As the rate of fiber to the home (FTTH) deployment accelerates broadband installers will need to become familiar with some new requirements. Here are some tips to get you started.
To begin with, make sure to use high-quality fiber cabling as some lower-cost cable has protective tubing that may not provide adequate protection for the delicate fiber strands within.
When installing outside, the fiber cable can be exposed to the elements and needs to be able to withstand UV rays. Also, cheaper cabling is not as strong and may break easily. For outside plant installations (OSP) use high quality enclosures that can also withstand the elements and be aesthetically pleasing.
Be careful to keep the laser light away from eyes. Although the lasers in use are normally safe for the human eye, some more powerful types may be employed so don’t take any chances! As the wavelength of the laser is in the infrared band you cannot see the beam so never look directly into the end of a cable.
Also, watch for scraps of optical fiber, as they are very sharp and can cause major problems if they get in your eyes.
Remember that a speck of dust can be the same size as a fiber cable core. Cleanliness is essential to prevent the polished surfaces at a connection from getting scratched. Keep dust covers on connectors at all times and make sure that splice trays and enclosures are sealed. Clean connectors carefully – use pure isopropyl alcohol on a lint free pad.
Make sure connectors match. According to Cabling Install, there’s several types including the square type stick and click (SC), the rounded stick and twist (ST), and the Lucent connector (LC).
There’s also two types of fiber connection: APC and UPC. APC stands for angled polished connector, and UPC stands for ultra polished connector. The two types are incompatible.
Be careful to match the devices used with the type of fiber cable you are working with. The two main types are single mode and multimode.
Multimode, as its name suggests, has a relatively large core that allows the transmission of multiple modes of light. This leads to internal reflection of light that can cause the signal to degrade over longer distances. For this reason, multimode fiber is usually used over shorter distances.
Single mode fiber is more expensive and requires more powerful equipment. It has a core with a small diameter that only allows one mode of light transmission. This allows the signal to travel long distances of over 100 km at higher speeds, as there’s less light reflecting within the core.
Some types of single mode fiber are able to transmit and receive two different wavelengths of light. Check for compatibility of transmitters and receivers at each end.
Finally, once the fiber is installed and connected testing should be done to check on continuity and polarity. The fiber should be traced from end to end through all connections to make sure the pathway is complete and fibers are connected together correctly.