Cleaning Fiber Optic Connectors

With the now widespread use of high-speed fiber optic cables withing installations across the globe one of the biggest reported issues by installers is, without a doubt, is contaminated connectors. Dirty connectors are responsible for issues such as poor signal performance and outright connection failures.

Fiber Optic Cleaning Guide

Different Types of Fiber Optic Connectors

Without listing off all of the over 100 different types of fiber optic connectors, the most commonly used types include the following:

LC, SC, ST, FC, MT-RJ, E2000 and MTP/MPO.

If you'd like to learn more about these individual connectors be sure to check out our earlier blog titled A Quick Guide to Fiber Optic Connectors.

How Fiber Optics are Cleaned

There are two primary methods when it comes to the cleaning for fiber connectors: Dry Cleaning and Wet Cleaning.

Dry cleaning is mostly carried out using reel-types cassettes and push-type cleaners that wipe down the connector end faces with a dry cloth, in one direction.

Wet cleaning is seen as more 'aggressive' than dry cleaning and is great for removing airborne contaminants and oil residue. It is carried out by first wiping down the end face using a wet cleaning agent such as isopropyl alcohol and then drying it off to remove any additonal residue.

Below is a basic outline of the fiber optic cleaning process.

 Fiber Optic Cleaning Process

Important: Wet cleaning is note advised for recepticles and bulkheads as equipment damage can occur.

Fiber Optic Termination Boxes Explained

One of the most common questions we at Fibertronics often receive is, "Do I need a Fiber Optic Termination Box?" The first response is typically to ask what kind of fiber optic installation are you looking at building? This will determine if a box is required or not.

Fiber Optic Terminations Boxes

When You'll Need a Termination Box

If you're ordering or have an existing fiber optic assemby over two strands we highly recommend the use of a termination box as it helps prevent contaminents such as dust from interferring with your assembly's connectors. Not to mention it keeps all the cables extremely well organised, making them much easier to work on in future as you upgrade your assembley.

How They Work

As previously mentioned, termination boxes, as the name implies, are used when fiber optic cables are terminationed or have connectors added to the ends. A fiber optic assemby is typically fed into a termination box and then has the excess wrapped around a buil-in, internal cable spool before being connected into a fiber optic adapter panel. The fiber optic cable coming from your equipment is then connected to the other side of the adapter panel before exiting the termination box.

Which to Choose?

Fiber optic termination boxes are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Picking which one will work for your assembly will mostly depend on your own requirements such as number of fibers used and space available. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Fiber Patch Cords

Sometimes called Fiber Jumpers, Patch Cords are used to connect network devices or end devices to a cabling system. These cables generally have various connectors that can be applied to each end. These include; LC, SC, ST or MTRJ connectors. Available in simplex (single cord) or duplex (dual cords) depending on your network requirements. It can be difficult to select which of the variations might best suit your application best.

Single-mode and Multimode Cable

Fiber Modes

Before making use of fiber optic patch cords you should ensure that the wavelength of the tranciever module at the end of the cable is identical. This means that the specified wavelength of the light emitting module (your device), should be the same as that of the cable you intend to make use of. There is a very simple way to do this. 

Short wave optical modules require the use of a multimode patch cable, these cables are typically covered in an orange jacket. Long wave modules require the use of single-mode patch cables which are wrapped in a yellow jacket.

Simplex vs Duplex

Simplex cables are required when data transmission is required to be send in one direction along the cable. It's one way traffic so to speak and is primarily used in applications such as large TV networks.

Duplex cables allow for two way traffic in that they have two fibers stands within a single cable. You can find these cables being used in workstations, servers, switches and on various pieces of networking hardware with large data-centers.

Typically duplex cables come in two types of construction; Uni-boot and Zip Cord. Uni-boot means that the two fibers in he cable terminate in a single connector. These are generally more expensive than the Zip Cord cables which have the wo fiber stands placed together, but they can be easily seperated. 

