In the past 15 years, I have assisted hundreds of customers with their network design, planning, and associated fiber management needs. These networks have ranged from the booming CATV HFC days of the mid-90’s through fiber exhaust scenarios of the telcos to the gargantuan bandwidth needs of the various FTTH deployment strategies. One of the constants in all of them has been the consideration of link loss budget planning: How far out can I get with my current optical power before I have to terminate or amplify? I have always been amazed that more often than not, the first answer to distance limitation is to plop in more optical power in the way of EDFA’s, transmitters, and amplifiers. Optical transmission and having the power to get it where you want it to go can be an expensive affair. However, boosting power is not the only way to gain distance.
Perhaps the most overlooked element of a network design is the quality performance of a simple item: the fiber patch cord. A quality patch cord not only improves performance and reliability of the network, but it also stretches the dollar value of current active optical equipment already installed in the network. The key to optimizing the value proposition of your network is to require a low. dB loss on every installed patch cord.