The Importance of Proper Fiber Optic Termination & What Can Go Wrong If It’s Not Done Right

The Importance of Proper Fiber Optic Termination & What Can Go Wrong If It’s Not Done RightWhile it may not sound as exciting as the newest smart office gadget, fiber optic cabling lays the groundwork that keeps all your office devices communicating effectively.

This “super highway” for telecommunication and computer networking is much more effective than electric cabling because it allows light, which is carrying your data, to propagate through the fiber with much less interruption. Or in other words, it allows a stronger signal to be passed from Point A to Point B.

If that low voltage structured data cabling isn’t set up correctly, bad things can happen, including loss of signal quality. Termination of the cable ends is a vital part of the proper network setup of any business IT infrastructure.

At Quantum PC Services, we know quite a bit about proper low voltage structured data cabling set up for offices. We happen to be the only professional business-grade network installer, not only in Sturgeon Bay, WI, but all of Door County.

We help companies struggling with poorly set up fiber optic cables and those that need a whole new network setup plan for a brand new office. Keeping everyone smoothly connected through both wired and wireless networks is what our Networking Team does every day.

Even though it may not be the most exciting part of your IT infrastructure, it’s one of the most important. Optical fiber cable demand continues to grow and is expected to grow another 16% between 2015 and 2020, up to 2.24 billion dollars.

So, why is fiber optic termination so important? What can happen to your network if it’s not done properly? We’ll go through the details below and explain the proper termination methods for fiber optic cabling.

What Can Go Wrong If My Fiber Optic Cables Aren’t Terminated Correctly?

When you hear the word “terminated” it sounds like something is being ended, like how The Terminator took care of his targets. It is somewhat like an “end” but not in that same way.

Fiber optic termination is when the cable end is connected to a device, like a piece of equipment or a wall outlet. For example, the termination point could be a computer server that’s being connected to several office work stations.

Proper fiber optic termination enables the light wave signal to properly connect and carry data smoothly and efficiently throughout your network.

Improper termination can result in several things that cause signal loss and poor quality in your data and telecommunications flow.

  • Dirt or moisture can get into the cabling
  • Stretching of the cable can cause damage
  • High light loss throughout your network reducing data transmission rate
  • Reflectance, which causes optical return loss

No matter whether one or all of these issues occur, it means the same thing for your business, a weak network set up with major data communication problems.

Proper Fiber Optic Cable Termination Methods

Now that you know what can happen if fiber optic termination is done improperly, let’s take a look at proper fiber optic cable termination.

Our expert technicians at Quantum PC Services install thousands of miles of data cable each year throughout the Sturgeon Bay area. We’re proud to have BICSI certification, which is globally recognized as the premier standard in the IT industry.

Now, let’s dig into the proper ways to terminate fiber optic cable for the best transmission and data quality.

Fusion Splicing

Fusion splicing uses an electric arc to fuse or weld two fibers together. It’s the most popular method of splicing because it offers the lowest light (data transmission) loss and least reflectance. Fusion splicing also provides a strong, reliable joint between two optic fiber connections.

Hand Polishing

Some call hand polishing the most critical step in fiber optic termination. Proper polishing techniques can greatly improve overall network performance. What does polishing do?

  • Finalizes the connector end
  • Cleans the connector surface
  • Improves optical performance of the optic fiber
  • Reduces return loss and bit-error-rate

To hand polish correctly one needs the right skills and the right tools, which is why our technicians at Quantum PC Services go through special training for proper polishing as well as complete low voltage structured data cabling installation and repair.

SFP Modules

Small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules are small, hot-pluggable, optical transceivers. They provide instant optic fiber connections for multiple types of networking devices. They plug into ports in devices such as Ethernet switches, routers, firewalls, and network interface cards.

Why are they used? They’re a cost-effective way to connect one network device to many different types of fiber cable. They are also flexible enough to expand by both speed and distance.


An OptiCam is another type of small form-factor. They’re somewhat of a “plug and play” style connector because they come pre-polished and contain a factory-terminated fiber, which eliminates field hand polishing and adhesive needs.

They captivate fiber and buffer in a single action, which allows for up to two re-terminations with no degradation in performance. Key benefits are that they reduce termination time by about half and also reduce the number of installation tools needed on site.

Need Help with Your Network Cabling? Call the Experts!

Don’t leave something as important as your office and network communication with the world to chance. Be sure your data cabling is installed and maintained by the experts. Quantum PC Services can handle any fiber optic or other cabling need, including Cat6 requirements.

Give us a call today for a network evaluation. We’re here for you at 920-256-1214 or online anytime.