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Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning – Why is it so important?

Reliable optical networks require clean connectors. Any time one connector is mated to another, both connectors should be properly cleaned and inspected. Dirty connectors are the biggest cause of increased back-reflection and insertion loss in connectors, including angled polish connectors.

A dirty ultra polish connector with a normal return loss of >55dB can easily have >45dB reflectance if it is not cleaned properly. Similar comparisons can be made with angled polish connectors. This can greatly affect system performance, especially in CATV applications where carrier-to-noise ratios (CNR) are directly related to signal quality.

In order to ensure that both connectors are properly cleaned, the termination panel must allow them both to be easily accessed. This easy access has to be for both the patch cord connector and the equipment or OSP connector on the back side of the termination panel. Accessing these connectors should not cause any significant loss in adjacent fibers.

A system that allows uncomplicated access to these connectors has much lower operating costs and improved reliability. Without easy access to connectors, technicians will take more time to perform their work, delaying implementation of new services or redeployment of existing services.

Dirty connectors can also jeopardize the long-term reliability of the network, because dirt and debris can be embedded into the endface of the connector, causing permanent, performance-affecting damage.

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