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Christmas and New Year 2013 Message from the General Director of Optokon

 

 

A Christmas and New Year message for 2013 from the General Director of OPTOKON,
Jiří Štefl.
 
To all our valued customers and partners..…
 
As we rapidly approach the end of 2012, after what has been a very challenging year for
OPTOKON, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing
support and business. Because of the opportunities you have given us, we have, together, been
able to build, improve, innovate, transform, fix and support many aspects of your business and
systems during the year. As a result, OPTOKON expects to see significant growth in 2013, with
many new projects already set to go.
 
At OPTOKON we care about our customers and we want to ensure that we have the
services that you require in the future. In 2013, you will continue to see OPTOKON grow and
diversify – expanding the range of what we do and the areas in your business where we can assist
in achieving your desired outcomes. However, in order to continue with our progress, we cannot
rest on our achievements over the years and need to expand into new territories, consolidate
growth and continue to innovate with new technologies and products if we are to remain
competitive in what is a fiercely aggressive market. It was Albert Einstein who said “the definition
of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results” and this
still holds true today.
 
2013 will also mark OPTOKON´S 22nd year in business. We have grown from humble
beginnings in 1991 into the success story that we are today - a proudly independent Czech
company with a team of over 130 staff focused on caring for our customers. Many of you have
been customers for a large part of that time and we thank you for your support and loyalty as it has
been key to our success.
 
All the best to you and your families and we look forward to serving you again in 2013.

The Light Brigade FO 1-2-3 Course at OPTOKON

COURSE OUTLINE:

 

DAY ONE/TWO – 12 Hours Classroom Training

Classroom training covers an introduction to fiber optics, basic fiber theory, optical fiber types, standards, cable types, cable structures, connectors, and mechanical/fusion splicing, cable and fiber management products.  Classroom instruction also covers fiber-optic installation, testing, maintenance, restoration, and safety disciplines.

 A fiber-optic system design overview will also be taught, including how to develop an optical loss budget for multimode and single-mode systems.

 The course is instructor lead using power point presentation highlights key points of the training manual and uses interesting graphics, photographs and examples to explain concepts and practical application in the field.  Several DVD chapters are used to take students “into the field” to provide practical use and explanation of the more technical aspects – increasing student interest and retention of the class material.

 DAY TWO/THREE – 12 Hours Hands-on Training (8:1 student to instructor)

Workstations are set up as described on the following pages.  Students spend approximately 3-4 hours at each workstation, rotating through each workstation until all tasks are completed.  Students will break into groups with one instructor per group – this low ratio ensures each student receives all the one-on-one training necessary to fully understand and learn how to perform fibre-optic installation, testing and troubleshooting in the field.

 

 Class review and certification testing

 WORKSTATION #1 - CABLE & SPLICE CLOSURE PREPARATION

Learn how to safely and properly prepare fibre-optic cable for acceptance testing, splicing, termination and mid-entries on communication systems.  An outline of hands-on training covered at this workstation includes:

 

  • Prepare distribution, breakout and loose-tube cables
  • Learn how to perform a fanout on outdoor cable structures
  • Learn how to properly document an acceptance test on reels of cable
  • Learn how to prepare a fibre optic closure
  • Learn how to ground a cable into a closure
  • Learn how to splice a mid-entry
  • Learn how to transfer fibres from storage trays to splice trays
  • Learn how to organize and dress splice trays
  • Learn how to organize jumpers and pigtails in the panel/closure
  • Learn about possible points of failure and their prevention

 

WORKSTATION #2 - FUSION & MECHANICAL SPLICING

This workstation includes background material on optical fibres, cables, cleaving tools, techniques and disciplines associated with optical splicing.  The focus of the module is the fusion and mechanical splicing of optical fibres in temporary, permanent and emergency restoration applications. 