Which to Choose?

Simplex Patch Cord is great for sending data tansmissions over long distances. It does not require a lot of materials to manufacture and this inturn keeps the cost down when compared to duplex cables. They are incredibly good when it comes to capacit and high transmission speeds meaning higher bandwidth and because of this are very common in modern communications networks.

Duplex Patch Cords are great when it comes to keeping this neat and organised as less cables are required, making them easier to maitain and sort. They are however not as great over longer distances and high bandwidths.

Looking After Your Patch Cords

One of the most import things to consider when making use of patch cords is not to exceed their maximum bend radius. They are, after all, glass stands encased in PVC jackets and can quite easily break if pushed too far. Additionally, ensure that they are always used within optimal conditions and not subject to excess stress by things such as, temperature, moisture, tension stress and vibrations.

The Ways We Use Fiber Optics

Fiber optic cables play a pivotal role in our every day’s lives and particularly within the telecommunications industry. This is mainly due to the advantages they have over regular copper network cables in terms of bandwidth, distance, security and reliability.

Fiber Optics

The range of fiber optic cables can vary greatly depending on the type used and the applications hey are designed for.

Internet Connectivity

Simply put, fiber optic cables have a massive advantage over traditional copper cables in this sphere as they can carry much larger amounts of data at far greater speeds. Because of this they are used throughout the industry and online space.

Computer Networks

In recent years it has become far easier to transfer data between computers across a network by using fiber optic cables. This allows for massive time savings and improved efficiency within the work place. A notable example of the use of fiber optic cable within networks would be within modern stock exchanges as these require data transfers within the shortest times possible.


Long gone are the days of telephone operators transferring customers calls. Over the last few decades fiber optics have become the standard in telephonic communication, replacing the now equally as dated copper based systems of the past. This has led to revolutions in our daily lives with everything from clearer telephone conversations to full on video chats that we make use of on a now regular basis.


Being light weight and flexible makes fiber optics ideal for use within medical applications. The need for minimally invasive surgery is a major component in the success of fiber optics, mainly in the area of small and compact medical instrumentation. These devices are primarily used within the aforementioned surgeries as well as in diagnosing patients.


Within the automotive industry fiber optics primarily take on the function of providing lighting to both the interior and exterior of vehicles. That being said, fiber optic cables within cars can play a vital role in safety systems such as traction control and airbags by reducing the time it takes for these systems to kick-in.

Military, Defense and Space Exploration

It almost goes without saying that fiber optics play a vital role in modern military, defense and space exploration systems. They are deployed throughout these applications to reduce communication times for data transmissions as well as provide greater security and confidentiality.

Lighting and Decorating

While perhaps not being seem as ground breaking or vital as the previously mentioned applications, fiber optics have really cemented their place as a convenient and cost effect solution within many commercial industries. Everything from street lighting to birthday parties these days tends to make use of fiber optics.


MXC Connectors

In today's world there is an ever-increasing need for more data, at faster speeds. The new MXC™ optical fiber connector system, created by US Conec, makes use of advanced high-density interconnect technology allowing it to offer greater speeds within data centers and networks.

MXC Cables

PRIZM MT FerrulePRIZM MT™ Ferrule

Able to support up to 64 fibers each handling one wavelength at 25 Gbps, the main component of the MXC™ connector system is the hermaphroditic PRIZM MT™ ferrule (also known as a lensed or expanded beam MT ferrule). This allows for speeds of up 1.6 Tbit/s (800 Gpbs in each direction), at this speed an entire 2 hour HD movie (4 GB) could be downloaded in just under 2 seconds.

The dimensions of the MXC™ ferrule are the same as those of a MT ferrule used in MTP®/MPO connectors. The key difference being that the PRIZM MT™ ferrule tip supports 64 micro lenses within 4 rows, each row containing 16 lenses.

