A Guide to Patch Cord Management

A Guide to Patch Cord Management
SYSTIMAX® Solutions
A Guide to Patch Cord Management
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Contents
A Guide to Patch Cord Management
1
Best Practice for Copper Cabling
2
2
3
4
5
Planning
Preparation
Patching
Validation
Best Practice for Fiber Cabling
Planning
Preparation
Patching
Validation
6
7
8
9
10
General Management
11
11
11
12
13
14
Labeling
Labeling Optical Fibers Cross Connects Change Requests
Record Keeping Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions Appendix A
15
Appendix B
17
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2
A Guide to Patch Cord Management
Patch cords have the potential to be the weakest link in copper and fiber network infrastructures.
It is essential to follow correct procedures in administration of copper and fiber patch cords to
achieve optimum performance and reliability. Applying best practice at every stage will also
minimize costs related to moves, adds and changes.
CommScope through its SYSTIMAX® portfolio offers a wide range of end-to-end high performance
copper and optical fiber solutions that include patch cords optimized to deliver guaranteed channel
performance and applications support. The use of the appropriate SYSTIMAX patch cords is critical
to achieving optimal channel performance. The SYSTIMAX 20 Year Extended Product Warranty and
Applications Assurance covers installations designed and installed by an authorized BusinessPartner
in accordance with the applicable design, engineering and installation guidelines, including the use
of appropriate SYSTIMAX patch cords.
With some solutions, cross-connect wire (jumper wire) can be used for voice connections. This should be managed
in the same careful manner as patch cords.
Best practice in managing patch cords can be divided into four parts:
• Planning
• Preparation
• Patching
• Validation
Planning
Validation
Preparation
Patching
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1
Best Practice for Copper Cabling
Planning
The Change Request
Administration activities, moves, adds, or changes (MACs), are initiated with a change request. The change request
must contain all necessary information to begin the planning process. (See General Management section below.)
Searching the Records
Once a request form is received, search the records to be sure of the circuit path. The floor plans provided by the system
designer should show backbone/riser cables, telecommunications rooms (TRs)/floor distributors (FDs ), and work area
outlets (WAOs). Any changes or additions made since your cabling infrastructure was installed should also have been
documented. If the records are stored in a database, a different screen can be displayed for each user. This screen
should supply you with the information you need, including the riser and horizontal pairs serving the particular WAO
and the locations of available pairs.
Check Design Guidelines and Match Cords
Make sure you know the specifications and design of your cabling infrastructure, since the use of lower performing
copper patch cords will have the effect of limiting end-to-end performance. Maximum end-to-end channel
performance is only possible when the cord is matched to the cabling.
Routing, Patch Cord Lengths and Density
Efficient Routing
To establish the correct cord length, first find the best route between the ports to be connected. This is usually the
shortest route through horizontal and vertical cable guides that does not obstruct or interfere with other cords and
connectors in the panel.
Avoid routing cords through cable pathways that are already congested. Examples of cable pathways are:
• 1U and 2U horizontal patch cord management guides
• horizontal retaining bars
• vertical cable management channels
• cable trays
• wiring baskets
Vertical and Horizontal Sizing
Having established the best route for the cord, find the minimum required length by adding the horizontal and
vertical distances.
Minimizing Slack
When selecting a cord, to make a cross connection, avoid excessive slack and provide a neat appearance. Tight cords
will pull on connectors and too much slack complicates cord management, making the panel harder to work on.
Efficient Management
Ensure you have cords of the right length available and that panels are fitted with cable management accessories.
Cord management guides and/or integrated cord management features are available for most SYSTIMAX
patching solutions.
In general, a 1U horizontal patch cord management guide supports a 24-port panel while 2U supports a 48-port
panel. However, there may be some variation in this where the panel includes integrated cord management features.
Maintaining Old with New
Take care not to mix up cords of different cabling categories. Patch cords may be mechanically compatible across
old and new cabling but, in any circuit, the component with the lowest specifications will determine end-to-end
performance. For instance, when a Category 5e/Class D cord is used to connect Category 6/Class E cabling,
the channel will only deliver Category 5e/Class D performance in accordance with TIA and ISO/IEC standards.
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2
Preparation
To minimize disconnect time, do as much preparation as possible before performing administration activities.
Study Administrative Records
Locate the ports that must be connected or reconnected. Ensure technicians have all the information they need,
including the labeling information for the ports involved.
Cord Inspection
It is essential to ensure cords are of the right type and quality, and that they are clean and in good condition
especially when reusing patch cords.
Patch Cords should be inspected for physical damage including:
• stress marks from bending on the sheath
• pullout of conductors from the plug
• pin contamination on plug end
• bent or missing pins on plug end
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3
Patching
Once work on a panel is started, it should be completed without delay using best practice at each stage.
