It's a simple truth that the network is only as good as the testing. Issues with connector contamination can be the biggest cause of network failure, which is why inspection and testing should be the technician's most important task, it's key to making sure that the data centre operates efficiently. Multi-fibre Push-OnThe default solution for the ever-increasing demand for cabling density is the Multi-fibre Push-On (MPO), a connection containing 12 optical fibres. This hardworking cable increases density and enables the company to shift much more data. Yet the answer is not without its own set of problems. Firstly, because each piece of active equipment has different demands, there are three different wiring methods for connecting the fibre trunks. Consequently, it's not uncommon for technicians to order an incorrect wiring scheme. Think of it like wiring a three pin plug, if you don't wire it the right way then it just won't work - the same rule applies for MPOs. Even if the technician has correctly wired the connection, the process can still be problematic. MPOs are mass manufactured which can result in performance uncertainties, so failures are expected to become commonplace. The cable is prone to damage and a broken fibre can result in multiple circuits being out of service. The fact that data centres have many thousands of these circuits means that any downtime due to connection failures has the potential for a significant effect on revenue.Maintenance While the majority of data centres expect their technicians to carry out routine inspection and testing on comms cabling, this is not always the case. This is surprising when you consider the benefits. For instance, knowledgeable and skilled data centre technicians can carry out a special characterisation test to make sure that the trunk is wired correctly. Maintaining a clean end face can be challenging; it calls for absolute attention to detail when cleaning the connector, making sure it's free of contamination or defects such as dirt, oil or scratches. Obviously the responsibility doesn't solely lie with the technician, the data centre needs to provide adequate time for testing and verification. Furthermore, the company needs to understand the vital importance of regular testing and encourage its technicians to follow a proactive approach. Total Comms Training teaches fibre optic technicians the skills necessary for comms cabling and most people come out of the training sessions feeling confident, having acquired the hands on testing skills they need. More importantly though, they end up with not just a certificate of attendance but also a very real sense of having learnt the skills that give them the confidence to get to grips with the issues in the data centre.
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