Search
Filters
Close
RSS

Blog posts tagged with 'Cable'

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 outline 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.

Undersea Cable, The Internet's Backbone

You've used the internet, most of us have and in developed countries using it is just a part of peoples every day lives, with everything from searches to reading a friends latest social media posts.

Fish Under  Sea

Some countries such as Finland, Greece and France have gone so far as to ensure that broadly available internet access is written into their countries laws . FacebookTwitter and other hugely popular internet services are such as Google are available across the globe but have you ever given some thought as to how it is all possible? Undersea Cable!

How it Works

Rarely do we sit back a truly appreciate the tremendous effort that has been made in order to achieve what seems so simple on the surface. As we flick though the latest fashion posts on our tablets, read email reports on our laptops at the local coffee shop, we really don’t give much though to how that information got there and the daily challenges faced by many to bring us this convenience. Let’s dive in shall we?

Undersea or submarine cable is essentially the backbone of the internet and what allows countries and continents to share information between one another. While satellite communications are highly effective it is simply more reliable and cost effective to make use of fiber optic undersea cables. This is not to say that undersea cable is cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

Submarine cable is placed on the sea bed between land based stations in order to convey signals across the ocean. With the first communication cables being laid as early as the 1850’s for use in telegraphy. Later on these cables would advance in order to make use of modern fiber optic and carry digital data including telephony and the internet.

Typical modern undersea cables are far larger than fiber cable used in everyday land use. They are usually around 25 mm (0.98 in) in diameter and have a tremendous weight of around 1.4 kg per meter (0.4 lb/ft), although much larger and heavier ones are in use around shallower areas and nearer to shore.

Underseas Cable Diagram

 

  1. Polyethylene Jacket
  2. Mylar tape
  3. Stranded Steel Wires
  4. Aluminium Water barrier
  5. Poly-carbonate
  6. Copper or Aluminium Tuber
  7. Petroleum Jelly
  8. Optical Fibers

How is it Laid? 

The cables are laid gently on the ocean floor by specifically designed ships and in most cases remain submerged due to their weight. They are designed with an average life-span of 25 years, this however does not mean they are immune to breakages prior to this. There are a number of reasons a cable can fail including anything from simple degradation to shifts in the ocean floor. This of course means that repairs will be required and this in turn requires specialized equipment and specially trained personnel to carry out the work.

Repairing Undersea Cable

Should there be an issue with a submarine cable it must be raised to the water surface and worked on from there. It is a fairly complex operation in which a cable repair ship will be dispatched to the location and the deploy a marker buoy near the break. Once there the cable will be grappled off the ocean floor and raised in order to begin repairs, various types of grapples are used depending primarily on the conditions of the ocean floor. Cable repair can be both a lengthy and dangerous for all involved with work crews having to often postpone repairs due to inclement weather conditions, regardless of the state of repair they where currently in. Once splicing of the cable has taken place the repaired cable will be returned to the seabed , the repaired cable will be longer than the original, so the excess is deliberately laid in a ‘U’ shape on the ocean floor. This is done in the hopes of preventing future damage to the cable.

Final Thoughts

Connecting the world is far from simple and very, very expensive, so next time your cruising the internet super highway give some thought to the technologies that enable you to send that email, share that photo of your lunch or pay for that designer dress in Milan.

How to Fusion Splice Fiber Optic Cable

Fusion Splicing is simply joining two optical fibers together by making use of heat. The two optical fibers should be fused in such as way as to allow light to be passed through them without scattering or reflecting light back at the point of the splice.

Cable Stripping

 

The heat used to fuse the two fibers together is usually in the form of an electric arc, however it can also be achieved using a laser or even gas flame, but these methods are considered dated and inferior . This very simple Fusion Splicing guide should help to explain the process without getting too technical.

What You'll Need

  1. Fiber Strippers
  2. Kevlar Cutter
  3. Splice Sleeves
  4. Alcohol Wipes
  5. Fiber Optic Cleaver
  6. Microscope (Not mandatory, but very useful for checking fiber ends)
  7. Fusion Splicer

 


 

Step 1: Stripping the Fibers 

Stripping FiberIt sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately this is not quite as simple as stripping the simple coating of your average house-hold copper cable. In this case you will first be removing the polymer coating by making use of Fiber Strippers, which are specially designed for stripping the coating off the fiber. Ideally 1 and half inches (40 mm) should be removed from each end of the fiber you are joining. This should be done incrementally and gently while ensuring the stripper is held at a slight angle during the process.

