Detecting Contaminated Fiber Connectors Using SFP Optical Power Data

Christopher Mendoza, University of Texas at El Paso


Fiber optic technology is an important part of communication networks enabling high-bandwidth transmissions over long and short distances. They do have their fair share of problems though, contamination being the biggest culprit. Contamination of fiber optic connectors can lead to serious performance degradation or even loss of signal. Detecting contaminated fiber connectors can take weeks or even months using traditional practices. There are standard cleanliness practices when dealing with optical connectors but still the problem seems to persist. This work presents an inequality to solve the detection portion of this problem. The proposed inequality uses power readings from the Small Form-Factor Pluggables' (SFPs) Digital Optical Monitoring (DOM) capabilities to detect if the contamination is affecting the optical signal. The inequality proposed also takes into account the tolerance range of the optical power readings, the suggested tolerance is ± 3 dB but this work shows that in practice it is much closer to ± 1 dB. The inequality is used to detect contaminated connectors in an experiment where power samples are collected over a day and is able to detect them with no false positives. A top-down approach is also taken to detect contaminated fiber connectors using higher layer event counters such as TCP retransmissions. After several trials using the top-down method, the results are inconclusive. Further work is needed to detect contaminated connectors using this method.

Subject Area

Computer Engineering

Recommended Citation

Mendoza, Christopher, "Detecting Contaminated Fiber Connectors Using SFP Optical Power Data" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10982902.