As more and more businesses search for high-speed, global IT solutions that maximize scalability, optical fiber infrastructures have become increasingly popular. Since fiber-optic connections are powered by light instead of electrical signals, information can flow smoothly and rapidly through the network without the constant need for signal amplification, an interruption that traditional network lines often require.
However, the efficiency and integrity of your fiber-optic network can be greatly undermined by insertion loss.
What is insertion loss in optical fiber?
According to Wikipedia, insertion loss is the loss of signal power resulting from the insertion of a device in a transmission line or optical fiber. This degradation of the signal can be measured in decibels by comparing how much light is lost from one point to the next on an optical fiber.
While slight losses are normal along a large network, it’s important to understand insertion loss as fully as possible to minimize these losses.
What causes insertion loss?
MYTH: All insertion loss is the result of fiber contamination, misalignment or bad connectors.
FACTS: Insertion loss is most commonly observed in situations where fibers:
- Have been spliced together, connected, or sent through passive network components.
- Are cracked or bent.
- Are installed in complex configurations, causing tight coils or kinks.
Why should I care about insertion loss?
Insertion loss, when it becomes too great, can lead to a noticeable lag in network performance. Analyzing, testing and repairing the network in the wake of insertion loss can be costly and time-consuming.
And, of course, a slow business network leads to unhappy employers, employees and customers.
How can I prevent insertion loss?
Try following these tips:
- Make sure to keep all cable connectors clean, especially before and after installation and testing.
- Install cable carefully, avoiding any pushing or pulling that could exceed the fibers’ tensile strength.
- Minimize the number of tight bends, coils, splices and connectors in your network.
- Plan ahead! Realize that designing a smart network and investing in quality installation and materials upfront can actually save money long-term.
- Avoid field terminations, which are more susceptible to particle contamination and may result in less than acceptable polishing of fibers.
- Utilize factory terminated cabling. These terminations are made under stringent guidelines and typically include a manufacturer warranty.
Tripp Lite Fiber Cable Solutions
Tripp Lite offers an innovative selection of fiber cables, all of which have undergone insertion loss testing with results that can be easily verified on our website. Our support team is standing by for expert business solutions so you can create a reliable, quality fiber network for you and your clients.