MXC™ Connector Applications

Being able to support greater bandwidth than traditional MT fiber optic connectors, MXC™ connectors are being rolled out wherever high-speed data transmission is a top priority. This includes primarily Telecommunication Hubs and Servers, Storage Facilities, Open-Compute Architectures and Cloud Data Centers.

QualityFeatures and Benefits

  • QualitySupports up to 64 fibers per ferrule
  • 1.6 Tbit/s per connector
  • Standard MT-ferrule compatible
  • Lower cost due to reduced components
  • No polishing required for assembly
  • LC-style latch for easy insertion and removal
  • Easy installation
  • Small size

The Next Big Thing

As technology marches forward the MXC™ optical fiber connector system is doing its bit to stay ahead of the pack. We can most likely expect to see a switch from older solutions, as faster data transfer rates become essential to big business around the globe and begin the adoption of newer and more advanced solutions such as the MXC™.

MXC™, MTP®, PRIZM™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of US Conec Ltd.

A Guide to Network Racks and Wall Mount Enclosures

If you're in the market for a Network Rack Cabinet and are trying to decide on which is best for you this guide is for you. Here we will endeavor to give you some clarity on how they work and which ones are best suited for particular situations.

Networking Servers

What is a Network Rack? 

Network Racks are essentially frame structures used for housing standard 19" rack-mount equipment-servers as well as other devices such as routers, UPS’ and audio/video gear. This allows for better organization as well as provides additional security and cable management all the while enabling better airflow to the mounted network devices.

Where are Network Racks Commonly Used?

Without question the majority are mainly found throughout company data centers and server rooms across the world. Additionally they can be found in audio/video installations, anywhere where there is a need to house telecoms equipment and in industrial environments such as factory floors.

What Size Do I Need?

The height of network racks is measured in what is known as “Rack Units” (1.75 inches, or 44.45mm). This means that typically when you are shopping for network rack you will see the Rack Unit amount displayed, as opposed to the actual height measurement. An example is shown below:

18U Network Server Rack Cabinet – 600mm X 600mm

In the example above the network rack is 18 Rack Units in height, this means it is approximately 31.5″ or 800mm tall. Always be sure to properly access amount of space you will require currently and in the future so as to avoid having to make additional purchases as your system expands.

Which Type of Network Rack Do I Need?

This is entirely dependent on the type of environment and networking situation you find yourself in. That said, here is a simple break-down of the types and the various applications they are best suited too.


Network Rack EnclosedRack Enclosure – Floor Standing

These are great for organizing and secure networking, storage and telecom equipment within future or existing data centers, server rooms and network closets.

They are generally neater in appearance than Open Frames due to them being enclosed, devices are generally accessible via locked doors and panels around the enclosure.



Network Rack OpenOpen Frame – Floor Standing

This is perhaps the most economical way in which to organize your network equipment. It’s open frame allows for the best possible airflow and for the easiest access your mounted devices.

The only downside is they may not appear as neat and provide no additional security due to their open nature.



Network Wall Mount EnclosedRack Enclosure – Wall Mount

A particular type of rack enclosure which is specifically designed to be mounted on walls as opposed the floor standing rack enclosures. This is great if you are looking to save on floor space as these usually considerably smaller.

They are primarily found in places with limited space, a good example of which would be classrooms or smaller offices.



Network Wall Mount OpenOpen Frame – Wall Mount

With the same features as the open frame – floor standing versions these wall mountable racks are ideally suited for areas with limited space where security is not essential (due to the lack of a lockable enclosure).

The advantage with these is the ease of access coupled with great airflow. 



As mentioned before, it is hugely important to plan ahead when it comes to your network storage needs as well as to identify potential growth needs. Be sure to check out out our Network Racks and Wall Mount Enclosures and remember you can also get in touch with Fibertronics either by phone (877) 320 3143 or email

The PRIZM LightTurn Connector

Designed as a miniature detachable connector the PRIZM® LightTurn® Connector provides passive alignment and novel retention features allowing multiple re-matings\perpendicular to the printed circuit board.

