Fiber optic cables have been instrumental in advancing technological communication. Fiber optics today stretch across oceans and bring Internet connection to remote locations. They provide more reliable service for land-line phones than traditional wires. Although their manufacture can be complex, you can install fiber optic connections very easily. The process involves gluing bare fiber optic cable to a connector and then heating the connector to seal it.
1. Strip the plastic jacket at the end of the fiber optic cable. Optic cable ends have jackets to prevent any damage in shipping from the manufacturer. Clamp the plastic jacket, using a fiber optic stripper tool, which has a designated slot to fit the size of a fiber optic jacket. Squeeze the handles of the stripper like pliers. Pull the jacket away from the fiber optic cable.
2. Open the back chamber of the epoxy glue gun by twisting off the back cap. Insert the epoxy glue tube into the chamber and squeeze lightly. You will only need a few ounces of glue for the task. Screw the cap back on the epoxy glue gun chamber.
3. Inject epoxy glue into the fiber optic connector socket. Each fiber optic connector has two sockets on each side of it to form the connection. Insert the glue gun into the connector socket. Press and hold the trigger to insert the glue. The glue should spot should not be larger than an eye pupil.
4. Insert one fiber optic cable end into the connector sockets. Hold the cable in the socket and count to 10. Let go of the fiber optic cable and connector. Check that the cable stays in position once you let go of it.
5. Place the new fiber optic connection into an an epoxy curing oven. Turn on the oven and turn the timer knob to six minutes. Insert the fiber optic connector attached to the cable into one of the curing oven slots. Press the start button on the oven. Pull out the connector from the oven slot. Wiggle the connector end to test the stability of the connection. If it seems fragile, reinsert the connector into the oven and cook it for a few more minutes. Repeat steps three to five to seal the fiber optic connector on both sides.
Fiber optics can repaired by several methods. Splicing allows two fiber optic cables to be joined together. Splicing enables the joining of broken cables or two different types of cables, The process is done with fusion splicing or mechanical splicing.
Fusion splicing joins two cable optic lengths together with electric arc welding. Fusion splices generally cost from $0.50 to $1.50 each (as of 2011). However the splicing machine costs from $15,000 to $50,000 depending upon the level of accuracy required.
Mechanical splicing is done with a device that fits between two cables being spliced and aligns the fiber ends. Mechanical splices cost between $12 and $50 each. However, the initial investment is $1,000 to $2,000. The choice of the method can be based upon precision. Fusion splicing provides lower feedback reflection and less loss of signal. Some companies use each method depending upon whether precision digital signals are being sent or less precise analog signals.
In most cases, there will not be sufficient slack in a broken cable to allow splicing without additional cable. After determining that a patch cable will work in the system, a temporary length of cable can be mechanically spliced and laid on the ground if temperatures do not fall below freezing. Outdoor repairs should be done in a temporary shelter, such as a tent, if possible, to protect the work from the elements.
Ethernet Is a Protocol
While eight-conductor Ethernet cables with RJ-45 plugs are extremely common (these are the cables that look like over-sized phone cords), Ethernet itself is a protocol standard that defines the way that bits of information travel over a particular medium. The two most common cabled versions of Ethernet are traditional copper cables and fiber-optic cables.
Most standard copper Ethernet cables are referred to as patch cables. However, ordinary phone cords can be considered patch cables, as well as the RCA and HDMI cables that connect a home TV and stereo system together.
Different Ethernet cables have different names, with “patch cables” being the most common. Some of the differences include the length of the cable as well as the purpose. For example, an Ethernet connection that is designed for speed and/or great distance can be referred to as a “backbone” or “long haul,” even though it may use the exact same type of copper cable that a patch cable uses.
Fiber optic cables are used in data communications such as telephone lines, cable television and broadband Internet. The cables consist of flexible transparent glass fibers that are connected to electronic devices with modulators. The modulators receive data from the sending device and encode it into light pulses made by LED transmitters in the cable connection. The LED sends the encoded light pulses from one end of the fiber to the other. At the other end of the cable, the light pulses are sent into a detector that converts the data back into it original format before sending it to the receiving device.
Fiber-optic cables are connected with special connectors or spliced together. Fiber-optic connectors consist of a ferrule, a connector body and a coupling mechanism. The ferrule is a thin cylinder that holds the optic fiber in its hollowed-out center. Fiber-optic connectors can be made out of metal, plastic or ceramic. The connector body is made of plastic or metal. It holds the ferrule and connects to the outer jacket of the cable. The coupling mechanism is the body that holds the connector in place when it is attached to an electronics device. Fiber-optic connectors can be a push-and-click latch clip, a screw-in connector or a turn-and-latch bayonet-style nut connector.
Single Mode and Multimode
The mode of a fiber-optic cable is the path that data or light signals travel through. The core diameter of a multimode-fiber-optic cable is larger than a single-mode-fiber-optic cable. Single-mode cables allow a single wavelength and path for light to travel; multimode fiber is used to patch cable to a desktop or a patch panel to computers or televisions.
Single Mode Connectors
Single-mode connector boots are blue or white. The ferrule of the connector is often made out of zirconia, a type of ceramic. The single-mode ferrule has a smaller hole than the multimode ferrrule, which is not detectable by the naked eye.
Multimode-connector boots are beige or black. The boot is the part of the connector that is covered by a sleeve where the fiber-optic cable ends. The ferrule of a multimode connector can be made out of stainless steel, plastic comp. osite or ceramic zirconia.