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So, you went and got the best – a fiber optic internal network – for your business.

That’s great!

You should be congratulated on your vision and desire to have the best for your business.

But…

You’re having some trouble, right?

That’s okay. IT consultants deal with issues causing slowdowns on fiber networks all the time.

It doesn’t mean that your choice of fiber was the wrong one. It just means that there is something that you have to get sorted in order to get the full benefit of your internal fiber-optic network.

Here Are The Most Common Reasons That Fiber Optic Networks Malfunction.

  1. The splice tray or patch panel has a faulty fiber
  2. The installers – or employees – have pulled the cable too hard or kinked it – breaking the fibers inside the cable.
  3. There are too many connectors and splices in the line.
  4. Transmission power is too low.
  5. A connector or splice is faulty.
  6. The distance the cable is running is too far.
  7. A connector has become contaminated. (humidity, scratching, fingerprints, dust)

An important question in the diagnosis process of fiber optic cabling is, “Is the circuit dead, intermittent, or slow?” The answer to this question gives the IT consultant looking at your network a place to begin his/her search for the cause of the problem.

Other useful diagnostic questions asked by IT professionals in this situation are:

  • Have you gotten any new hardware or made significant changes to your hardware? (servers, computers)
  • Have you moved or disconnected and reconnected any of your hardware in the past month?
  • Has anyone accidentally caused stress or damage to a cable by stepping on it, kinking it around a corner, pulling on it, or dropping something heavy on it?
  • Have you done any recent remodeling or renovations?
  • Has any contractor – including telephone and cable providers – done any work at the facility recently?
  • Have you moved any desks, chairs, couches, bookcases, etc. around in the office?

Answers to the above questions will help your network consultant determine the cause of the problems more quickly.

What’s The Next Step In Diagnosing A Fiber Optic Problem In A Business?

The next step is to determine whether or not you have a cable with a broken fiber. Fiber optic cable is made of either glass or a special plastic. If that glass or plastic inside the cable gets broken, the signal is impaired or interrupted altogether.

The IT consultant working on your system will likely use a light source (such as a laser) to determine if the cable is transmitting a light signal from one end of the cable to the other. If the light is not conveyed through the fiber optic cable, it’s time for new cabling.

If the cable does convey the light signal from the light source used by the IT consultant, then it’s time to move on to further diagnostic testing.

If only one computer seems to be affected by the performance problem, it’s prudent to begin at that point and work out from there.

To begin, the IT consultant must make sure that it is the network that is at fault and not the computer itself. This is done simply enough by swapping the present computer for another.

If the computer checks out, then it’s on to looking more closely at the cable and the port that the cable is plugged into.

What Is “Loss Testing”?
Loss testing is a diagnostic test used by IT consultants to find out if you are suffering from signal loss through your fiber optic cable. The test is conducted by using a power meter and a source generator. When the source generator sends a signal through the cable, the power meter measures the signal transmitted and gives the technician a reading on that signal. Keep in mind that every connector, splice, and extra foot of cabling has an impact on the signal loss across the length of the cable. Cable type also factors into the signal loss equation.

What Is A Fiber Optic Microscope?

A fiber optic microscope is a diagnostic tool used by IT consultants. It’s designed to see contamination at the connection points of fiber optic networks. These microscopes range in magnification power from 100X to 400X and come in electronic or optical versions. Even small things like fingerprints, scratches, or dust on the fiber optic connection can impede the light signal across the network and cause problems.

If Fiber Optic Is the Best, Why Do We Have This Problem?

Fiber optic cabling is superior to copper cabling in its ability to provide greater speed and capacity. However, because of the brittle nature of the inside of the cabling, it cannot be put under the same stresses as it’s copper counterpart. Copper can be kinked around corners, rolled up into a ball, run over with an office chair, or stomped on by a gorilla and still carry a signal. Fiber optic cable isn’t robust at all. The one thing you sacrifice with fiber optic cable is the ability of the cabling itself to take a beating.

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