I was just looking back through some of the slides from a Cabling Installation and Maintenance fiber optic webinar I sat in on last week (by the way, one of the most useful webinars I’ve ever sat through), and I was again amazed at how important cleanliness is to successful fiber terminations. Presenter Varis Hicks from EXFO shared NTT-Advanced Technology’s list of most common reasons for fiber optic network failures, and contamination is the top offender. The numbers are pretty crazy – reportedly, 98% of installers and 80% of network owners run into issues caused by not-clean-enough endfaces. Sounds like there are a lot of fiber optic connectors out there in need of some serious (albeit gentle) scrubbing.
That’s why I thought I’d tell you about MicroCare Sticklers™ CleanWipes. As far as optical cleaning wipes go, these things are exactly what you want: strong, portable, and most importantly, lint-free. The “fabric” that CleanWipes are made of is non-woven “hydroentangled polyester” – look closely at it, and you’ll see that it has a random, swirly, web-like formation. And unlike cotton, paper, and other natural materials, the polyester filament is made to not produce dust, lint, or fiber particulate, so your careful cleaning won’t leave behind any unwanted nasties that could mess things up.
Another thing that I really like about these fiber wipes is that they’re available in both stay-at-home and field-friendly packaging. If you tend to do most of your fiber terminations and cleaning in-house, the 90-count tub is perfect for your workbench. What’s really cool is that the tub is cylindrical, but its lid is hexagonal, so if the container gets knocked over, it can’t roll away on you. If your business relies more on field terminations, the individually packaged wipes are perfect – just open one contaminant-free packet at a time, as needed.
Proper fiber and endface cleaning may be vital to a network’s success, but just because it’s important, it doesn’t have to be a major hassle – all you need are the right products to make the most of your technique. That’s why it’s a great idea to get these on your side.