3 Cadmium

Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning


Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

Connectrix Cable Cleaning Initiative - YouTube

Connectrix Optic Cable Cleaning Made Easy - YouTube

Connectrix SFP Optic Replacement Made Easy - YouTube

This discussion takes place Jan. 23rd - Feb. 6th. Once the event is live be sure to login to enable posting replies.

Welcome to the Dell EMC Support Community Ask the Expert conversation!

On this occasion we will be discussing how customers may save time and effort through the datacenter best practice of optic cable cleaning.  Both Dell EMC and our customers consume considerable time and effort to replace optics/SFPs in our switches, directors and storage arrays.  This expense in time, effort and product is frequently unnecessary.  The Optics initiative creates an opportunity to identify and to simplify these situations, avoiding Service Request creation and reducing remediation time through customer education and self-service.  Among the many areas we'll be discussing, our experts will answer your questions in regards to the simplicity and time savings offered by this process, industry best practices and findings and Dell EMC internal studies.

Let us know your experice so we can improve our service, please fill out this brief survey: Connectrix - Optic Cable Cleaning as Datacenter Best Practice Survey.



This discussion runs for two weeks. Get ready by bookmarking this page or signing up for e-mail notifications.

Meet Your Experts:


William Cross

Principle Global Service Product Manager

Bill has supported the Connectrix family of products for over 17 years. He has spent 12 years in the Corporate Quality organization driving quality and reliability into the Connectrix products and 6 years as the Connectrix Global Services Product Manager.


Scott Ramsay

Director Product Management

Scott has been with Dell EMC for 18+ years in Pre-sales, Services Delivery, Services Development and Customer Support roles, most currently as Service Product Lead (SPL) for Connectrix and VxRack solutions.

John Ford

Services Knowledge Management Lead

John has been with Dell EMC for over 10 years in both advanced development and Global Customer Service. My background is in Information Architecture, with an emphasis on usability. My current objective is to provide the greatest level of customer service, while reducing overall customer effort and the ease with which our customers can locate, and interact with our service tools and supporting knowledge.


John Colburn

Principal Field Support Specialist

I have supported the Connectrix product line for nearly 17 years, I have been working with Fibre Channel technology for over 20 yrs. I have been actively working with optical contamination and its effects on optical networks for around 5 yrs. In that time I have seen many major issues resolved by the removal of cable end face contamination.


Samuel Mercanti

Principal Program Manager - Connectrix Cisco MDS

Sam is a networking and content delivery technologist, innovator, and entrepreneur with an MBA in Business Information Systems. With a successful startup company history, Sam joined Dell EMC in 2006 as a L2 support engineer for the EMC Connectrix products, moving into the Connectrix serviceability engineer role in 2012. He currently manages the Global Services program for the Connectrix MDS-Series (Cisco) products.

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>> Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning <<

69 Replies
3 Cadmium

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

Welcome to this Dell EMC Community Network Ask the Expert conversation. Our discussion is now open for interaction! When formulating your question please consider the following:

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0 Kudos
3 Cadmium

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

Hi experts, to kick off the discussion I would like you to address, from a customer's perspective, the importance of keeping optic cables clean. What are some of the benefits?

0 Kudos
1 Copper

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

Well for me it is a simple hard headed business issue namely, time and money.  In my years of working with issue caused by contamination the profile is very similar.  In that all other avenues are exhausted before it is considered, because customers find it hard to believe that their critical SAN issue can be cause by a spec of dirt.  What that means is time and effort has been expended eliminating all other possibilities. From a break&fix perspective it IMHO makes perfect sense to start any investigation by removing this possibility, it is a quick and simple troubleshooting task to perform. Where you get most bang for your buck is by ensuring contamination is not present, from the get go.  That is to say when a new path or connection is deployed, by spending just a few moments to ensure the connection you are making is clean.  That small investment in time and effort gives you piece of mind and can save a whole lot of pain down the line when the connection is fully part of the production environment. Switch operating code has improved over the years but I am sure we have all experienced the mayhem a flapping ISL can cause in a large fabric, I have seen that issue caused by cable end face contamination many times. So again back to time and money, do you invest small to potentially win big.  Or do you take the risk and hope all is well while being prepared to take the pain if you are wrong.  Remember brand new cables right out of the bag are normally not guaranteed to be clean, unless you paid for them to be so.

1 Copper

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

I also feel it is a matter of choice.  In most cases, my preference is to solve something on my own.  I prefer this choice especially if I know I can save time, solve the initial problem, and move on to the next item in my list.  More importantly, our data suggests a high probability that cleaning the cable will restore connectivity.  In this case, the choice becomes intelligent for several reasons.  Resolving the error condition, and restoring connectivity sooner improves redundancy, and mitigates any potential downtime in your production environment.

1 Copper

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

From my perspective, proactive cable cleaning prior to mating is simply good datacenter practice and common sense.  It is a simple and easy insurance policy allowing for:

  • reduced network downtime
  • reduced troubleshooting
  • optimized signal performance
  • prevention of network damage

When you have the opportunity and choice, why not spend a minute to perform an easy task that can save more significant reactive time, effort and cost later?

6 Thallium

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

not every shop has expensive fluke scopes. Our team that is responsible for DWDM gear as well as single mode fiber connectivity on campus has those scopes. I work on the storage team and we can't really afford those scopes so we use fiber cleaning kits to clean our jumpers.

1 Copper

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

Good point   you are correct fibre test gear can be very expensive a Fiber OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflector) can cost thousands of $$.  Cable plant guys may use them to "certify" the patching infrastructure at install time.  We are of course not suggesting a full certification is required each time a cable is plugged into a network port.

In fact I know some OTDR tests can be corrupted and provide false positive results because the calibration cable  of the OTDR is itself contaminated.   So the contamination can be calibrated in.

You can get fibre end face inspection tools (microscope) for between $1k and $1.5K and they vary in the level of automation they provide.  But a cleaning kit with a robust cleaning cartridge  for dry cleaning and some wet cleaning supplies, as demonstrated in Bill's video, will come in around a hundred dollars.  Peanuts when you consider the costs of a single FC switch.  So I am sure a lot of shops will opt for your approach dynamox and purchase some cleaning supplies being proactive as you are is the important take away .

1 Copper

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

Exactly!  This supports the industry position.  Fiber cleaning kits are a very cost-effective means to avert problems later.

We will be posting a few examples of cleaning kits during this event.

What types/models of cleaning kits do you use?  Any particular recommendations?  If  you get a chance, please take one minute to complete the survey listed above, Connectrix - Optic Cable Cleaning as Datacenter Best Practice.

1 Copper

Re: Ask the Expert: Customers Save Time with Optic Cable Cleaning

That's right.  The cleaning kits are very inexpensive and are small enough to keep right inside the cabinet with the equipment, thus being available whenever it is needed. As John mentioned we did find that the best cleaning process was a wet/dry process.  The straight dry cleaning really didn't perform well to our standards.  Adding in the initial wet cleaning process performed much better for us.

As I had mentioned in the video's cable cleaning should be a standard process in all Data Centers before plugging any fibre cable into an optic or patch panel.