The optical loss of a fiber optic cable plant is the most common measurement installers make. Also called insertion loss, it is measured by using a test source, a power meter, reference test cables and connector-mating adapters.
I’m often asked technical questions about copper and fiber optic cabling. The majority are about problems troubleshooting cabling systems or networks. Some have simple answers but not all. Here are some questions we’ve been asked; see if you can answer them. Answers and explanations are in red. 1.
For electricians, voltage is the primary thing measured. In fact every electrical measurement is based on voltage, based on the relationship V = IR. In fiber optics, the most basic measurement is the optical power of the light at the end of a fiber.
There must be a gazillion ways to install premises cabling, depending on the design of the building and location of users. Let’s look at some of the guidelines included in TIA 568 or ISO/IEC 11801 standards. Answers and explanations are in red. 1.
Many of the problems encountered in troubleshooting fiber optic networks are related to making proper connections. Since the light used in fiber optic systems is infrared (IR) light, which is beyond the range of the human eye, one cannot see it.
The cost of installation for most fiber optic cable exceeds the cost of the cable itself, so ensuring the cable is good before installation is important. The first test the installer must do with a spool of cable is visually inspect it.
Most contractors assume it is necessary to field-terminate fiber optic cabling systems as part of every installation, but they are all looking for alternatives. The first alternative most people consider is to use prepolished/splice connectors, which use a mechanical splice to terminate the fiber.
Proper tools and test equipment are essential for the fiber optic installer. In my recent series on fiber optic installation, I discussed which tools and test equipment you need, so let’s see what you learned. Correct answers and explanations are in red.
Premises cabling to support phones and PC networks hasn’t really changed much since it was first standardized by TIA-568 around 1990; It has just become faster, and Ethernet local-area networks (LANs) are now a thousand times faster.
Each year, before I write about events of the previous year and possibilities for the year just begun, I review my old columns to see what has changed. As I read last year’s column, I found myself nodding, yep, that’s about the same this year and that and that, too.
Much of the fiber used in premises applications for computer networks and closed-circuit security cameras is multimode fiber. Multimode fiber has special application and installation quirks you need to know to install and use it separately. How familiar are you with multimode?
Installed cables often need to be joined together to complete a cable plant route; the route may be too long to pull or to place a continuous length of cable, since cable can only be manufactured in lengths of around 5 kilometers (km).
The problem when dealing with technology is that it is always changing. Planned obsolescence sometimes means change for change’s sake (such as bigger tailfins on cars in the 1950s). In our businesses, however, it often means the new technology offers new application opportunities.
Industrial automation systems have become big users of fiber optics and copper cabling. Industrial applications of premises cabling usually have more stringent needs than commercial applications. How well do you understand industrial cabling? Answers and explanations are in red.