With the coating stripped from the fibers it is now time to simply clip away any excess, exposed Kevlar with your Kevlar cutter. Once completed slide one of your Splice Sleeves onto one of your fiber, you may not be able to do this once you have spliced the two fibers together so it is best to do it now.

 


 

Step 2: Clean, Cleave and Clean Again 

Cleave CableKeeping the fibers clean is of the utmost importance when it comes to fusion splicing. It cannot be repeated enough, ensure that the fibers you are working with are cleaned after every major interaction with them. You do this by gently wiping them down with Alcohol Wipes.

Once clean it is time to cleave the fibers. The fiber should ideally be cleaved using what is know as the score-and -break method, this is done to ensure that the end face is perfectly flat and perpendicular to the axis of the fiber. This is best done by making use of a quality Fiber Optic Cleaver. The closer the cleave angle is to 90 degrees on both fibers the better, this will result in less optical loss from the splice. After cleaving both fibers it is time to once again clean the ends with the Alcohol Wipes.

 


 

Step 3: Fusion Splicing 

Fusion SplicingIt is now time to make use of your Fusion Splicer, begin by placing each fiber into the guides on the Fusion Splicer and clamp them into places securely. Close the lid of the splicer and be sure to select the correct settings on the monitor and program in the correct fiber types into the Fusion Splicer. The fiber ends will be automatically moved into position, at this point a profuse cycle will begin and any remaining dirt on the fiber ends will be removed as preheating begins. Next the fusion splicer will attempt to align the two fibers by inspecting the cleaves, bad cleaves will result in misalignment and will be rejected. If the cleaves are good the fibers will be fused by an automatic arc cycle that heats the ends and feeds the fibers together at a controlled rate.

Once fusion has been completed the Fusion Splicer will inspect the splice and estimate the total optical loss of the splice. Should it need to be remade it will inform you. If all goes according to plan it is now time to remove the fibers from the guides and move the splice protector over the splice and shrink it to fit (Most splicing machines have a heating device for heat shrinking protective sleeves).

 


 

As previously mentioned, this is a very simple guide. There are many variables that must be taken into account when you are splicing different types of fiber. So while it is difficult to get down to specifics hopefully this guide should give you a good idea of the process as a whole and get you started. Just remember to take your time while splicing in order ensure a good clean splice, it will save time in the long run.

Need a Fusion Splicer? Check out the FS-8993 Core Alignment Fusion Splicer Kit.

How Do Fiber Optics Work?

These days fiber optic cables are used everywhere to connect our modern world and are able to send information across countries and vast oceans, but how do they work? Before we get too stuck in to the more technical stuff, why not check out the video below for a nice, simple summary of how it all comes together. 

 

How They Work 

Fiber optics are fairly simple to understand on a basic level. Essentially information in the form of light is sent from one place to another, this is generally done through fiber optic cable. The beauty of this comes from something known as Total Internal Reflection (TIR), what this means is that the light is able to be sent through a flexible fiber optic cable by simply ‘bouncing from one surface to another’ until it reaches it’s destination.

Internal Reflection Diagram
 

Reflection vs Refraction 

Any time light strikes a surface it can either be reflected from it (reflection) or pass through it (refraction). The key to transmission of light via fiber optics is to ensure that light hits the surface greater than the critical angle to ensure complete reflection and not refraction. This requires quite a bit of mathematics, but to simplify it one should ensure that the angle of the surface the light hits is not too great so as to ensure reflection takes place and not refraction.
 

Understanding the Structure of Fiber Optic Cable 

Fiber optic cable typically contains a core made of ultra-pure glass which is then surrounded by an outside layer of glass known as cladding. The cladding is designed manufactured in such a way as to decrease it’s index of refraction by using small bits of boron or germanium. The core and cladding are manufactured as a very long, thin piece of glass that is made by heating what is know as a preform with the center being the pure glass core and the outside is the cladding. It is then stretched to an length of unusually around 18.2 m (60 ft).

Single mode Diagram

Sending Data by Light 

Data is sent and received in our modern society in what is known as binary numbers, essentially 1’s and 0’s. Think of it as a light switch with 2 settings, either On (1) or Off (0). If you turn the light on and off at the switch with a specific pattern it can be used to form somewhat complex messages. Such as the example one below:

Binary Hello

Data is sent similarly through fiber optic cable in the form of laser light pulses using what is known as Pulse Code Modulation or PCM. Unfortunately this is a lengthy topic which maybe discussed in a future article.

In Summary 

Fiber optics allows us to send information across the globe at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second ) via specifically designed fiber optic cables by making clever use of light reflection and refraction.