 PRIZM LightTurn Connector

This 12-fiber connector is made up of a multi-fiber floating ferrule with a photonic TIR lens enclosed in a protective housing. The perpendicular mating capability saves vast amounts of space on already densely packed circuit boards.

PRIZM LightTurnFeatures & Applications

  • TIR (Total Internal Reflection) lens
  • Wavelength independent optical grade material
  • Bidirectional components
  • Integrated alignment pins
  • Housing protects TIR lens array
  • Ferrule float within the connector
  • Pre-alignment latches on connector housing
  • Keyed for proper mating orientation
  • Quick termination, no polishing
  • Less than 1 minute light cure for epoxy
  • Collimated light at optical interface

Where It's Used

The PRIZM® LightTurn® Connector can be used across multiple applications which include telecommunications, datacoms and within the newly emerging high-speed computercom markets.

How to Punch Down a Cat Cable into a Patch Panel

Punching-down a cat cable into a patch panel may seem like tricky business, but once you’ve got the basics down it becomes as easy as the proverbial pie. This high-level guide is here to help.

Punching Down Cat Cable

What You'll Need

  1. CAT Cables (Ethernet Cable)
  2. Patch Panels
  3. Punch Down Tool
  4. Cable Strippers
  5. Screw Driver



Step 1: Prepare the Cat Cable

Stripped CableTo start off with you will want to begin with preparing the cat cables you intend to punch into the patch panels. You with do so by removing the outer jacket with the cable stripper. If you do not have a cable stripper handy it can also be done with a sharp knife, but please be careful as this method result in both injury to yourself and damage to the inner copper cables.

Ideally you should remove approximately 1 inch (25mm) of the outer jacket, this ensures a nice clean fit into the patch panel without the risk of exposing too much cable and damaging it. Once the outer jacket has been removed you will notice 4 pairs of copper cables, making up a total of 8 cables. In order to successfully punch down the cables into the patch panel you will need to gently untwist the pairs so that the 8 cables can be individually worked work with.



Step 2: Prepare the Patch Panel

Patch PanelIn most cases full patch panels are made up various parts. That being said, it can prove very useful in most situations to break apart the patch panel into it’s small components. This allows for you to work with only the required parts of the panel and makes the entire project simpler to handle on the whole.

Take the screwdriver and begin by unscrewing the section of the panel you are going to work with and place the remainder to the side. While doing so take note of the label on the inside of the panel with the color code printed on to it. This will be explained in the next step



Step 3: Put Cat Cable into Patch Panel

Patch PanelIn order to correctly insert the Cat cable wires into the patch panel you will need to take a close look at the color code that is printed on the label adhered to the panel.Let’s take a closer look.

First off you will notice that there are in fact 2 pin-out types, these are typically labelled A and B respectively. Generally most installations would use pin-out B, but please be sure to check which one is right for your specific application.

Once you have selected a pin-out type you will see that each one has it’s own color code, with 4 solid colors and 4 stripes. Simply match the solid colored wires to the solid color slots and do the same with the stripes. Inserting the wires into the slots requires nothing more than gently pushing them in. Once all the wires have been correctly inserted it is time to being with the actual punching down.



Step 4: Punching Down

Punching DownFirst off you will notice that there are in fact 2 pin-out types, these are typically labelled A and B respectively. Generally most installations would use pin-out B, but please be sure to check which one is right for your specific application.

Once you have selected a pin-out type you will see that each one has it’s own color code, with 4 solid colors and 4 stripes. Simply match the solid colored wires to the solid color slots and do the same with the stripes. Inserting the wires into the slots requires nothing more than gently pushing them in. Once all the wires have been correctly inserted it is time to being with the actual punching down.

Patch Panel

In order to correctly punch down the wires into the patch panel you will need to make use of a Punch Down Tool. The tool itself is fairly simple in that it has a pointed side and a flat size. The pointed side is the side that will trim the ends of the wires to leave a clean cut.