Cord Handling
Kinks, snags, pinches and poor contacts can dramatically reduce the performance of a patch cord. The following
factors are important in avoiding these problems.
Bend Radius
The minimum bend radius specified by standards is two times the diameter of the cordage and four times the
diameter of the cable under no-load. The SYSTIMAX bend radius guidelines are 25 mm (1 inch) for PowerSUM and
GigaSPEED XL cords, and two times the cord diameter for GigaSPEED X10D cords. Anything less may change the
relative position of conductors to the point where transmission performance is reduced.
Cord Pulling and Stress
Be careful not to use excessive force during the patching process. This can stress cords and connectors, reducing
their performance. If you need to use force in pulling a cord, something is wrong. Find the problem and fix it before
proceeding.
Bundling
Bundling and tying cords gives the panel a neat appearance but tight bundling increases the risk of crosstalk.
Take care not to tighten ties to the point where individual cords cannot rotate freely with them. Use only products
manufactured for this purpose, and consider the use of products that can be re-used without the use of tools such as
“hook and loop” strapping.
Routing Cords Through Cable Pathways
If the existing cord is the right length, it may be possible to re-use it when re-routing a connection. If this is the case,
remove the cord completely and re-run it in through the cable pathways. This is the only way to ensure there are no
tangles, kinks or strains.
Unused Cords
Any unused cords and jumper wires should always be carefully removed from patch panels.
Steps in Removing and Adding Cords
Removing a patch cord
1. locate the existing circuit on both fields of the TR/FD or equipment room (ER)2. unplug the patch cord at one end
3. gently lift the cord straight up, taking up slack until its movement is detected
4. follow the cord routing, gently removing it along its length from the cable pathways
5. find the other end and unplug it
6. fully remove the cord
Adding a patch cord
1. identify the location of the new circuit
2. plug in one end of the patch cord to the outlet, patch panel port or block
3. at the field nearest to the switch and/or computer port field, locate the appropriate new point
4. plug in the other end of the patch cord
5. route the cord along its length into the cable pathways
In some cases, one end of the cord will remain plugged into the same port.Although it may not be necessary to
unplug that end, it is important to remove the cord along its length from the cable pathways, to minimize the chance
of snags and/or tangles that will make future administration difficult.
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4
Validation
Final Visual Inspection and Panel Closure
Patching must be right the first time since mistakes can cause costly disruption and re-work. The time taken to make
a final visual check of connections is a good investment. When patch panels are mounted in enclosures, ensure
these are securely closed and, where necessary, locked, making sure that cord slack is not snagged or pinched
by the doors.
Update Documentation
The final step is to update the documentation to the as-built configuration and close the work order associated
with the completed change request.
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5
Best Practice for Fiber Cabling
The principles of good management for fiber cords are similar to those for copper. However, there
are special considerations with optical fiber, and extra care is needed in some areas.
Planning
Administration activities (MAC’s) are initiated with a change request. The change request must contain all necessary
information to begin the planning process. (See General Management section below.)
Searching the Records
Once a request form is received, search the records to be sure of the circuit path. The floor plans provided by the
system designer should show backbone/riser cables, TRs/FDs and lOs. Any changes or additions made since your
cabling infrastructure was installed should also have been documented. If the records are stored in a database,
a different screen can be displayed for each user. This screen should supply you with the information you need,
including the riser and horizontal fiber pairs serving the particular WAO and the locations of available fiber.
Check Design Guidelines and Match Cords
Make sure you know the specifications and design of your fiber cabling. Ensure you have patch cords matched to the
installed cabling, since optical fiber cords of different types should not be mixed.
Efficient Routing
The first step in choosing a cord of the correct length is to determine the best route between its points of connection.
This is usually the shortest route through horizontal and vertical cable pathways that does not obstruct or interfere with
other cords and connectors on the panel.
Avoid running cords through cable pathways that are already congested.
Vertical and Horizontal Sizing
Having established the best route for the cord, find the required length by adding the horizontal and
vertical distances.
Minimizing Slack
When selecting a cord to make a cross connection, avoid excessive slack and provide a neat appearance.
Tight cords will pull on connectors and too much slack complicates cord management, making the panel more
difficult to work on.
Efficient Management
Ensure you have cords of the right length available and that panels are fitted with correct cable
management accessories.
In general, a horizontal patch cord management guide is needed for every two rack units, depending on the type of
optical patch panel or lightguide interconnect unit (LIU).
At the optical patch panel or LIU, route patch cords equally toward both sides of the vertical cable management
channels to prevent overloading one side.
