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Build Your Own Fiber Optic Network Like A Professional Network Engineer

Feb 23, 2008
What does an enterprise fiber optic network consist of?

The basic philosophy of modern LAN wiring is the concept of structured cabling. The entire networking system is broken up into chunks that allow workstation wires to be concentrated.

In a typical enterprise LAN system, the fiber optic network consists of telecommunication rooms, backbone wiring, work areas and horizontal wiring.

Let's illustrate this with a 3 stories building.

On each floor, there will be a telecommunication room sitting on top of each other. These telecommunication rooms hold all network equipment such as routers, servers and switches. Telecommunication rooms are linked together with fiber optic cables passing through vertical shafts which are called backbone wiring/cabling or vertical wiring/cabling.

The backbone fiber optic cables typically run at 10Gbps Ethernet speed to provide enough bandwidth for the whole enterprise.

Work areas are work stations (PCs) divided into cubicles. These work areas are connected to each floor's telecommunication room with horizontal cabling. These horizontal copper/fiber optic cables typically run at 1Gbps Ethernet speed.

How to pull the fiber optic cable through vertical shaft

The backbone cabling used to be twisted pair copper cables. But now it is typically multimode fibers or even single mode fibers.

There are many tools available to pull the vertical backbone fiber cables. These include Gopher poles, cable caster pulling tools or fish tapes. And usually you need to install a pulling eye to protect the fiber cables and connectors while pulling the fiber cables.

How to terminate a backbone vertical fiber optic cable?

The backbone fiber optic cables come in without termination (connector). You usually need to terminate these fibers with fiber optic connectors such as ST, SC or LC connectors.

The termination steps are not extremely difficult but it does require some extensive training before you can do a fairly good job.

Fiber optic termination tools

The tools needed for fiber terminations are fiber optic cable strippers, Kevlar cutters, fiber cleavers, ST, SC, LC or MTRJ fiber optic connectors, fiber connector hand polishing puck, fiber polishing films and fiber inspection microscope.

Fiber optic cable termination steps

1. Strip the fiber

Fiber cables come with 3mm jacket, Kevlar strength member and 0.9mm buffer coating. To get to the 0.125mm fiber cladding, you need to remove the 3mm jacket with a fiber jacket stripper, then cut the Kevlar fibers with a Kevlar cutter, finally strip the 0.9mm buffer down to 0.125mm cladding with a fiber optic stripper.

2. Cleave the fiber

After stripping the fiber down to 0.125mm cladding, you insert the fiber into a SC, ST or LC connector, and then inject some fiber optic epoxy into the connector with a syringe.

You will then lay the connector into a hot oven to cure the fiber epoxy so it can hold the fiber tightly.

After the curing process, you cleave extra fibers from the connector tip with a fiber optic cleaver.

3. Hand polishing the fiber

In the next step, you put the connector (already with fiber fixed inside) into a hand polishing puck, which serves as a fixture while you polish the end face of the connector to get a high quality mirror like finish.

You then hold the polishing puck and polish the connector on a connector lapping film in a figure 8 shape for 10~15 times.

Repeat the hand polishing steps stepping from 12um, 3um and 0.5um lapping films.

4. Fiber termination quality inspection

The final step is to inspect the quality of your work. You insert the finished connector into a fiber optic inspection microscope which zooms to 200 to 400 time level to show you all the scratches and pits that may exist on the connector end face. If everything looks perfect, then you can connector your fiber into the network.

This only touches the surface of building a fiber optic network. We have tons of information on our web site. Follow the links below to discover even more!
About the Author
Find out how to use fiber optic tools, fiber optic termination tools , fiber stripping tools and more like a professional on our web site!
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