Begin by positioning the tool over the wire you intend to punch down and then using as much force as required push down on the handle of the tool. This will both push the wire firmly into place and trim the ends at the same time., continue doing this for all the remaining wires. You may also notice that occasionally some of the wire ends remain, you can usually fix this by gently removing them by hand as the tool may not have cleaved all the way through the wires on the initial punch down.



Want to watch it done? Check out the video below for a short tutorial which outlines most of what we have discussed in this guide.

MTP Cable Solutions

Data centers and ever-expanding server clusters have created a huge demand for more bandwidth and more space efficiency.

MTP Solutions

Multifiber Push-On (MPO) connectors have answered the call and provide up to 24 or ore fibers in a single connector pushing up to and beyond 100Gbps data transmission. The best part is that the connector takes roughly the same space as a single simplex SC connector. MPOs are paving the way for increased data transmission speeds and rack density.

MTP® is a registered trademark of US Conec, marketed as a "high performance MPO connector with multiple engineered product enhancements to improve optical and mechanical performance when compared to generic MPO connectors." MTP and MPO are often used interchangeably and MTP is considered a generalized trademark. Both MTP and MPO are available with standard or elite / low loss options. Fibertronics terminates our cables with both MPO and MTP connectors, so please be sure to specify with our sales staff if you need genuine US Conec MTP connectors.

Insertion Loss Typical Insertion Loss Max Insertion Loss
MPO / MTP MM Standard: < 0.2 dB < 0.4 dB
MPO / MTP MM Elite / Low Loss: < 0.1 dB < 0.3 dB

MPO and MTP in Data Centers and Beyond

Many switches, servers and other network hardware come with fiber optic ports built in. More and more hardware is being shipped with QSFP/QSFP+/SR4/CFP/CXP ports and MPO fiber cables are becoming a requirement in these fields. However, data centers don’t have a monopoly on the technology!

Anybody working with a large count of fiber that likes to save space is a good candidate for MPO technology. Large bundles of hundreds of fibers, trunk cables, are spliced into pigtails. The old method would be to use a distribution fan-out cable or duplex cables to patch the trunk cable into your infrastructure. With MPO technology, you can connect your single fiber cables once, then route the rest of the way with MPO fanouts and trunk cables, minimizing the number of connectors and cables you’re working with.

Fibertronics offers MTP/MPO Multi-Connector Trunk Cables, Patch Cables, Pigtails, Loopbacks, Cassettes, Fanout Cables and more.

Multimode Fiber Variants

While singlemode is optimized for long range data transfer, multimodes are designed with high-bandwidth short range optimization in mind (Single-mode and Multimode Explained).

  • OM1 is a 62.5/125µm fiber core, with the jacket usually cladded in orange. This is typically found in older applications where high bandwidth isn’t a priority.
  • OM2 is the first variant of 50/125µm, usually also orange, but widely unused. OM2 offers modest improvement over OM1, however OM3 is leaps and bounds ahead with not much more cost.
  • OM3 is a laser optimized variant of 50/125µm multimode, and is the first fiber mode that supports 10Gb/40Gb/100Gb Ethernet.
  • OM4 is a recent addition to the lineup which offers a longer range than OM3. It should be noted that OM3 and OM4 are cross-compatible, and while OM4 is only needed for distances that exceed OM3 capabilities, it can still be used for shorter connections.
Multimode Variants 10 Gb 40 Gb 40 Gb (QSFP+ eSR4) 100 Gb (24 Fiber)
OM1: 33m N/A N/A N/A
OM2: 82m N/A N/A N/A
OM3: 300m 100m 330m 100m
OM3: 400m 150m 550m 150m

Fibertronics Standards

Quality Fibertronics 12 Fiber, OM3, MPO cables use Corning® ClearCurve® laser optimized bend-insensitive fiber. This type of fiber allows for tighter bends in your cables, so you can route without worry. The fiber comes in the form of 12 fiber 3mm micro-distribution cable, with aqua plenum jacket, which is rated for riser and plenum areas. The micro-distribution format uses 12 fibers in a loose tube jacket with protective aramid yarn, allowing for more flexibility and smaller footprint than traditional ribbon cable.