Maintaining Old with New
Take care not to mix up cords of different core diameters. Additionally, cords must be of the same or higher
bandwidth as the behind-the-wall cabling. System performance regarding distances cannot be guaranteed if lower
rated patch cords are used. Color-coding of connectors for different fiber standards make it easy to avoid confusion.
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6
Core Diameter
Fiber patch cords must use the same core diameter as the trunk cable. A large attenuation penalty will occur when
using a 62.5µm patch cord with a 50µm trunk cable fiber or vice versa. Single mode fiber patch cords should use
fiber with the same Mode Field Diameter as the trunk cable fiber.
Factory-terminated vs. Field-polished
Factory-terminated cords guarantee fiber patches with optimum performance. Field polished cords are not covered
by warranties and are likely to deliver lower performance and variable quality.
Fiber Safety Precautions and Responsibilities
The lasers that carry information through fiber cables may cause irreparable damage to the retina. Always avoid
looking directly into an energized optical fiber, and never attach a microscope or other magnifying device to an
energized optical fiber. Always wear appropriate eye protection and ensure that unused ports are covered.
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7
Preparation
To minimize disconnect time, do as much preparation as possible before performing administration activities.
Study Administrative Records
Locate the ports that must be connected or reconnected. Ensure technicians have clear information on what they need
to do, including labeling information for the ports involved.
Cord Inspection
It is essential to ensure cords are of the right type and quality, and that they are clean and in good condition.
Fiber patch cords should be inspected for physical damage including:
• stress marks from bending on the sheath
• pullout of fibers from the connector
• cracks or scratches on fiber end in connector using a fiber examination microscope
Cleanliness is vital in fiber optic connections so special care is needed with:
• connector ends on patch cords
• connector ends on panels
• connector ends on network equipment
For detailed information on how to clean ST, SC, LC and MPO connectors see APPENDIX A. Materials that will be
needed include:
• cassettes for connector ends
• lint-free wipes
• cleaning stick for behind the wall (BTW) MPOs
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8
Patching
Once work on a panel is started, it should be completed without delay using best practice at each stage.
Cord Handling
Kinks, snags, pinches and poor contacts can dramatically reduce the performance of a fiber patch cord.
The following factors are important in avoiding these problems.
Bend Radius
The minimum bend radius for optical fiber patch cords varies with cord diameter. For 1.6 mm and 3.0 mm cords the
minimum un-loaded bend radius is 1.4 in (3.5 cm), and for InstaPATCH Plus MPO patch cords, the minimum bend
radius is ten times the cord diameter. Exceeding the bend radius can result in significant additional loss and adverse
impact on channel performance.
Cord Pulling and Stress
Be careful not to use excessive force during the patching process. This can stress cords and connectors, reducing
their performance. If you need to use force in pulling a cord, something is wrong. Find the problem and fix it
before proceeding.
Bundling
Bundling and tying cords gives the panel a neat appearance but tight bundling increases the risk of pinching.
Do not tighten ties beyond the point where individual cords can rotate freely. Use only products manufactured
for this purpose, and consider the use of products that can be re-used without the use of tools such as “hook and
loop” strapping.
Routing Cords Through Cable Pathways
If the existing cord is the right length, it may be possible to re-use it. If this is the case, remove the cord completely
and re-run it in through the cable pathways. This is the only sure way to ensure there are no tangles, kinks or strains
in the cord.
Steps in Removing and Adding Cords
Removing a patch cord
1. locate the existing circuit on both fields of the TR/FD or equipment room (ER)
2. unplug the patch cord at one end and cover the connector endface(s) with a dust cap
3. cover the open port with a dust cover - some adapter ports have spring-loaded covers that automatically cover the port
4. gently lift the cord straight up, taking up slack until its movement is detected
5. follow the cord routing, gently removing it along its length from the cable pathways
6. find the other end and unplug it
7. fully remove the cord
Adding a patch cord
1. identify the location of the new circuit
2. plug one end of the patch cord into the fiber coupling
3. route the patch cord
4. at the field nearest to the switch and/or computer port field, locate the new connecting point
5. plug the other end of the patch cord into the fiber coupling
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9
Validation
Final Visual Inspection and Panel Closure
Patching must be right first time since mistakes can cause costly disruption and re-work. The time taken to make a final
visual check on connections is a good investment. When patch panels are mounted in enclosures, ensure these are
securely closed and, where necessary, locked, making sure that cord slack is not snagged or pinched by the doors.
Update Documentation
The final step is to update the documentation to the as-built configuration and close the work order associated with
the completed change request.
