How to Troubleshoot Fiber-Optic Cable?

Cable Inspection

Inspect the fiber-optic cable by following it along its length. Look for bends in the cable, which obstruct the cable’s optical fibers. Gently straighten any unnecessary bends.

Remove any objects resting on top of, or otherwise putting pressure on, the cable.

Check for excess tension in the cable. Fiber-optic cables should have some slack, as tension causes stress on the fibers. Slacken any cables that are pulled tightly.

Shorten cable spans that seem excessively long by placing connected devices closer together and using shorter fiber-optic cables.

Identify any splits, rips or tears in the cable. Replace any damaged cables with new fiber optics.

Connection Troubleshooting

Locate the point at which the fiber-optic cable connects to a device, whether it be a modem, router, television or other piece of electronic equipment.

Check the connection. If the connection is loose, firmly secure the cable to the electronic device.

Inspect the cable’s connectors. Spray the connector with compressed canned air to remove dust and foreign particles.

Disconnect the fiber-optic cable and reconnect it to the device if simply tightening the connection fails to remedy the problem.

Investigate the point of access for any fiber-optic cable that enters your home from the outside. Remove any foreign elements that could obstruct or place stress on the cable.

Comcast Tests Gigabit-Speed Internet Service in Philadelphia

slowly rolling out to cities across the country, may soon have some competition from an established service provider. Philadelphia-based Comcast has announced that it is testing a new protocol known as DOCSIS 3.1, which it said has the potential to boost download speeds to the gigabit level.

Unlike Google Fiber, which requires laying down an extensive fiber optic cable network to service a community, DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specification) 3.1 won’t require anything quite so drastic. The technology works with the company’s existing network infrastructure, and only requires the installation of a new modem to work, according to Comcast.

Just a Test

But the technology is still very much in the testing stage. Comcast announced only that the company had installed a DOCSIS 3.1 modem at the home of a single customer Relevant Products/Services in the Philadelphia area. Still, the development is Comcast’s first attempt to deploy the technology outside of the lab.

“The test used the standard cable connections that we have in homes across the country. All we needed was a new modem, a software upgrade to the device that serves that neighborhood, and a few good engineers,” Tony Werner (pictured), executive vice president and chief technology officer at Comcast wrote in a blog post on the company’s Web site.

Werner said that Comcast will continue testing the new protocol over the coming months, with an eye toward eventually delivering the DOCSIS 3.1 technology to customers on a broader scale. The company said that it expects to begin offering gigabit-speed service to home users in several parts of the country before the end of next year, thanks to the new protocol.

Catching Up to Google Fiber

Google already has a considerable head start on offering gigabit-speed Internet service to customers. Its Fiber service first launched in 2012, and has already been deployed to almost a dozen communities, with potentially another dozen or so on the way.

But Comcast’s technology has some advantages over Google’s fiber optic-based network. Because DOCSIS 3.1 is backwards compatible with Comcast’s existing, widespread network infrastructure, deploying the service will only require new modems and software upgrades for existing clients.

With Fiber, on the other hand, Google must dig up streets to install an entirely new fiber optic network underground. That advantage could allow Comcast to grow gigabit service more quickly than Google, despite the latter’s three-year head start.

Comcast said that over the coming months, it will continue to activate more test homes with DOCSIS 3.1 technology to observe how it performs in multiple real-world environments and make whatever minor modifications necessary to get it ready for deployment.

The company said it will also continue to expand its trials to locations within its backyard of Philadelphia to additional locations through Pennsylvania, Northern California, and Atlanta, Georgia.

TM inks HSBB 2 and SUBB agreements with Malaysian government

Telekom Malaysia has announced the signing of two public private partnership (PPP) agreements with the Government of Malaysia for the implementation of the High Speed Broadband Project Phase 2 (HSBB 2) and the Sub-Urban Broadband Project (SUBB). Both projects will see TM roll out a last mile access network to homes and businesses utilising fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), Ethernet-to-the-home (ETTH) and VDSL2 technologies.