We can also build these to your custom specifications, including using a different brand of fiber, different type of jacket, or even customer-supplied cable. Options such as OM4, LSZH jacket, ribbon cable, armored cable, indoor/outdoor cable, and more are available, so please call one of our sales representatives to discuss your needs. Please keep in mind that MPO cables work best with loose fibers, so tight-buffered fibers may not be suitable for this.

MPO Gender Interface

MPO Genders can be counter-intuitive to newcomers to the technology. MPO cables are a plug, so they must be male, and transceivers have a port so they must be female, right? Wrong on both counts!

MPOs are classified by the guide pins on the end of the connector, and require 1 male and 1 female to mate properly. MPO connectors use a “barrel sleeve” adapter that simply holds one male and one female MPO “plug” together. The male guide pins fit into the female holes to ensure precise fiber alignment. Attempting to mate two female connectors will result in a seemingly secure connection, but with extremely high loss, and attempting to mate two male connectors will most likely damage one or both connectors due to the guide pins clashing.

Transceivers and cassettes come with the sleeve adapter built in, and the industry standard is a male connection on the inside. Therefore, the standard for cables is female to female. This changes, however, when you need to extend a cable or connect two cables. You will then need a male to female cable plus adapter. If you’re designing a multi-ferrule MPO trunk backbone cable, you might consider making this male to male, then patching to your hardware with female to female cables. We offer all combinations of genders, so contact us with your needs and we will be able to customize these for you.

Gender Standards
Cassettes: Male Port
Transcievers: Male Port
Patch Cables: Female to Female
Extender Cables: Male to Female
Trunk Cables: Male to Male (Custom Mix)

Keys and Dots

MPO connectors have a key on one of the flat sides added by the body, and the orientation of this key determines the cable’s polarity. MPO and MTP connectors also have a white dot on one side of the connector to denote where fiber 1 is.

The key and gender are assigned near the end of the process of manufacturing an MPO by adding the body kit. Fibertronics is able to take completed MPO cables and change gender or flip polarity from Method A to Method B and vice versa. Please note that flipping polarity will not be possible with a Single-mode MPO cable, as these ferrules have an 8º angle polish. For this same reason, Single-mode MPO cables cannot be used with aligned key “polarity flip” adapters. This process does carry the risk of breaking the delicate fibers inside the MPO body, even for trained professionals, so this service may come with a charge.

Fiber Optics in Florida

Fiber optics in Florida grows as Fibertronics expands by 10,000 square feet at its Melbourne location and adds new division to build metal-box enclosures that house fiber optics.

Florida Skyline

The technology sector of the small-business market, especially, it seems, located in a hub around the North Drive area in Melbourne, is buzzing with growth. And some of these businesses have taken giant steps expanding their square footage, which means their employment base is growing, they are creating jobs, and their product is being well received by their customers. Existing small businesses and startups are the economic engine in America.

Fibertronics, which specializes in fiber-optic cable assemblies for the telecommunications industry as well as network products, is an example of a small business that has cut a path of success since it was started five years ago by area entrepreneurs Doug and Barbara Larson.

They saw a niche locally and created a company to fill it. Their business has grown from their two-car garage to 25,000 square feet at a facility on North Drive owned and managed by West Melbourne-based CIA Developers Inc. "We started in our garage and my wife was the 'terminator,' the person who terminates or builds the cables," said Doug Larson.

"Soon, our daughter started helping, as did our son. Then one of our daughter's friends came aboard the operation. The business was growing. We said 'this is not going to fit in the garage anymore.' We also had some personal belongings stored there, so we rented a 2,000 square-foot building." After one year in that building, Fibertronics needed more space and rented another 4,000 square feet. The business outgrew that space, too.

