Engineer Gear: Fiber Connector Cleaners

This is the first in what I am sure will be many more product reviews in the future. I always tend to look to my peers for product recommendations, so I like to share when I find something good.  In this case, it was a bit of gear I added to my network toolbag. In this case, I am referring to my fiber connector cleaners. When working with fiber in a network environment, you will encounter various situations where you may not have a good connection. This commonly occurs at fiber termination points such as where fiber cables meet the end device, couple with another cable, or connect to a fiber LIU.

I recently came across some attractively priced fiber connector cleaners. This was in response to me getting a certain error on a few of my fiber uplinked switches:

%SFF8472-5-THRESHOLD_VIOLATION: Te6/1: Rx power low alarm; Operating value: -23.6 dBm, Threshold value: -19.8 dBm.

This error was a low power alarm from one of my SFP modules. My first thought to resolve the issue was to clean the ends of the each of the fiber connectors in the path between the two switches.

Solution: Fiber Connector Cleaners

SC fiber connector cleanersLC fiber connector cleaners

Goeco 2.5mm Ferrules SC/FC/ST Fiber Optic Cleaner FTTH Connector
Goeco 1.25mm Ferrules LC/MU Fiber Optic Cleaner FTTH Connector

Depending on which type of connection you have, you may need one or another of these. My environment has a mix of ST,SC, and LC fiber connections, so I needed both.

The process of using one of them is pretty simple. You just need to take the correct fiber connector cleaner for your application and push against the connector, much like a punch down phone tool (push until it clicks). Give the tool a couple clicks on each connector you have and then go ahead and connect them back up. That’s it.

This is definitely the preferred route when troubleshooting the low RX\TX power error I mentioned above. Next I would usually try swapping optics, with the last step being replacing fiber cables. So if you run into an issue with fiber RX\TX issues, these just might be the answer.

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Kevin Blackburn

Kevin Blackburn

Cisco CCNP, Senior Network Engineer in the Healthcare Industry. Currently working on my CCIE R&S which is the focus of most of my latest blog posts. #NFD15 Delegate.

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