Fiber optic cables have revolutionized the way networks operate, but investing in more fiber optic cables is just step number one in a long journey to meet higher bandwidth requirements. To master fiber optic cabling, users must first optimize their management strategies. Here are five ways to improve your fiber patch cable management and improve the performance of your network.
Understand Bend Radius
Unlike copper wires, your fiber optic patch cord is made with glass and plastic. A thin cord (about the width of a strand of hair) of glass transmits LED light and laser signals. Glass fiber optic cables are much more fragile and require greater protection to prevent breakage. An important part of fiber patch cable management is understanding bend radius. Bend radius describes the curvature of the wire. Bend radius will impact the performance and reliability of signal transmittance.
Bending a fiber cable past the point of operability can cause loss of signal strength. Excessive bending makes the optical signal escape through the fiber cladding, known as bend loss. Bending can also cause small cracks that permanently damage the fiber. During installation, it’s possible to overlook bend radius due to the small number of patch cables routed to the optical distribution frames.
However, installing more patch cables on top of bent cables can eventually cause signal issues to appear. You may find a fiber patch cable that’s worked well for years suddenly experience connectivity problems or a shorter service life.
Optimize the Patch Cable Path
An element closely related to bend radius is the path of your fiber patch cables. Light can travel through hundreds of miles of fiber optic cables without issue, even with small bends. This is possible because light refracts off the crystal-clear glass in the cabling. However, a difficult-to-follow and unclearly defined cable path can negatively affect the functionality of your patch cords.
An improper path can increase the probability of bend loss, termination panel congestion, and long-term cable failures. Manage your cable path wisely, making access to individual patch cables simple and safe.
Improve Patch Cable Accessibility
Making individual patch cords difficult to access can make management harder, time-consuming, and costly in the future. Your installed patch cables must be easily accessible to quickly and efficiently make repairs, perform routine maintenance, and reconfigure networks. Otherwise you run the risk of inducing an excessive bend on adjacent fibers and harming your system. Cable accessibility directly impacts the cost of operation and the reliability of your network.
Don’t Ignore Physical Cable Protection
Route your fiber patch cords in a place where technicians and staff members won’t accidentally cause damage. Avoid threading your cords between other pieces of equipment. Never pull or fold your patch cords. Excessive pulling can strain the cables and connectors attached to them, reducing their performance. If you use cable ties to create a neater cord appearance, do not overly tighten them. Squeezing the cords can increase the risk of pinching and signal weakening. If you notice physical damage to your patch cords, such as sharp bends or connector damage, it may be time to order replacements.
Partner with the Right Fiber Optic Cable Provider
Fiber patch cable management is a major factor in the success of your network, but poor cord quality can make all your efforts futile. No amount of management can fix cords that perform badly from the start. The best way to become an excellent fiber cord manager is to work with a leading cable provider.Maximize the operability of your network by partnering with C Enterprises. Our fiber optic patch cords and cables come from a world-class facility and decades of industry experience. We have the custom cabling solutions you need with ultra-fast turnaround.