Doug Larson said he then contacted Aaron Anderson of CIA Developers. Anderson showed him a 15,000 square-foot building on North Drive. It's one of a number of facilities CIA Developers owns in that area. Fibertronics moved in and set up its operation.

Recently, the company leased another 10,000 square feet that is connected to the original unit that CIA Developers owns, bringing Fibertronics to 25,000 square feet at the North Drive facility. "We have doubled our business every year over the last five years and we're on track to do it again," said Doug Larson, whose company has grown from two to 27 people, including their son Mitchel Larson and their daughter Evelyn Vogt.

"We pride ourselves on quick turnaround, short lead times, and we are really pushing quality." He added that the company is growing at a "steady pace and we don't see any signs that it's going to slow down. Our growth is based on the Internet's growth. And the Internet is still growing at a radical rate. The Internet runs on fiber optics. So I would say the key to the success and growth of our company is the performance of the industry, which is fiber-optic communications."

According to the "Accenture Technology Vision 2015" report, in the rapidly growing "Internet of Things," companies are using "digital ecosystems" to offer new services, reshape experiences, and enter new markets. By 2020, there will be a "quarter billion" connected vehicles on the road, enabling new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities, according to Gartner Inc. During the next five years, the proportion of new vehicles equipped with this capability will increase dramatically, making connected cars a major element of the Internet of Things.

Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion "connected things" will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.

John Chambers, the president and chief executive officer of Cisco Systems, said in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that he sees the value of the evolving Internet of Things at $19 trillion, and gave a number of examples in support of his forecast.

Meanwhile, Fibertronics is well positioned to grow because its core customers include Fortune 200 companies that purchase in big volume from the company. "They tell us what they want, and we custom build it for them," Doug Larson said.

Doug Larson has owned a number of service-type businesses over the years. One day, he learned there were defense contractors in the region wanting to buy fiber-optic cables in a more timely fashion than what was currently available. Companies were having to wait a month or longer. "Coming from a service-business background, I couldn't imagine taking a month or so to do anything. So I started looking into what is involved in building fiber-optic cables." He continued, "Yes, it is kind of intense. But it takes hours to build a cable, not months. That's when I said, 'I think I have something.' Now we build cables for many defense contractors, though that is not our core customer."

Fibertronics, whose customers are mainly from out the state, builds small cables that have a lot of power because they contain fiber optics. "For example, we build 40 gigabyte and 100 gigabyte cable assemblies. We'll build as many as 1,000 cables a day. That's normal. We constantly strive to stay on the cutting edge of quality." Barbara Larson is a hands-on businesswoman with an eye on quality. "I like to build the cables in the back of the facility and work right among the employees to make sure everything flows smoothly." Fibertronics hired at least 10 people last year and three more recently. "We try to provide our employees with very good benefits because we want to retain them. They can grow along with company," she said. "We pay 100 percent of our employees' health insurance," added Doug Larson, "and that has nothing do with the mandated Affordable Care Act. We don't want turnover, which is costly to a business. We like to train new hires the company's way and give them the opportunity to advance up the ranks."

As it continues to grow, Fibertronics has expanded with a new division dedicated to building sheet-metal boxes - known in the industry as "enclosures"- that house the fiber optics. "A lot of the fiber-optics assemblies we build are installed in these metal boxes," he said. "So now, we are starting to make those cabinets for customers. We can now offer them a full network solution, including the fiber, all of the adapters, and so forth." He added, "When we ship the product and they receive it, all the customer has to do is plug it in." With the new division, Fibertronics has positioned itself to be a full-service firm. The company has made a significant investment in new machinery to build the enclosures and be able to offer a customized solution for its customers. "The customer can call one company - Fibertronics - and we're able to provide them with a whole solution. This new division fits perfectly with our core product and our market niche," Doug Larson said.

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