Outlining details of the two deals, TM noted that the ten year HSBB 2 project ‘encompasses the deployment of additional access and core capacity covering state capitals and selected major towns throughout the country’. Under the project, 95 additional exchanges will be made HSBB ready, providing access to 390,000 premises in ‘other priority economic areas including state capitals [and] selected major towns’ by 2017. The PPP agreement related to HSBB 2 meanwhile includes planning, designing, implementation, operation and maintenance of HSBB network infrastructure and services. Meanwhile, the SUBB infrastructure will also be rolled out over a period of ten years, with this project involving the upgrading of existing copper lines to deliver broadband at downlink speeds of up to 20Mbps, or up to 100Mbps in those areas where FTTH technology is utilised. In total, some 420,000 premises in ‘sub urban and rural areas’ will benefit from the SUBB project by 2019.

In terms of the financial aspects of the projects, the total cost of the HSBB 2 investment over the ten year period will reportedly be MYR1.8 billion (USD419 million), with the government contributing MYR500 million of that and TM responsible for the remainder. Total investment in the SUBB project, meanwhile, is expected to be MYR1.6 billion over ten years, with the state’s portion of that being MYR600 million and again TM covering the balance.

Commenting on the development, TM group chief executive Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd. Isa, was cited as saying: ‘The HSBB 2 and SUBB are set to benefit not only the consumers, but also Malaysian businesses as we will be able to provide Malaysians with world class network infrastructure and superfast connectivity, boosting the development of ICT-related industries towards fulfilling Government’s aspiration of elevating Malaysia into a high-income nation. Rest assured that TM is fully committed in supporting the Malaysian Government in these initiatives, which will go a long way towards realising the goals defined under the National Broadband Initiatives.’

VECTOR program touts ferrule-less fiber-optic connectors

Members of VECTOR (Versatile Easy installable Connector implementing new Technologies for accelerated fiber Optic network Roll-outs in Europe), a research and innovation initiative the European Commission funded to develop a low-cost, field-installable fiber-optic connector technology, say they have achieved their objective. The approach leverages a variety of technologies, including heat-shrinkable materials, nano-materials, high-tech gels, micro-fabrication, and micro-mechanical alignment systems.

CommScope coordinated the VECTOR project. Other members included DEMCON Advanced Mechatronics BV (The Netherlands), Celoplás – Plásticos para a Indústria SA (Portugal), Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Universiteit Gent (Belgium), Telecom Italia S.p.A. (Italy), and Telekom Deutschland GmbH (Germany).

The technology involves a ferrule-less connector and a fully automated installation tool that enables field installation by a general-skill technician. The ferrule-less connector achieves a performance that exceeds the “Grade B” insertion loss specifications of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 61300-3-34 international standard for random mated connectors. The connectors do not require cleaning between mating/unmating cycles, says the VECTOR members. Instead, a self-cleaning feature keeps the fiber tip dust free and ensures low connection loss and high repeatability, the group explains.

How Much Does a Fiber Optic Technician Make?

Income Range

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 156,350 telecommunications line installers and repairers, including fiber optics technicians, worked in the United States in 2010. The low end of the pay scale was $26,910 per year or $12.94 an hour with the high end topping out at $73,320 per year or $35.25 per hour.

Average Income

The middle 50 percent of fiber optics technicians made between $35,180 and $64,890 per year, which breaks down to between $16.91 and $31.20 per hour in 2010. The mean or average salary was $50,080 per year or $24.08 per hour that same year according to the BLS.

Industry Matters

Fiber optic technicians work in a few industries and all of them have their own average salary for the job. The biggest employing industry in 2010 was wired telecommunications carriers, paying an average $54,200 per year. Cable and other subscription programming companies paid fiber optic technicians a mean $45,970 annually, while building equipment contractors paid $42,550 on average. One of the highest-paying industries for fiber optic technicians was electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance with an average annual income of $58,400.

Location Differences

Location also changes average salaries. In Florida, a fiber optic technician made an average $45,680 per year while in Texas he earned a mean of $43,930 per year in 2010. The state with the highest employment was California where the average salary was $53,820, followed by New York at a mean of $62,690 per year.

How Much Money Does a Fiber Splicer Make a Year?

Average Salary and Qualifications

The Indeed job site reported average salaries of $57,000 a year for fiber splicers as of 2014. Most of these technicians have high school diplomas or an equivalent certificate. They also train on the job as apprentices, which may take up to five years. Some earn one-year certificates or associate degrees in telecommunications before commencing apprenticeship programs.

