Bend radius violations and poor cable routing can cost you thousands of dollars in a short amount of time. Trying to cut corners during installation eats away at your operating expenses because you’re suffering network maintenance and downtime. Then there’s all those ticked-off customers …
This is the second in a Telect blog series, entitled The A-B-Cs of Cable Management. Product Specialist Alex Sankey tackles the subject of bend radius.
Bend radius of fiber optic cables is the measured radius of the inside arc of the fiber as it is being bent. Not only is it imperative to keep proper bend radius, the way in which you do so is also critical.
Keeping bend radius around a smooth corner as opposed to a sharp corner can help keep the fiber healthy over the long term and prevent attenuation of the signal. Even though bend radius might be met around a sharp corner, the corner can cause the fiber to incur microfractures.
That can lead to big trouble.
According to a Ponemon Institute survey, the average cost of an unplanned datacenter outage was $7,900 in 2013 — up from $5,600 in 2010, demonstrating the increase in what downtime costs in OPEX.
Most fiber cable suppliers will have a spec on what constitutes proper bend radius in for their specific cable, but the EIA/TIA also has standard 568 which states:
ISP horizontal cables with two to four fibers require a 25 mm bend radius
All other inside plant cable should not bend more than 10 times the outside diameter (OD) of the cable while not under tension, and 15x the diameter while under the maximum pulling tension.
Outside plant cable should maintain a bend radius of 20 times the OD of the cable under max pulling tension, and 10x in normal operation.
These standards and guidelines should be followed while installing any fiber in a network, but more importantly they should be in consideration during the purchasing process of any fiber distribution panel.
Making sure your fiber is guided around a proper bend radius can save a lot of money, headache and network repair in the future.
What can happen if fiber bend radius is violated? Improper bend radius can have a detrimental impact on the fiber and, ultimately, your network. When fiber becomes bent at too extreme of a radius, the fiber can induce microbending and macrobending.
Microbending occurs when the cable is deformed or kinked, causing light attenuation in the fiber. This attenuation results in disruption on the network, possibly leading to information loss or, in extreme cases, network outages.
Macrobending occurs when the fiber is bent to an extreme, causing the glass in the fiber to form microfractures. These microfractures in the glass allow the light that is travelling through the glass to leak into the cladding of the fiber and the cladding absorbs the signal.
The result is network disruption … and angry customers.
Angry customers who, after facing your average recovery time of almost two hours, take the time to express their displeasure at customer service reps.
By protecting your fiber and maintaining proper bend radius, you can save a lot of time, headache … and money. Making sure your equipment and infrastructure comply with bend radius protocol will keep you up and running, turning your smart decisions around bend radius into profit from happy customers.
Alex Sankey is a Product Specialist at Telect. He is driven to ensure our customers continue to receive the quality support for which Telect is known.
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