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General Management
Labeling
Administration and Labeling for UTP and Fiber Optic Connecting Hardware and Cords should conform to TIA-606-B
- Administration and Labeling Standard and Addenda. Cabling system administration, labeling and records are also
covered in ISO/IEC 14763-1.
Labeling is the most important part of a System Administrator’s responsibilities. At any administration point in a cabling
infrastructure, including patching panels, accurate labels are essential. These will identify pair modularity and tell
technicians where the other end of the cable is terminated.
TIA-606-B requires that labels are visible and durable. They must be easily read by anyone carrying out work on the
panel and have a design life at least as long as the patching hardware. Hand written labels are unacceptable, they
must be printed by a mechanical device designed for the purpose.
Most patching panels have provision for inserting labels between the wiring blocks. These labels are color-coded
to identify the origins of cables and include alphanumeric codes to provide additional information about the
connections. On a port, for instance, they might identify the cabinet number, the shelf and the circuit board to
which that particular set of patch cords is connected.
TIA-606-B specifies the color-coding regime shown below
Termination type
Color
Pantone #
Typical Application
demarcation point
orange
150C
central office connection
network connection
green
353C
user side of central office connection
common equipment
purple
264C
connections to PBX, mainframe computer, LAN, multiplexer
key system
red
184C
connections to key telephone systems
first level backbone
white
second level backbones
gray
422C
termination of building backbone cable connecting ICs to HCs
campus backbone
brown
465C
termination of backbone cable between buildings
horizontal
blue
291C
terminations of horizontal cable in TC’s
miscellaneous
yellow
101C
alarms, security, or energy management
terminations of building backbone cable connecting MC to ICs
Some Information may be preprinted on labels supplied with the patch panel, but the Installer is usually responsible
for supplying additional data.
Labeling Optical Fiber Cross Connects
Unlike labels for copper cross connects, optical fiber labels are not color-coded. However, fiber connectors may be
color-coded to avoid joining fibers of different core size or type, which dramatically reduces throughput. Refer to
ANSI/TIA-568-C.3 and/or ISO/IEC 11801 for requirements and recommendations for color-coding of multimode
and single mode connectors.
Instead of being inserted in a plastic strip, fiber labeling is often affixed to nearby surfaces such as a module door.
Information on the labels may include:
• location of the far end of the fiber, e.g. the closest point to the optical connection in question, where the fiber either
appears on a cross connect, appears on a wall or floor connector, or is connected to a piece of wall equipment
• building room number
• cable type
• cable length
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The figure below gives an example of the information contained on a fiber cross-connect label found in Room 3K-326
in Building 3
CBL # 15
62.5 Micron
Destination: Room 1A -313,Column C, Building 1
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
1A -313-1-C -01
1A -313-1-C -02
1A -313-1-C -03
1A -313-1-C -04
1A -313-1-C -05
1A -313-1-C -06
1A -313-1-C -07
1A -313-1-C -08
1A -313-1-C -09
1A -313-1-C -10
1A -313-1-C -11
1A -313-1-C -12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
1A -313-1-C -13
1A -313-1-C -14
1A -313-1-C -15
1A -313-1-C -16
1A -313-1-C -17
1A -313-1-C -18
1A -313-1-C -19
1A -313-1-C -20
1A -313-1-C -21
1A -313-1-C -22
1A -313-1-C -23
1A -313-1-C -24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
1A -313-1-C -25
1A -313-1-C -26
1A -313-1-C -27
1A -313-1-C -28
1A -313-1-C -29
1A -313-1-C -30
1A -313-1-C -31
1A -313-1-C -32
1A -313-1-C -33
1A -313-1-C -34
1A -313-1-C -35
1A -313-1-C -36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
1A -313-1-C -37
1A -313-1-C -38
1A -313-1-C -39
1A -313-1-C -40
1A -313-1-C -41
1A -313-1-C -42
1A -313-1-C -43
1A -313-1-C -44
1A -313-1-C -45
1A -313-1-C -46
1A -313-1-C -47
1A -313-1-C -48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
1A -313-1-C -49
1A -313-1-C -50
1A -313-1-C -51
1A -313-1-C -52
1A -313-1-C -53
1A -313-1-C -54
1A -313-1-C -55
1A -313-1-C -56
1A -313-1-C -57
1A -313-1-C -58
1A -313-1-C -59
1A -313-1-C -60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
1A -313-1-C -61
1A -313-1-C -62
1A -313-1-C -63
1A -313-1-C -64
1A -313-1-C -65
1A -313-1-C -66
1A -313-1-C -67
1A -313-1-C -68
1A -313-1-C -69
1A -313-1-C -70
1A -313-1-C -71
1A -313-1-C -72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
Room 3K -326
1A -313-1-C -73
1A -313-1-C -74
1A -313-1-C -75
1A -313-1-C -76
1A -313-1-C -77
1A -313-1-C -78
1A -313-1-C -79
1A -313-1-C -80
1A -313-1-C -81
1A -313-1-C -82
1A -313-1-C -83
1A -313-1-C -84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
Building 3
Location
The information on the label refers to room 1A-313 of Building 1,
Column C, and the far end fiber number (ie 1A-313-1-C-64).
