Cleaning and inspecting fiber optic connectors is key to the success of the network. A good place to start to get the process correct every time is to follow the IEC 61300-3-35 standard. Designed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the standard helps guide the industry in determining fiber optic connector end-face quality and ensure there is no negative performance impact. It includes precise cleanliness grading criteria to measure pass or fail certification for the inspection of a fiber end-face before connection.
IEC 61300-3-35 uses certification criteria based on a series of concentric circles with the center being the core of the fiber. The standard includes four zones with ‘A’ the core zone through to ‘D’ the contact/ferrule zone on the outer edge. Each zone indicates the acceptance of contaminant whether they are permanent defects like scratches and pits, or removable contamination like dust. Each zone has a different requirement for connector end-face quality and focuses on a specific size and number of defects and how it will affect signal. Following the rules of IEC 61300-3-35 is one of the best ways to meet cleanliness standards. This, together with the correct use of fiber optic cleaning tools and fluids which have been specifically engineered for fiber optic applications, helps ensure reliability.