West Pay Varies More

Indeed reports that salary differences for fiber splicers were greatest in the West, where yearly pay ranged from $35,000 a year in Hawaii to $61,000 in California. Among other regions of the country, fiber splicers averaged $69,000 a year in New York as of 2014, $51,000 in Maine, $51,000 in Louisiana, $65,000 in Illinois and $42,000 in Nebraska.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes fiber splicers in the broader job category of line installers and repairers. Jobs in this field are expected to increase 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. This is much lower than the11 percent projected growth rate for all occupations.

Uses of Optical Fiber

Communication Systems

Optical fibers can be used in communication systems, such as telephones, TV and computer networking. They are specially useful in long-distance communications, as light quickly propagates through the fiber. The optical fiber also offers very low attenuation to minimize the use of repeaters in long-haul communication system such as transcontinental cables. According to Pelin Aksoy in “Information Technology in Theory,” optical fiber can also replace metal in computer hardware.


Optical fibers are widely used in decorative illumination applications, such as art installations and artificial Christmas trees. Optical fibers can also be used in ecofriendly constructions, routing sunlight from the roof to darker parts of the building. According to the website Patents Storm, optical fibers can also be coupled with LED lights and then used in seat coverings for cars, providing colorful illumination effects.


The use of optical light guides for viewing the human body dates back to 1880, when a bent glass rod was used to illuminate body cavities, says Casimer DeCusatis in “Fiber Optic Essentials.” Today, optical fibers are used in endoscopy and laser surgery to reach inside the human body in a less invasive way. In addition to human applications, optical fibers are also used in veterinary medicine.

About Optical Cables

An optical cable is made up of optical fibers and is typically used to connect various digital equipment like digital home theaters, CD/DVD players, gaming consoles and computers. Owing to their ability to transfer data at high speeds, optical cables are used with increasing frequency for computer networks and telecommunication systems.


The fiber inside an optical cable can be made of either of plastic, glass or both. The fiber is capable of transmitting light, as it is transparent and thin. An optical cable is constructed of thousands of such fibers, which is why these cables can transmit large amounts of data at extremely high speeds. Optical cables are available in a range of covering materials, depending upon the intended use of the cable. The uses of optical cable include power lines, telephone poles and submarine manufacturing, among others.


There are several kinds of optical cables available on the market, the most common ones being the single mode and multimode optical cables. Single mode cables are exclusively designed for application in multi-channel broadcasting system and long distance telecommunication networks. Multimode cables are ideal for short distance connections such as LAN and video surveillance systems. There are other kinds of optical cables as well, such as simplex, distribution, breakout, loose tube, ribbon, armored and aerial optical cables.


Optical cables have a few advantages over copper wire cables. Their primary advantage is that optical cables have larger data transfer capacities in a digital format and at greater speeds in comparison to wire cables. Secondly, they are low-maintenance and are less prone to electromagnetic interference. Also, optical cables are non-flammable as they do not require any electricity to pass through them. In contrast to copper cables, optical cables have minimum signal loss and are lightweight and extremely flexible.


In spite of their advanced technology, optical cables also have certain disadvantages. They are quite expensive to manufacture in comparison to copper cables. Moreover, fiber optical cables are extremely fragile in comparison to copper cables and require careful handling. Lastly, the glass present in the cables can be affected by various chemicals such as hydrogen, making them inappropriate for underwater usage.


Toslink is a standardized system of optical fiber connections that is used extensively in audio equipment. Toslink is a registered trademark of the Toshiba Corporation, who derived the name from “TOShiba-LINK,” though the official name of this particular standard is EIAJ optical. Even though Toslink supports diverse formats of media and technical specifications, the most common connection used for transmitting digital audio is EIAJ/JEITA RC-5720 (see Resources below).

More Internet Backbone Cables Cut in California

The latest in a string of attacks on fiber-optic cables in the San Francisco area caused some Internet service outages in the region on Tuesday. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has been working with local law enforcement officials to identify who might be behind the vandalism.

Since July 6, 2014, fiber-optic cables providing network connectivity have been intentionally severed in at least 11 different locations around the East Bay and South Bay areas of California. The most recent incident affected three cables in the same area, according to the FBI.

Similar vandalism in Arizona in February left a large number of people without Internet access. It also disrupted cellphone, 911, ATM and credit-card processing services in the areas around Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona. In that case, investigators suspected perpetrators looking for copper wire to sell on the scrap metal market sliced through the cable using power tools.

