Repair fiber optic cable?

Posted on 2006-04-20
Last Modified: 2008-02-26
Our network is Cat 5/5e, with two sections of fiber optic cable to run between buildings. Recently one of these fiber cables stopped working, I suspect a cable break or perhaps one end needs to be re-terminated.  I'm experienced with troubleshooting and fixing cat5, but have never worked with fiber.  
Opinion question: Is it worthwhile for me to take a class and buy the tools and learn how to do this myself, or just leave it to outside contractors?  we will probably be using more fiber in the near future, but I don't anticipate it being a huge amount.  I've "fixed" the fiber problem by running Cat 5 to connect the two buildings, just like the fiber does.  It works, but is not optimal.
Question by:maharlika
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    I would just hire the contractor.  I worked in an environment with about 20 buildings connected with fiber - it just doesn't break often and it's otherwise expensive equipment.
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    Repairing fiber required special tools and training.  It's not for the do-it-yourselfer.  So unless you think this is going to be a regular thing (i.e. you have or are installing a lot of fiber) just get an outside contractor to do it.  I think the tools alone (and usually they are only good for a specific make/model or fiber) are several thousand US$.
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    When you run a fiber, it is good practice to run spares.  If we need one, we run a quad and terminate them all.

    We have six people in house that have taken the fiber termination course.  Only two of them can do a reliable job.
    It is very precise work.  As jhance has said, the tools are expensive.  One item you need to do a good job is a microscope to check the end of the fiber after polishing.

    Go with a pro.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    by:Wooky Jack
    I took a network cabling class with fiber optics at Cuesta College in California and it definately isn't for the feeble minded.  Its a delicate process to work with even if you do know how to do it.  Its almost an art and its at its best when you've made your first one :)

    Take a class on it, I'm sure you will benefit, because it certainly wouldn't hurt to take one ;)
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    yeah, you are better off with hiring a contractor, besides having the ability to terminate fiber, they will also have the equipment to determine how good the termination is.   This is a must for a production system.

    You can take the course just to learn about the technology.  It won't hurt.

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Ok, I'll "pile" on also.  Get someone that has done this before.  They can tell how far out the break is, find it, patch it.  I had one go bad once do to building vibrations in a heavy mfg location.  Guy came out, found the break near one of the termination points and fixed it.

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