Fiber optic has replaced all digital communication technologies because of its amazing benefits and excellent performance. A few decades ago, people used to swear by copper’s top-notch performance, until fiber was introduced. IT professionals highly recommend fiber for it high bandwidth, super-fast internet speed, signal consistency, exceptional data security, zero to minimal heating, low latency, high reliability, long-term affordability, zero interference (EMI and RFI) and several other benefits.
Fiber performs exceptionally well in all fields, but when it comes to harsh weather resistance; unfortunately, fiber optic fails to perform its very best. Fiber optic is inherently more fragile as compared to copper. It is made of glass. Therefore, it cannot bear harsh conditions. Many factors have an impact on optical fibers.
- Extreme temperatures: Fiber optic does not provide any significant amount of heat, and when it is introduced to extreme hot or cold temperature, its performance diminishes. No matter if fiber optic cable heats up due to sun exposure or due to environmental heat, it can permanently damage the optical fibers.
- Dust: Fiber optic light can get diverted by dust and other particles. Therefore, fiber optic cables have to be protected dust or any other particles that might disrupt data transmission. Dust can also cause micro splitting or cracking that may highly affect the performance of a fiber optic network.
- Moisture: Fiber optic splicing and connectors have to be properly sealed to protect them from moisture. If the cable, connectors, and splicing are not properly sealed from moisture. It can cause permanent damage to the network causing data transmission failure. Moisture damage can also result in degradation of data signals and high attenuation.
Effects of Harsh Environmental Condition on Fiber Optic Network
- Aging: The usual lifespan of fiber optic cable is 20-25 years. Harsh environmental conditions and improper care can speed up the aging process. If proper precautionary or restorative measures aren’t taken at the right time, microcracks will highly likely turn into breakage and end up causing permanent damage. Fiber optic’s aging process can be easily slowed down with proper care and maintenance.
- Maintenance Cost: Harsh environmental conditions are the root cause of many problems that result in significantly increasing the maintenance cost of the fiber optic network. FTTH maintenance does not cost an arm and a leg if the network is installed correctly. Therefore, if you examine a problem that occurs consistently, then it is a smarter idea to find out the root cause of the issue. Resolving the root cause will not only reduce your maintenance cost, but it will also ensure that your fiber optic does not get permanently damaged.
Tips for Protecting Fiber Optic from Harsh Environmental Conditions
- Ensure that your fiber optic network installation provider is aware about protecting harsh weather conditions, and takes precautionary measures while installation process.
- Install a metal or plastic conduit to the optical fiber.
- Get the seal of your connectors and splicing checked regularly.
- Ensure that the network room is in cool and covered area.
- Get your fiber cable inspected for micro cracks or splitting.