1A -313-1-C -85
1A -313-1-C -86
1A -313-1-C -87
1A -313-1-C -88
1A -313-1-C -89
1A -313-1-C -90
1A -313-1-C -91
1A -313-1-C -92
1A -313-1-C -93
1A -313-1-C -94
1A -313-1-C -95
1A -313-1-C -96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
1A -313-1-C -97
1A -313-1-C -98
1A -313-1-C -99
1A -313-1-C -100
1A -313-1-C -101
1A -313-1-C -102
1A -313-1-C -103
1A -313-1-C -104
1A -313-1-C -105
1A -313-1-C -106
1A -313-1-C -107
1A -313-1-C -108
109
61111101
62111123
114
63115
116
64117
118
65119
120
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
1A -313-1-C -109
121
1A -313-1-C -121
1A -313-1-C1122-236111AA--331133--11--CC --112223
1A -313-1-C -110
1A -313-1-C -111
1A -313-1-C -112
124
1A -313-1-C -124
1A -313-1-C12-5621A-313-1-C -125
1A -313-1-C -113
1A -313-1-C -114
126
1A -313-1-C -126
1A -313-1-C12-7631A-313-1-C -127
1A -313-1-C -115
1A -313-1-C -116
128
1A -313-1-C -128
1A -313-1-C12-9641A-313-1-C -129
1A -313-1-C -117
1A -313-1-C -118
130
1A -313-1-C -130
1A -313-1-C13-1651A-313-1-C -131
1A -313-1-C -119
1A -313-1-C -120
132
1A -313-1-C -132
1A -313-1-C -66
1A -313-1-C -67
1A -313-1-C -68
1A -313-1-C -69
1A -313-1-C -70
1A -313-1-C -71
1A -313-1-C -72
133
71133345
71143367
138
71539
140
71641
142
71743
144
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
1A -313-1-C -133
1A -313-1-C -
1A -313-1-C -134
1A -313-1-C -135
1A -313-1-C -136
1A -313-1-C -
1A -313-1-C -137
1A -313-1-C -138
1A -313-1-C -
1A -313-1-C -139
1A -313-1-C -140
1A -313-1-C -
1A -313-1-C -141
1A -313-1-C -142
1A -313-1-C -
1A -313-1-C -143
1A -313-1-C -144
1A -313-1-C -
1A -313-1-C 1A -313-1-C 1A -313-1-C 1A -313-1-C 1A -313-1-C 1A -313-1-C -
Note: If the TR/FD does not have a formal room number within the building, the room number should reflect the
informal TR/FD numbering system, which is described in the permanent records kept for each site. The fiber type is
62µm (i.e., 62.5/125 micron), cable 15 is the optical fiber cable between Room 3K-326 Building 3 and Room
1A-313, Building 1, and it is identified by the color code for red.
Change Requests
The starting point for all MACs is the Change Request. The process for raising and recording this request must be
simple, efficient and rigidly enforced.
Fundamental to this is designing a plain, simple change request form. This is the basic input document for the change
management system and if it suffers from omissions or errors the whole change process may fail.
Whether the form is paper-based or electronic, time spent on designing it to capture all the necessary information and
minimize risk errors is a good investment.
Key information includes: names of staff making and authorizing requests, date, unique identifier number, services
involved and of work required and location of connections. The form can also provide space for information about
the user’s current service or this data can be obtained from your records.
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Record Keeping
It is vital to keep records of all patching changes for reference during fault-finding and future moves, adds and
changes. The records must include information on where cables go, what applications they support and how many
pairs are available as spares. The labeling plan (see labeling section above) tells technicians the source of every
cable by simply looking at the outlet or wiring block. In addition, the record system must allow users to track the
equipment attached to those cables.
For horizontal links, TIA-606-B states that the following records may be kept:
a) horizontal link identifier (primary indexing identifier, e.g. 1A-A47)
b) cable type (e.g. 4-pair, UTP, Category 6, plenum)
c) location of telecommunications outlet/connector (room, office, or grid location)
d) outlet connector type (e.g. 8-position modular, T568-B wiring, Category 6)
e) cable length (e.g. 51m/166ft)
f) cross-connect hardware type (e.g. 48-port modular patch panel, T568-B wiring, Category 6)
Record systems can be set up using paper-based logbooks, spreadsheets or specialist software. The principles of
completeness and clarity apply in all cases; it must always be easy to relate connectors and cords to the devices
and services they support.
