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The usefulness of dust caps in fiber optic systems

2022-08-31
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In optical fiber systems, in addition to optical transmission equipment and optical components, optical fiber consumables are also an essential part. Optical device dust caps, optical fiber sleeves/envelopes, optical fiber splicing protection sleeves, and optical fiber cleaning consumables tool kits are all optical fiber consumables. These consumables are widely used in optical fiber systems and play a role in protecting optical fibers and optical fiber end faces.

 

Among all the consumables, the optical device dust cap is applied to almost every corner of the optical fiber system, so its role should not be underestimated. So, what is the role of the optical device dust cap? How does it affect the optical fiber system? Today, Xiaobian will take you to reveal the true face of the optical device dust cap.

 

What role do dust caps play in fiber optic systems?

Dust caps play an important role in optical fiber systems. They can protect optical fiber connectors, optical fiber adapters, optical interfaces of optical modules, and ports of other devices from external environmental pollution and external force damage, preventing serious network slowdowns or network failures. In conclusion, dust caps should be used on any infrequently used fiber optic connectors or optical interfaces.

fiber optic cable

Several common dust caps

As mentioned above, dust caps are required for almost all ports of a fiber optic system to prevent contamination or damage to the ports when not in use. Among them, optical fiber adapters, optical fiber connectors, and optical modules are common optical components that require dust caps in optical fiber systems. The dust caps of these optical components are called adapter dust caps, connector dust caps, and optical module dust plugs:

 

Adapter Dust Caps—Protect Fiber Optic Adapters and Couplers

 

Connector Dust Cap - Protects the connector of the jumper or the sleeve of the connector

 

Optical module dust plug - also called port dust cover, usually used in the optical interface of the optical module that is not used

 

SFP optical module dust plug

According to the material, dust caps can be divided into plastic dust caps and metal dust caps. Plastic dust caps are much less expensive than metal dust caps, not only because metal dust caps use more expensive metal parts than plastic, but also because they must be manufactured to resist electromagnetic interference. In addition, most metal dust caps are metal dust caps with chains, and the metal chain on the metal dust caps ensures that the dust caps will not fall or be lost after being separated from the device.

 

ST chain metal dust cap

According to different uses, adapter dust caps and connector dust caps are divided into LC dust caps, SC dust caps, ST dust caps, FC dust caps, etc.

 

How does the dust cap affect the fiber optic system?

Dust caps are essential accessories for fiber optic connectors, fiber optic adapters and unused optical modules. Its function is very obvious during the storage and transportation of fiber optic connectors, fiber optic adapters and optical modules, and can avoid mechanical damage to these optical devices.

 

When the optical device is not in use, the dust cap also has a dustproof function to a certain extent. However, this does not mean that the dust cap can completely avoid the pollution of the optical device. On the contrary, the dust cap may also be an optical fiber. One of the sources of system pollution.

 

The air is full of dust, and the inside of the dust cap is no exception. Therefore, when the dust cap is in contact with the end face of the optical device, it will inevitably cause different degrees of pollution to the end face. In addition, some inferior dust caps often have residues of grease, gel or other contaminants used in processing. For these reasons, some people think that the name "dust cap" is a bit of a misnomer.

 

Sadly, most users fail to realize this. They believe that the dust cap can keep the end face of the optical device clean and will not cause pollution. Therefore, when they want to use the optical device, they usually use the optical device directly in the optical fiber system after removing the dust cap without any cleaning. step, however, this operation will cause additional losses in the optical interface. When you find that your fiber optic system is not performing at its best, you should think back to whether you have properly cleaned your optics when using them. Small details can cause big problems.

 

Epilogue

Dust caps play an important role in fiber optic systems. Some pre-assembled optics usually come with dust caps already, or you can buy a variety of dust caps separately on the market. Dust caps are a good solution to prevent mechanical damage to optical devices, and also prevent external dust and other contaminants from directly entering the interface of optical devices. However, it is not a 100% optical device protection umbrella, and in some cases, the dust cap can also be a source of contamination. Therefore, proper inspection and cleaning of the end faces of optical devices is the magic weapon to ensure the performance and life of the optical fiber system.

 

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