Don’t Neglect the Fiber Optic Dust Caps in Your Fiber Systems

Posted on by FS.COM

In fiber systems, in addition to the equipment and fiber optic components, fiber optic consumables are also very necessary. Fiber optic consumables such as fiber optic dust caps, fiber ferrules & sleeves, fiber splice protection sleeves and the fiber cleaning consumable kits etc., are commonly used in fiber system for protection or maintenance of fiber or fiber end-face. Among them, fiber optic dust caps are most commonly used in almost each application of fiber systems. Hence, we should not neglect them. What’s the role of fiber optic dust caps and how do these small consumables influence on your fiber systems?

What’s the Role of Fiber Optic Dust Caps in Fiber Systems?

Fiber optic dust caps play an important role in fiber system by protecting fiber optic connectors, adapters, transceiver optical interface and other ports from external contaminates and damage that can cause serious network slowdown or crashes. In general, dust caps are suggested on any fiber optic connector or interface that is not actively in use.

Commonly Used Types of Fiber Optic Dust Caps

As mentioned above, almost all ports in fiber systems need dust caps to protect damage or external contaminates when they are unused. Fiber optic adapters, connectors and fiber transceivers are the most commonly used optics in fiber system that need dust caps. These types of fiber optic dust caps are respectively called adapter dust caps, connector dust caps and transceiver dust caps.

Adapter Dust Caps – Used for protecting fiber adapters and couplers.

adapter-dust-cap

SC Adapter Dust Caps

Connector Dust Caps – Used for protecting the ferrule of fiber optic connectors and connectors of patch cords.

connector-dust-caps

SC Connector Dust Caps

Transceiver Dust Caps – Also called port dust cover, are usually inserted into the optical ports of unused transceiver modules.

transceiver-dust-caps

SFP Transceiver Dust Caps

In addition, according to the materials, there are plastic dust caps and metal duct caps. Plastic dust caps are much cheaper than there more expensive metal counter-parts. Metal dust caps may also be made to shield against EMI issues. In addition many styles of metal dust covers also come with an attached chain which may be secured to the chassis. Using the chain insures that the dust cover is not dropped or lost when disconnected for cable attachment. And depending on the using targets, adapter and connector dust caps can also be divided into LC, SC, ST, FC etc., types.

dust-caps-with-chains

ST Metal Dust Caps with Chain

How Do Fiber Optic Dust Caps Influence on Your Fiber Systems?

Fiber optic dust caps are necessary for fiber optic connectors, adapters and unused transceiver ports, especially for protecting from physical damage while in storage or in transit. When the fiber optic components are not in use, the dust caps are also with the dust-proof function to some extent. However, it doesn’t mean that they can completely isolated the contaminates. Quite the opposite, dust caps are one of the contaminant sources in fiber systems. Dust is everywhere, it can easily find its way into a dust cap and the inside of the dust cap can actually have significant dirt or other contaminates that are easily transferred to the contact’s end face. In addition, some inferior dust caps often contain grease, gels or other compounds left over from when they were manufactured. For these reasons, some people think that “dust cap” is a misnomer.

But unfortunately, most of the users are not aware of it. They think that the fiber optic dust caps ensure the end face clean and ready to use. Thus they can remove the dust cap and plug it in directly without any cleaning, which results in additional loss incurred at the optical interface. If you find your fiber systems are not work at a good performance, you should think it over whether you do the proper cleaning before connect. Don’t neglect this small issues as it will become a big problem.

proper cleaning

Proper Fiber Optic Cleaning

Conclusions

Fiber optic dust caps, as commonly used fiber optic consumables are necessary for fiber systems. They can be purchased alone, and some pre-terminated fiber assemblies come with dust caps already installed. They are good solutions for avoiding physical damage to the fiber optics. Of course, they also can avoid the dust and other contaminates directly enter into the interface. But, dust caps are not the absolute protective umbrella of the fiber optic components. In some cases, they may become the contaminates as well. Thus, always remember that proper inspection and cleaning of fiber end faces is critical to the performance and life of any fiber system.


Fiberstore offers a variety of fiber optic dust caps as well as other fiber optic consumables with affordable prices. For more information about fiber optic products, please visit www.fs.com or contact us via sales@fs.com.

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