The easier it is to search records of connections, the easier and quicker it is to manage patch cords. For larger
systems, this gives a big advantage to software-based methods that allow machine searching of the records.
Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions
Network connections live or die in crowded data centers, wiring closets and telecom rooms, where a single
misplaced patch cord can wreak havoc and increase downtime.
Intelligent Infrastructure management solutions are designed to help manage patching and patch cords. They can
help organizations respond to growing pressures to get MACs done more quickly with fewer resources.
The SYSTIMAX iPatch® Intelligent Infrastructure Solution integrates copper and fiber patching hardware with system
control software to help monitor, document, and administer a complete communications infrastructure. Every port
connection is continuously monitored, verified and logged in a central database, giving an immediate alert to
any changes.
The system enables simple adherence to the best practices of planning, preparation, execution and validation of
changes. Electronic work orders replace paper-based administration and improve productivity. Work is guided at
each patch panel by electronic visual and audible prompts, helping to eliminate patching errors. Local and remote
monitoring and information display further enhance productivity and ease of use.
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Appendix A
Cleaning and Inspection of Optical Fiber Connectors
Cleanliness of fiber optic connections is critical to the performance of optical communication networks. Contamination
on a connector end face, even if only at the microscopic level, can create severe problems. Traditional singlemode
fiber optic core diameters are approximately 9 microns (0.00035 inches). By comparison, a human hair is 50
microns or larger in diameter. Contamination that blocks the fiber core generates strong back reflections (Return
Loss), and may effect attenuation (Insertion Loss). Loose contamination on the connector end face that may not block
the core may move during de-mating, or may prevent physical glass-to-glass contact required for proper signal
transmission. Rigid contamination trapped between connector end faces may permanently damage the fiber core(s).
Dry contaminates are relatively simple to remove compared to oils and films which naturally occur with human
contact, vapor condensation, and solvent evaporation. CommScope offers a complete Fiber Optic Connector
Cleaning and Inspection Kit (Material ID 760053199) and a Fiber Optic Connector Consumable Kit (Material ID
760053207) that can service SC, ST, LC and MPO connectors.
Below is a list of basic cleaning steps and recommendations for each connector type. After cleaning, always
inspect the connector end face with an appropriate microscope to verify that it is free of dirt, smudges and/
or scratches. For complete instructions covering the use of the CommScope Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning and
Inspection Kit, please refer to the CommScope Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning and Inspection Kit instruction sheet
(document 860 376 037).
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Cleaning Single Fiber Connectors (LC/SC/ST) and Adapters
Connector Ferrule – Exposed Endface
Dry Cleaning: Using reel-based cassette cleaner with medium pressure, wipe connector endface against dry cleaning
cloth (single swipe per exposure) in one direction. For angled physical contact (APC) polished connectors, ensure that
entire endface surface mates with the cleaning cloth. Dry cleaning will generally remove airborne contamination and
should be attempted first. Inspect connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
Another method is to use single fiber In-bulkhead cleaners (I.B.C) that are especially designed for both physical
contact (PC) and angled physical contact (APC) polished connectors. These devices feed a cleaning cloth across a
head while the head rotates. Cleaning cloth is advanced to ensure it is clean. Install connector into a clean adapter
and after inserting cleaner tip inside the adapter from the opposite end, press lever to initiate cleaning. Some single
fiber IBC cleaners offer intuitive cleaning with audible click when engaged. Always inspect connector endface for
contamination after cleaning.
Wet Cleaning: Lightly moisten portion of a lint free wipe with fiber optic cleaning solution (or > 91% Isopropyl
Alcohol) and by applying medium pressure, first wipe endface against wet area and then onto dry area to clean
potential residue from the endface. For APC polished connectors, ensure entire endface surface mates with the
cleaning wipes. Wet cleaning is more aggressive than dry cleaning, and will remove airborne contamination as
well as light oil residue and films. Perform dry cleaning as described above after wet cleaning and inspect connector
endface for contamination after cleaning.
Caution: Always clean sides and tip of ferrule. Core alignment may be affected if ferrule is not thoroughly cleaned.
Connector Ferrule – Bulkhead Adapter Application
Dry Cleaning: Insert appropriate size cleaning stick tip into the adapter until a contact is made with the connector
on the opposite end. Cleaning sticks are available for both 1.25 mm ferrule connectors (LCs) and 2.5 mm ferrule
connectors (SC and ST). Rotate the cleaning stick with medium pressure in one circular motion as it is pulled from the
adapter. Inspect endface for any contamination after cleaning.
