I have worked with fiber connections between Cisco routers and switches for over ten years now. I knew that I didn’t know a lot about dealing with fiber but I thought I was doing ok. Recently, due to a project I was working on to, I got some much needed exposure to optical transport networks. For those that haven’t heard about this type of fiber work, think of it as fiber networking on steroids. Instead of working with mostly 1GB fiber connections using multimode fiber in a campus environment, I have started to dealing with 10GB and 40GB connections on single mode fiber on networks covering a multi state area.
It was during this time that I also learned that I wasn’t taking the right steps in handling fiber or the resulting connections. Although what I have learned is most important when dealing with connection speed of 10GB and higher, it is good to have best practices to follow for all fiber connections regardless of the speed of the connection. This should serve you well as you change employment along your career path, move to another position within the firm you are at or have the chance to work with new technology because you have a good command of basic steps that should be followed when working with fiber.
In starting this series, I will cover the various tools that I have learned about and am using. I had the good fortune of working with and learning from different installation techs/engineers from some of the leading fiber optic transport vendors. The best thing is that the cost of the tools don’t necessarily have to require that you take out a second mortgage or cash in the life insurance policy you have had since childhood. You can start with what you can afford to purchase now and add better tools as you can afford to.
Here are the topics that will be covered
- Fiber Types (MM/SM)
- Fiber Connector Types
- Fiber Microscope
- Fiber Power Meter
- Visual Fault Locator
- Fiber Cleaning Tools
- Fiber Best Practices
What I post here are intended for those that have never worked with fiber before. I will give you some general things to start building your fiber knowledge base from. Knowing a little more will help you help your company from doing something that might not yield the best results.