Services Restored by the Next Day

Greg Wuthrich, a special agent with the San Francisco division of the FBI, told us the latest cable vandalism in the Bay Area appears related to past attacks in the region. He added that more details will be released later, as investigators are still working to determine which Internet service providers were among those affected.

The affected cables are owned by backbone providers Level 3 Communications and Zayo Group Holdings, which sell capacity to other cable and Internet providers.

A Level 3 spokesperson provided us with the following statement: “On June 30, 2015, the Level 3 network experienced a service disruption due to a fiber cut in the Northern California region. Our network technicians worked to resolve the issue, and all services were restored on July 1, 2015. Level 3 is working with law enforcement as they investigate the fiber cut.”

Attacks Are ‘Concerning’

Tuesday’s vandalism appeared to involve the same methods and patterns as past attacks, Wuthrich said. He called the string of incidents “concerning.” In past attacks, fiber-optic cables have been severed in Berkeley (one incident), Fremont (five separate incidents), Walnut Creek (two incidents), San Jose (one incident) and Alamo (one incident).

Wuthrich said the FBI is urging members of the public — particularly utility maintenance workers who might have been working outdoors nearby — to come forward if they saw anything suspicious in the areas around the vandalism incidents. The FBI has noted in the past that, “The individuals may appear to be normal telecommunications maintenance workers or possess tools consistent with that job role.”

The agency also stated that there doesn’t appear to be any link between the cable vandalism and an April 16, 2013 act of sabotage against a PG&E substation in Metcalf, Calif. In that early morning attack Relevant Products/Services, the perpetrators cut telephone cables in the region and then damaged 17 power transformers with sniper fire. No suspects have yet been arrested in connection with that incident.

RiT’s PatchView IIM To Serve As Backbone to Tianjin Rail Network’s Control Center

RiT Technologies, a leading provider of Converged Infrastructure Management Solutions that enable companies to maximize utilization and security of their network infrastructure, announced today that the Tianjin City Rail Transit of China has deployed RiT’s PatchView™ Intelligent Infrastructure Management (IIM) solution to gain real-time Relevant Products/Services visibility and control of their network while increasing availability and operational efficiency. The PatchView IIM solution manages 6,000 intelligent ports used by 22 transit lines. RiT also provides fiber optic cable line subsystem of this backbone communication system. The system was provided in partnership with the China Railway Signal & Communication Shanghai Engineering Bureau Group.

“PatchView will serve as the backbone to Tianjin City Rail Network’s control center communications, giving them an up-to-the-minute view of the status of all devices”, said Feng Zhang with the China Railway Signal & Communication Shanghai Engineering Bureau Group. “This solution provides real-time management and monitoring, via graphical simulation, of all subway stations and routes, and creates alarms for potential network failures that can be responded to quickly to ensure uninterrupted service.”

PatchView gives users a comprehensive real-time view of the network, including all IT assets; pinpointing their exact location and status at the rack, cabinet, room, building and site level. This always-on, constant monitoring of the network has the ability to flag network problems, and identify points of failure before they result in downtime. PatchView also automates regular network maintenance, helping streamline work, eliminate human error and reduce maintenance costs.

“With the growing role of ITSM with RiT’s connectivity solutions to ensure uninterrupted service, having the ability to manage all connected components in real-time is now the rule and not the exception”, said Yossi Ben-Harosh, President and CEO of RiT Technologies. “We are honored to be at the forefront of IIM and to offer PatchView to Tianjin City Rail to provide them with the required visibility into their railway infrastructure to deliver top notch services while enabling them to maximize their resources and optimize capacity.”

About RiT Technologies

RiT Technologies (NASDAQ: RITT) is a leading provider of converged Relevant Products/Services IT infrastructure management and connectivity solutions that improve network utilization, streamline infrastructure operations and enhance data security reduce network operation cost and optimize future investments.

RiT offers a platform that provides a unified way to manage converged systems and services to improve network utilization, streamline infrastructure operations, reduce cost and enhance data security. RiT’s platform includes connectivity solutions such as IIM, (Intelligent Infrastructure Management), converged infrastructure management software, and indoor optical wireless technology.

Deployed around the world in data centers, large corporations, government agencies, financial institutions, telecommunications, airport authorities, healthcare organizations and educational facilities. RiT’s shares are traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol RITT.