Another method is to use In-bulkhead cleaners (I.B.C) that are especially designed for both physical contact (PC)
and angled physical contact (APC) polished connectors. Insert cleaner tip inside the adapter until a contact is made
with the connector on opposite end and press lever to initiate cleaning. Some single fiber IBC cleaners offer intuitive
cleaning with audible click when engaged. Inspect connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
Wet Cleaning: Insert a lightly moistened appropriate size cleaning stick tip with fiber optic cleaning solution (or
> 91% Isopropyl alcohol) into the adapter until a contact is made with the connector on opposite end. Rotate the
cleaning stick with medium pressure in one circular motion as it is pulled from the adapter. Follow up with a dry
cleaning stick and complete with dry cleaning method using In-bulkhead- cleaners (I.B.C). Always inspect connector
endface for contamination after cleaning.
Caution: Discard cleaning sticks after each use. Do not turn the cleaning stick back and forth pressing against
connector endface, this may cause scratches if a large contamination is present.
Single Fiber Adapters – Exposed/Bulkhead Adapter Application
Dry Cleaning: For both exposed and connector mated adapter, insert dry adapter cleaning stick (or fiber adapter
sleeve brush) inside the adapter and pull out with twisting motion, cleaning inside surface of alignment sleeve. After
cleaning adapter with connector installed on one end, inspect connector endface for contamination.
Wet Cleaning: For both exposed and connector mated adapter, insert adapter cleaning stick (or fiber adapter sleeve
brush) moistened with fiber optic cleaning solution (or > 91% Isopropyl Alcohol) inside the adapter and pull out with
twisting motion, cleaning inside surface of alignment sleeves. Follow up with a dry swab. After cleaning adapter with
connector installed on one end, inspect connector endface for contamination.
Caution: Discard cleaning sticks after each use. Do not rotate the cleaning stick back and forth while pressed against
connector endface; this may cause scratches if a large contamination is present.
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Cleaning Multi-Fiber Array Connector (MPO) and Adapter
Connector Ferrule – Exposed Endface
Dry Cleaning: Using reel-based cassette cleaner with medium pressure, wipe against dry cleaning cloth (single
swipe per exposure) in one direction. There are special cleaners available, which can be used for the pinned and
the unpinned (PC and APC polished) MPO connectors. For APC MPO connectors, ensure that entire endface surface
mates with the cleaning cloth. Dry cleaning will generally remove airborne contamination and should be attempted
first. Always inspect connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
Another method is to use reel based MPO In-bulkhead cleaner (IBC) especially designed for cleaning both the
pinned and the unpinned (PC and APC polished) MPO connectors. Insert MPO connector into the cap at the tip
into the cleaner, and rotate the cleaner wheel to clean the connector endface. Always inspect connector endface for
contamination after cleaning.
Wet Cleaning: For unpinned MPO connector, lightly moisten lint free wipe with fiber optic cleaning solution (or
> 91% Isopropyl Alcohol) and by applying medium pressure, wipe endface of the MPO connector in a direction
perpendicular to fiber array. Repeat process using dry lint-free wipe. For APC MPO connectors, ensure that entire
endface surface mates with the cleaning cloth. Follow up with dry cleaning using MPO In-bulkhead cleaner (IBC) as
described above and always inspect connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
For wet cleaning of pinned MPO connector, fold the moistened wipe and using creased portion with medium
pressure, wipe endface of the MPO connector in a direction perpendicular to fiber array. Repeat process using dry
lint-free wipe. For APC MPO connectors, ensure that entire endface surface mates with the cleaning cloth. Follow up
with dry cleaning using MPO In-bulkhead cleaner (IBC) as described above and always inspect connector endface
for contamination after cleaning.
Another wet cleaning method for both pinned and unpinned MPO connector is to use lightly moistened 2.5 mm SC/
ST cleaning stick tip with fiber optic cleaning solution (or > 91% Isopropyl alcohol). With damp tip, clean the pins by
holding the tip parallel to pins such that the tip end contacts ferrule. Applying medium pressure, wipe the cylindrical
surface of the pins, the connector endface in direction perpendicular to fiber array and all the way around each
pin. Repeat process using dry cleaning stick tip. Follow up with dry cleaning as described above. Always inspect
connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
Caution: To prevent scratching the end face, always clean the MPO connectors with a cleaning motion from top
to bottom perpendicular to fiber array. Never clean the MPO connector by rubbing across it from side to side
(parallel to fiber array). Discard cleaning sticks after each use.