 A fibre network depends on splice quality and workmanship. This workstation provides both the skill and knowledge components to perform correct splicing operations for various applications.  Students will learn how to:

 

  • Correctly strip 250 and 900 micron optical fibres using two separate techniques
  • Correctly cleave optical fibres using cleaving tools
  • Learn how to properly place splice protectors over fusion splices
  • Learn how to correctly fusion splice G.652 & G.655 single mode fibres
  • Learn how to adjust your fusion splice to compensate for environmental issues
  • Learn how to pigtail splice from 250 to 900 micron fibres
  • Learn the different OTDR signatures for fusion and mechanical splices
  • Learn how to document splice losses
  • Learn how to perform mechanical splices for quick restoration
  • Learn troubleshooting procedures for splicing

 

 

 WORKSTATION #3 - OTDR THEORY & OPERATION

This workstation instructs and educates students on OTDR operation and its use in fibre-optic communication systems.

 

The module content includes background material on theory, operation, and applications of the OTDR.  The theory will explain OTDR operation, terminology, and functions.  Applications will include optical cable acceptance testing, monitoring splices, and installed optical cables, and how the OTDR is used during maintenance and restoration of optical cables.  These topics are applied to the hands-on portion of the module during the OTDR operation training.

 

The OTDR is an important tool for fibre-optic testing and troubleshooting.  Students will learn to:

  • Operate an OTDR
  • Setup and calibrate an OTDR
  • Perform the OTDR basic functions:

            - acceptance testing (reel)

            - splice & span loss testing

            - use of the OTDR for restoration

            - reading various OTDR signatures for troubleshooting

 

WORKSTATION #4 - CONNECTORIZATION

This workstation instructs and educates students on proper connectorization of optical fibres for communication systems. Background material is provided on optical fibres, cables, connector styles, bonding techniques, cleaving tools, and related test and inspection equipment. 

 The focus of the workstation is to enhance the abilities of the technician to connectorize distribution, breakout, and loose-tube cables in addition to standard cordage.  The workstation will focus on techniques that improve optical performance while increasing yield.  

 Students learn how to terminate optical fibres using several bonding methods, such as epoxy oven cure and quick cure using anaerobic adhesive. Students will:

 

  • Terminate ST and SC connectors
  • Visually inspect fibre endfaces and learn the quality control criteria
  • Test built assemblies for optical loss
  • Troubleshoot terminations for loss and failures – discerning which connector end has failed

 

WORKSTATION #5 - OPTICAL LOSS TESTING

This workstation instructs and educates students on optical loss testing for fibre-optic communication systems.  Background material is included on light sources, power meters, and optical loss test sets used in testing fibre-optic transmission equipment and end-to-end cable spans.

 Work and skill sheets assist the operator in documenting fibre equipment and spans.  This information is critical for demonstrating and instructing students in the applications and operations of optical loss test equipment.

 OLTS -- Optical Loss Testing is required for testing fibre-optic systems to establish loss over the span.  The following is covered:

 

  • Measuring your equipment’s transmit power
  • Measuring your equipment’s receive power
  • How to perform end-to-end and link loss measurements
  • Documentation
  • Troubleshooting using:

- Test sets

- Visual fault finders 

Why OPTOKON Expanded Beam connectors are essential in military and harsh environment applications

Why OPTOKON Expanded Beam connectors are essential in military and harsh environment applications

Traditional butt-contact fiber optic connectors have proven to be unreliable in harsh environment applications due to their sensitivity to dirt, dust, mud, water, oil and other contaminants. Expanded beam fiber optic connectors offer the solution. This article explains the benefits of expanded beam technology over butt-contact connectors and demonstrates how expanded beam connectors offer improved reliability in military and other harsh environment applications.

Expanded beam fiber optic connectors are specifically designed to operate in harsh environments. They employ a non-contact technique where the fiber is fully sealed behind a lens. The lens effectively enlarges the active area of the fiber, thus providing a connector with greatly reduced dirt sensitivity and therefore greater reliability when used in adverse conditions. 

The Expanded Beam Principle

Expanded beam fiber optic connectors utilize a lens to expand and collimate the light emitting from an optical fiber. This collimated light beam is transmitted through an air gap to a mating connector, where the light is collected and focussed by a second lens into a second optical fiber to complete the connection.

With 50/125 multimode fiber, the expanded and collimated light beam has an active area of around 150 times larger than the original optical fiber core. In single-mode expanded beam connectors the active area of the light beam is approximately 2000 times larger.

The effect of collimating and greatly increasing the beam diameter means that the connector is less sensitive to small particles of dust or other contamination which could completely obscure transmission in butt-contact type connectors.

