

A. Multimeter, video analyzer

B. Ohmmeter, TDR

C. TDR, video analyzer

D. Toner, Ohmmeter

An ohmmeter will find opens or shorts, but a TDR gives more detailed information.

9. Kinks in ________ cable can cause problems in network transmission.

A. Coax

B. Unshielded twisted-pair

C. Fiber optic

D. All of the above

Kinking any cable will cause transmission problems.

10. The most effective deterrent to network outages from cable plant problems is ________.

A. Documentation

B. Marking cable routes with high-visibility signs

C. Backup transmission equipment

D. Redundant cable routes over separate paths

If a cable plant has a problem, nothing makes for faster restoration than having a redundant cable route to switch over to, and if it runs over a different route, it will be less likely to suffer the same fate.

HAYES is a VDV writer and educator and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.