The Importance of Fibre Hygiene | TMG Test Equipment TMG explores the importance of good fibre optic hygiene practices and shares some new technologies that are changing the game of fibre optics forever.

The Importance of Fibre Hygiene

The Importance of Fibre Hygiene


Since the emergence of fibre optic technology, there has been an increasing focus on creating the best possible fibre optic connection. Advances in design and technologies strive for a perfect core alignment whilst minimising reflection, insertion loss, and risk of damage. 

Cleaning fibre optic connectors isn’t the most glamorous of procedures but is essential for its longevity and makes for much easier maintenance down the road. Failure to adhere to strict fibre hygiene standards can cause major malfunction in a network.

Despite huge leaps in the advancement of fibre optic technology, years of ingenuity can still be undone by a miniscule drop of oil or spec of dirt. In this blog, we go through the techniques of fibre optic hygiene and share some recent additions to the TMG stock list to help keep your fibre optics lean, dirt-free, and running at full capacity.

Where To Start

Connector contamination is the most common cause of network failure, with the regular culprits being dirt, dust, oil and other residues – all of which can cause a variety of problems for fibre optic connections. 

First, before you whip out the cleaning products – the first thing you need to do is inspect your connection. This can be done in the matter of seconds following the Viavi “Inspect Before You Connect” (IBYC) process using a microscope (ideally video) to see what exactly you’re working with. Inspections can be carried out proactively or reactively. Proactive checks are done before making the connection and are the preferred method, while a reactive check is done after the problem has been discovered. Be sure to inspect BOTH sides of your connections as well!

Best Method to Clean

The best way to clean your fibre optic connections is a combination of wet to dry cleaning.  This method uses a small amount of solvent in the process and ultimately leaves the connector surface dry.

The combination cleaning method can be used with wipes, swabs, and fibre cleaning tools. Whatever your preferred tool, make sure it is made slightly damp with a cleaning solvent.  Be sure to use a small amount of the appropriate cleaning solvent on your cleaning tool, and then apply it to the connector.

This process allows for the solvent to dissipate the static charge and dissolve contaminants while your fibre cleaning tool physically removes the contaminants from the surface. The tool then dries any remaining solvent from the surface so that remaining solvent cannot be used as a carrier for cross-contamination of surfaces. 

Always remember to re-inspect after cleaning. Many contaminants can be difficult to remove and might require multiple cleans. Once you inspect a surface that is completely free of any contaminants, the fibre optic connection can be made. 

Need to Know More?

Following this simple procedure will significantly reduce network disruption and save time, effort, and money in the long run – especially if you are inspecting proactively. 

As with any technology, being proactive with the proper maintenance and cleaning of your fibre optics will allow for many years of reliable use to come. If you have any further queries about the proper methods of cleaning your fibre optics, TMG will always be here to answer any burning questions. 

TMG has been providing Australia’s data and telecommunications industries with cutting edge network test equipment for over 40 years. To speak to one of our friendly, experienced team members today, head to the contact section of our website.

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