You’ve all seen it before. You’ve been dispatched to a server room or central office to troubleshoot a network issue or upgrade equipment, and you walk into this:

An example of ineffective fiber management.
Source: justcabling.com

But multi-colored spiderwebs like this are more than just a trigger for obsessive-compulsives. When your plant looks more like fiber art than a functional fiber network, it can have an adverse effect on network performance. This article will run through what can go wrong, and some useful tips to ensure your network is performing optimally.

Why Fiber Management Matters

A poorly managed fiber plant can cause many problems for your network. Cables that are not properly taken care of are more prone to breakage. In the case of a network outage, mismanaged fiber can also make troubleshooting incredibly difficult, as technicians may spend valuable time following cables to their respective transceivers, thereby slowing time to recovery.

Dos and Don’ts

  • DON’T use bread ties, zip ties, and tape. No matter how quick and convenient these may seem at the time, each can actually do more harm than good. Bread ties can break down the fiber jacketing over time due to vibration. Zip ties are a pull away from squeezing the fibers too tight and causing an outage. Tape will leave an adhesive residue on the jacket of the fibers. Instead, we recommend…
  • DO use hook-and-loop wraps.  These fasteners are reusable and will not cut the fiber, and are the best way to secure fibers to tie bars, as shown below on either side of our 14-slot LGX chassis:
Champion ONE's 3RU LGX chassis for 19" racks.
Champion ONE’s 3RU chassis fits 14 LGX modules in a 19″ rack.
  • DO use the fiber management channel in your rack or cabinet. This space is allocated for a reason… take advantage of it! However…
  • DON’T secure fibers inside the channel. This can cause headaches down the road when you need to mine out old cables.
  • DON’T stretch or strain fibers. If your plant starts resembling a large banjo, it’s best to bring in new cables with a little more slack.
  • DO use bend-insensitive fiber when needed. If you need to round a tight corner or similarly awkward positions, make sure the fiber you’re using meets or exceeds ITU-T G.657.A1 standards.
  • DON’T pull a fiber cable if you can’t see where it ends. Even when faced with a giant mess like the one pictured at the top of this article, take care to follow each fiber to its connection point.
  • DO use fiber channel lids. While it may be tempting to discard these, they are very useful for corralling your fiber. Just make sure that all required fibers are properly placed in the channel before closing the lid.
  • DO perform all fiber moves, adds, and changes during a scheduled maintenance window. This will cut down on human error, which is a far more prevalent cause of outages than equipment failure.

Champion ONE offers several enclosures and solutions to assist with fiber management. To learn more about these, contact us today.

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