Expanded Beam Connector Inserts

Multi-channel expanded beam connector inserts have been developed to offer a practical method of packaging the expanded beam concept. Typical expanded beam inserts comprise a stainless metal housing containing 1 to 16 spherical lenses (optical channels).

The OPTOKON expanded beam insert utilises a unique optical arrangement whereby the critical interface between the optical fiber and the lens is permanently sealed in a controlled atmosphere during manufacture. This ensures that no dust, moisture or other contaminants can migrate into the optical path during the product life.

The front face of the expanded beam insert has a mating surface, an alignment pin and socket and one or more spherical lenses which are epoxy sealed. The lenses have an extremely hard anti-reflection coating. The OPTOKON expanded beam insert has been carefully designed to avoid “dirt traps” and the flat front surfaces facilitate easy cleaning.

The expanded beam insert is sprung loaded when assembled in a connector shell. When two connectors are mated, the expanded beam inserts are aligned by the pin and socket arrangement and contact under spring pressure on their mating faces. The spherical lenses do not contact 

Expanded Beam Connector Shells

OPTOKON hermaphroditic type expanded beam connectors have been designed specifically for external harsh environment applications and are widely used in military tactical communications, outside broadcast, mining and many other industrial applications. Cable assemblies with hermaphroditic connectors can be easily daisy-chained and there is no requirement for male / female adaptors.

OPTOKON connector shell materials suit a wide range of environments including Aluminium Alloy, Stainless Steel and Nickel Aluminium Bronze. OPTOKON hermaphroditic tactical connectors are fully sealed (IP68) mated or unmated and are available with or without a dust-cap.

High Reliability in Extreme Environments

Whilst the connector shell design and the quality of the harness manufacture have an important bearing on the reliability of a harsh environment fiber optic connector, by far the most critical factor is its fundamental ability to withstand the harsh environment conditions both when the connector is mated (or with its protective cap fitted), and in its unmated and therefore unprotected state.

Butt-contact connectors must also withstand the cleaning process as damage can ofter occur if untrained personnel attempt to clean the connector or incorrect cleaning materials are used. In contrast, expanded beam connectors do not require disassembly or any special tools or cleaning materials to properly clean the connector. Damage cannot occur from the cleaning process.

1. Plug connector immersed in mud. The connector is fully sealed even without the dust cap fitted. 2. The mud will not cause damage to the expanded beam insert. A butt-contact connector would almost certainly already    be destroyed in this state.
3. Initial cleaning to remove mud and debris from the connector face can be done by rinsing in water. A hose, bucket of water, stream or muddy puddle will do. 4. Connector end-face is clean after rinsing.
5. The insert face is dried and wiped clean. Ideally a clean cloth or tissue is used but if these are not available the bottom of your coat will suffice. No damage to the insert surfaces or lenses will occur. 6. Connectors plugged and ready for service. The whole cleaning cycle was completed in under 5 minutes.  Insertion loss was measured between -0.90dB to -1.15dB (9/125 4 channels) with an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer.

Conclusion

Whilst butt-contact connectors have lower insertion loss than expanded beam connectors when the product is in perfect condition (typically -0.3dB), their optical performance will constantly degrade over the product life eventually leading to signal failure.

Regular maintenance of butt-contact connectors is required to maintain good optical performance. This involves disassembling the female connector parts, removing alignment sleeves (small parts which are easily lost in field conditions) and the use of special cleaning swabs, solvents and tools (including a ferrule inspection microscope).

Butt-contact connectors can only be serviced by specially trained technicians. If the ferrules have been damaged, cleaning will not restore the original optical performance. Damaged connector ferrules will require re-polishing and this can only be done using a fiber optic polishing machine in workshop conditions. Connectors with severely damaged ferrules will require complete re-termination or replacement.

OPTOKON Expanded beam connectors have been shown to withstand extreme environments without the need for special servicing or cleaning equipment. Protecting the optical fibers behind the lenses ensures that no damage or degradation can occur.

The non-contact design of the optical surfaces in expanded beam connectors results in higher insertion loss than butt-contact connectors (multimode typically -0.7dB, single-mode typically -1.0dB). However, the optical performance of expanded beam connectors is constant throughout the product life and the likelihood of product failure at a critical point is greatly reduced.