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Old 05-15-2020, 11:45 AM   #1
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Default Fiber optics

I don’t have much of an interest in this put how easy is it to terminate? I know nothing about it but I have had a couple of calls because the cable guys aren’t going into occupied houses.

I’m thinking that, by the time I figure it out and buy the tools, the virus scare will be over.
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:53 AM   #2
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It has gotten a hell of a lot easier to terminate than back when I was doing lots of it. Now you don't have to polish cuts for one thing. The ST's go on easier. Probably they don't have to breakout loose tube and put the shrouds over the fibers any longer either.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:08 PM   #3
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It has gotten a hell of a lot easier to terminate than back when I was doing lots of it. Now you don't have to polish cuts for one thing. The ST's go on easier. Probably they don't have to breakout loose tube and put the shrouds over the fibers any longer either.
I’m completely stupid about this, mac. What tools do I need and how do I do it?
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:10 PM   #4
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If you need it, the test equipment looks pricey...
Fiber Optic Test Equipment
https://www.fiberinstrumentsales.com...equipment.html


Splicing & testing...
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Fiber+opti...&t=ffcm&ia=web

Is Navyguy the Canuck that does this stuff?
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:13 PM   #5
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Short answer, I wouldn't try getting into it right now. To be knowledgeable and proficient enough to be qualified to work on fiber systems takes a significant training, practice, and tool investment. Now to be fair, there are lots of people making money doing a little fiber here and there that I do not consider qualified.

If you get over your head and have to call someone? Well, to be honest, I absolutely scorch my would-be competitors when they come looking for someone to bail them out and it's not a pandemic. In a pandemic, I'd probably just leave them twist in the wind.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:15 PM   #6
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Any information I can give you is dated to 1994 and earlier, having said that I had various "microscopes" to view polishing and splicing, I had a fusion splicer machine and kit, I had an optical time domain reflectometer to test my work. All that was pretty expensive in the beginning but the two biggest contracts of my career I landed paid for it all. There's a few dozen other things to buy- cleavers, kits with various alcohol pads and the like and loose tubing kits and bla bla bla.


But like I said earlier- they have done away with a lot of that older tech so now its easier and more streamlined. But on the other hand, its also easier for just about anybody to get themselves started into it..........

Contact Graybar for better more up to date information.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:17 PM   #7
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It has gotten a hell of a lot easier to terminate than back when I was doing lots of it. Now you don't have to polish cuts for one thing. The ST's go on easier. Probably they don't have to breakout loose tube and put the shrouds over the fibers any longer either.
The mechanical terminations are easier than the polished connections but they have more loss, and loss budgets are tighter these days. Mechanical isn't great for single mode. Many people will only accept fusion spliced connections now. Almost nobody accepts ST connectors any more, unless it's a facility with older fiber and they want the new stuff to match the old ST stuff.

Loose tube fiber is still a thing. Putting the fiber in the fanout is a pain in the ass, but it's much easier to strip. Many loose tube cables now use a dry gel so it is a lot less miserable using the fanouts. I like loose tube because the cables are so tough.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:22 PM   #8
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The mechanical terminations are easier than the polished connections. Many people will only accept fusion spliced connections now. Almost nobody accepts ST connectors any more, unless it's a facility with older fiber and they want the new stuff to match the old ST stuff.

Loose tube fiber is still a thing. Putting the fiber in the fanout is a pain in the ass, but it's much easier to strip. Many loose tube cables now use a dry gel so it is a lot less miserable using the fanouts. I like loose tube because the cables are so tough.
Here is a homemade tip just for you Splatz. I took a piece of plywood about two foot x two foot and made a grid of brad nails on it spaced about an inch apart. Using that made it much much simpler to weave the tubes onto the loose fibers during fanout's (hey I had forgotten that term completely!). And also kept it all organized and nice with multi fiber cables......... Looked as stupid as my Romex spindler but worked great, just like my stupid Romex spinner does.........
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:22 PM   #9
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Short answer, I wouldn't try getting into it right now. To be proficient enough terminating and testing that you can do it on your own takes a significant training, practice, and tool investment. Now to be fair, there are lots of people making money doing a little fiber here and there that I do not consider proficient.

If you get over your head and have to call someone? Well, to be honest, I absolutely scorch my would-be competitors when they come looking for someone to bail them out and it's not a pandemic. In a pandemic, I'd probably just leave them twist in the wind.
Would you consider this utility level work (or a sub) just because of the huge amount of data & the customers involved?
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:24 PM   #10
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Well, that was an easy decision. Screw it.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:29 PM   #11
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Here is a homemade tip just for you Splatz. I took a piece of plywood about two foot x two foot and made a grid of brad nails on it spaced about an inch apart. Using that made it much much simpler to weave the tubes onto the loose fibers during fanout's (hey I had forgotten that term completely!). And also kept it all organized and nice with multi fiber cables......... Looked as stupid as my Romex spindler but worked great, just like my stupid Romex spinner does.........
This is funny, I like it! I am going to try it.

I have a collection of itty bitty spring clamps and junk I use to very gently hold the fanout kit in place and the tubes straight while I thread the fibers in.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:33 PM   #12
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Well, that was an easy decision. Screw it.
If you were younger, come up with a five year plan to grow the business after Covid-19. But at your age come up with a plan to fire your employer. Your mind & body most likely won't last into your 70s.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:38 PM   #13
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Would you consider this utility level work (or a sub) just because of the huge amount of data & the customers involved?
Most of my fiber work is within buildings or campuses where nothing goes that far or on pole lines, underground or a single span building to building, basically backbones between wiring closets. My customers expect me to have some expertise with the equipment it plugs into, too.