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Connector Ferrule – Bulkhead Adapter Application
Dry Cleaning: Insert the tip of In-bulkhead cleaners (IBC), especially designed for both the pinned and the unpinned
(PC and APC polished) MPO connectors, inside the MPO adapter and rotate the cleaner wheel to clean the
connector endface. Inspect connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
Wet Cleaning: Lightly moistened 2.5 mm SC/ST cleaning stick tip with fiber optic cleaning solution (or > 91%
Isopropyl alcohol) into the adapter until a contact is made with the connector on opposite end. Clean the pins by
holding the tip parallel to pins such that the tip end contacts ferrule and wipe the cylindrical surface of the pins.
Applying medium pressure, wipe the end face in direction perpendicular to fiber array and all the way around each
pin. Follow up with dry cleaning stick tip and tip and complete with dry cleaning using MPO In-bulkhead cleaner
(IBC) as described above. Always inspect connector endface for contamination after cleaning.
Caution: Discard cleaning sticks after each use. Do not turn the cleaning stick back and forth pressing against
connector endface; this may cause scratches if a large contamination is present.
MPO Adapter - Exposed/ Bulkhead Adapter Application
Wet Cleaning: Remove MPO connectors from adapters. Wipe inside surface with cleaning stick moistened with fiber
optic cleaning solution (or > 91% Isopropyl Alcohol). Follow up with dry cleaning stick. After cleaning adapter with
connector installed on one end, inspect connector endface for contamination.
Warning
As compressed air products have the potential to deposit moisture and propellant debris on critical optical surface,
Commscope does not recommend the use of any canned air product when cleaning a fiber optic connector surface.
Note: All other manufacturer’s equipment and devices that are part of the system installation should be cleaned according to the appropriate
manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures
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Appendix B
End-to-end cabling connections of all types are only as strong as their weakest link, so
you need to be sure you manage patch cords properly. Patch panels that look like this
compromise the performance and reliability of the network.
Planning - moves, adds or changes should be initiated with a change request,
which may be paper based or electronic.
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Attempting to save time by not following proper cord routing will eventually lead to
mistakes and difficulty routing and tracing cords.
The performance of the end-to-end channel is determined by the lowest performing
component. Make sure you know the specifications and design of your cabling
infrastructure, and ensure cords are matched to the cabling.
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Once you know you have the right cords, consider how they will be installed on
the patch panel. Key factors are routing, patch cord length and density. For efficient
routing, find the best path between the ports to be connected. Avoid routing cords
through troughs and guides that are already congested.
When working with optical fiber cords, pay attention to the core diameter.
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A large attenuation penalty will occur when using 62.5 micron multimode cords in a
50 micron cabling plant, and vice versa.
Singlemode cords must be used with singlemode cabling, preferably also matching the
mode field diameter of the installed fiber.
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Avoid field polished optical fiber cords. Factory terminated cords must be used to
achieve optimal performance and ensure warranty coverage.
Inspect fiber cords for physical damage including stress marks from sharp bends on the
sheath, or damage to connectors.
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Cleanliness is vital in fiber optic connections, including LC, SC and MPO connections.
Special care is needed with connector ends on patch cords, connector ends on
panels, and connector ends on network equipment. It is recommended to clean
each connector before a connection is made, using the appropriate cleaning kit
– See Appendix A.
Ensure unused optical fiber ports are covered. The lasers used in optical fiber may
cause irreparable damage to the retina. Never look into an energized fiber.
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Always maintain the correct bend radius for copper and optical cords.
Exceeding the bend radius of copper or optical fiber cords will result in adverse
impact on channel performance.
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Be careful not to use excessive force during the patching process.
This can stress cords and connectors reducing performance.
If you need to use force when pulling a cord, something is wrong. Find the problem
and fix it before proceeding.
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Correct bundling of cords is also key to efficient cord management, but take care not
to tighten ties to the point where cords cannot slide freely in the bundle. Be sure to use
products that are manufactured for this purpose.
Any unused cords should always be removed from the panel before new ones
are added.
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Accurate labeling is essential. Labels should be visible and durable, and easily read
by anyone carrying out work on the panel. Labels should be printed by a device
designed for the purpose.
Validation - time taken to make a final visual inspection is a good investment since
mistakes can cause costly disruption and re-work. When patch panels are mounted
in enclosures, ensure these are securely closed and, where necessary, locked. Finally,
update system documentation and close the work order associated with the completed
change request.
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www.commscope.com
Visit our Web site or contact your local CommScope
representative for more information.
© 2011 CommScope, Inc. All rights reserved.
All trademarks identified by ® or ™ are registered trademarks or
trademarks, respectively, of CommScope, Inc.
This document is for planning purposes only and is not intended
to modify or supplement any specifications or warranties
relating to CommScope products or services.
MI 101 06/11
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