Honestly the margins are good but it's a small market, and it's a small part of my business. The first fiber optic cable I installed back in 1996 is still operating daily, I still see the customer regularly. It was running a single 10 megabit link back then, today it's running a couple gigabit links and video. Point being, they have not spent a lot of money on fiber over the years, I've done tons more work for them.

Doing the BIG stuff with the BIG counts for the telcos and long haul / backbone ISPs etc. - that's for the utility contractors.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:53 PM   #14
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Most of my fiber work is within buildings or campuses where nothing goes that far or on pole lines, underground or a single span building to building, basically backbones between wiring closets. My customers expect me to have some expertise with the equipment it plugs into, too.

Honestly the margins are good but it's a small market, and it's a small part of my business. The first fiber optic cable I installed back in 1996 is still operating daily, I still see the customer regularly. It was running a single 10 megabit link back then, today it's running a couple gigabit links and video. Point being, they have not spent a lot of money on fiber over the years, I've done tons more work for them.

Doing the BIG stuff with the BIG counts for the telcos and long haul / backbone ISPs etc. - that's for the utility contractors.




Basically , that's where I was. I forgot to tell 99 about all the field equipment I had to go out and get also.

List (per fading memory)

3" and 4" trash pumps and long sections of hoses for pumping out underground vaults.
Manhole Shivs- From Greenlee, check em out in the catalog.
Greenlee supertugger
Tension gauges for cable pulls
Blowers and misc PPE for underground vault work. single man hoists and harness
Full Jet Line wire pulling set with 40 feet of air (co2) hose and fittings, and a 5'
tall red CO2 gas canister
200' in length fiberglass rodder fish tape equipment on large steel spools.
Ladders, ladders, more ladders.
Flashlights and various battery powered field and night shift lighting.
Generators.
Pulling ropes.
Air horns for signal work by blowing coded toots into the spare empty 4" ducts
Boots and waders. and raincoats.
Vehicles and trailers to haul all that around.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:01 PM   #15
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[/B]


Basically , that's where I was. I forgot to tell 99 about all the field equipment I had to go out and get also.

List (per fading memory)

3" and 4" trash pumps and long sections of hoses for pumping out underground vaults.
Manhole Shivs- From Greenlee, check em out in the catalog.
Greenlee supertugger
Tension gauges for cable pulls
Blowers and misc PPE for underground vault work. single man hoists and harness
Full Jet Line wire pulling set with 40 feet of air (co2) hose and fittings, and a 5'
tall red CO2 gas canister
200' in length fiberglass rodder fish tape equipment on large steel spools.
Ladders, ladders, more ladders.
Flashlights and various battery powered field and night shift lighting.
Generators.
Pulling ropes.
Air horns for signal work by blowing coded toots into the spare empty 4" ducts
Boots and waders. and raincoats.
Vehicles and trailers to haul all that around.
And I was thinking a doctor’s bag with a few tools in it wouldn’t be worth it.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:18 PM   #16
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And I was thinking a doctor’s bag with a few tools in it wouldn’t be worth it.
Oh it was worth it, but I was young twenties and all firecracker. I wouldn't chance doing anything near to like that again now.............
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:44 PM   #17
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@Navyguy might have some knowledge.

I did a job last year with fiber optics... I pulled the cables, and paid FCi $3000 to terminate and test the lines. For the 3k I paid, I was tempted to buy the tools and do it myself... and I should have, because I lost money on that job, at least I would have had the tools.

I still want to get into it, but I need a fusion splicer with core alignment ($$$$$) and I'd like to have an OTDR ($$$$$).

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Bell Canada, for their FTTH uses SC APC connectors with Singlemode Single fiber... in case you need to buy a new patch cable for it for a client, or run a cable.

I've been buying fiber parts through fs.com. I have cleaning tools for jacks and patch cables, to keep the dust down.

You can also buy pre-made cables from them, complete with pulling heads. I'm not sure what your client has requested @99cents but there's the option of buying custom made cables to install rather than terminate your own... unless the cables are already installed...
@Navyguy, do you do fiber optic work?

Sent from my new phone. Autocorrect may have changed stuff.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:21 AM   #18
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When I started in the fibre world it was very similar to what @macmikeman was saying… we had to have a tent set up, positive air pressure, certain temp and humidity, etc… we charged huge bucks and to everybody watching it was like voodoo…

Today it is far less complicated. The most important tool you will need is a cleave; never go cheap on the cleave. A good cleave will cost as much as a cheap fusion splicer and is a must have.

If you are only doing a few a year, the payback is not there. Most places will charge a set-up fee then a per termination fee. There is a separate fee for testing beyond the basic verification test (usually a Visual Fault Locator(VFL)). Qualification and Certification tools for fibre cost a fortune ($10s of thousands if you want), so if you are not doing this often, most will rent the test tools or opt for @Kevin Essiambre did and call in a third party.

I think it is now more cost effective for the average person to get the terminated kits that come with ends and testing and pulling heads. Other then teaching it recently, I don’t even recall when I polished a fibre connection the last time, everything is mechanical connection with a good cleave cut and optic jelly to smooth out an imperfections.

Cheers
John
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