Fiber Scary Stories

Fiber Optic Nightmares

It’s almost Halloween, and what’s scarier something going wrong with your fiber installation?  Don’t try to find an exorcist. We’re here to help with problems, even if the situation makes you feel like you’ve been cursed.


Precision Wheel Cleavers adjusted for SSF™ are included in all SSF™ termination kits

Ready to terminate your fiber, but your cleaver just won’t cleave? Precision wheel cleavers like the ones we supply have a carbide blade rated for at least 36,000 cleaves.  Unless you’ve been using it for a few years or at a high rate, the blade is probably sharp.   So, what’s the problem?  Evil spell? Possessed by a demon that really wants you to keep running all Category?

Most likely not.  (Although we don’t know what you get up to in your free time.)  If you are working with SSF™ fiber, first make sure you have completely removed the colored “Soft Peel” coating from the glass itself.  The “Soft Peel” coating is what allows us to individually color code each fiber in a cable, make fibers appear blue, orange, green, etc. Remove it using only your fingertips or fingernails.  Don’t use regular fiber strippers to do this, as doing so can damage the SSF™ polymer coating.

If your fiber is fully clear of Soft Peel coating and you still can’t cleave, check your cleaver’s brand and style.  Precision wheel cleavers not purchased through Cleerline or included as part of one of our fiber termination kits may require a blade height adjustment.  Raising the blade will generally allow cleavers to successfully work on our stronger fibers.  You can find instructions and a video in our Resources. 

Have a cleaver that came as part of an SSF™ termination kit or was supplied by us?  Really, the only question is… who you gonna call?

Cleerline! Please contact us for assistance before trying to adjust an SSF-supplied cleaver.  We are happy to help troubleshoot and can frequently solve the problem over the phone. 


Aramid Yarns

You’re pulling an extended run of cable through a conduit or a trench.  But when you get to the end of the cable….  Poof!  The glass has disappeared.  The jacket is… empty?  Did the optical fibers enter the spirit realm?  Are you having a nightmare? 

We hate to tell you, but this situation can be a nightmare.  While fiber optic cables are built for durability and strength, they won’t hold up to everything.  Many cables have PVC jackets, which keep the fibers protected while allowing flexibility.  The downside is that under intense and sustained tension, PVC jacketing can stretch.  A stretched jacket may mean that your actual optical fibers, instead of being at the end of the cable where you left them, are a few feet farther down the cable.

In the absolute worst-case scenario, overly torqued and stretched jacketing can snap back once tension is removed, damaging the optical fibers.  Even our stronger optical fibers may not hold up to this.

The solution? Do not pull fiber optic cables by the jacketing. Also, make sure to not exceed pull force or tensile load specifications.

All fiber cables have internal strength members, such as aramid yarns.  Aramid yarns (aka Kevlar®) are also used in bulletproof vests.  The tiny fibers are incredibly strong.  Attach your pull string to the aramid fibers, and your incredible stretching jacket problem should be the thing that disappears. 


No Signal

Fiber installed but all you’re getting from the Beyond is just… silence?  Instead of seeing your 4K+ image, you’re standing alone in a dark and dusty room? (By the way, if you need shoe covers, you can find them on our commerce site,

Don’t start screaming.  There are a few things you can check. 

First, inspect your cable.  All our termination kits include a Visual Fault Locator, which will help you see any large breaks or connector issues.  Just plug the VFL into one end of your cable and turn it on.  The only place you should see red light is at the opposite end of your cable, right at the end of the connector ferrule.  Red light glowing from anywhere else, or no light at all, means there’s a problem. 

Everything look good?  On one end of your link cable, trying swapping the connector plugged into the Tx (send) port with the connector plugged into the Rx (receive) port.  Generally for networking applications, Tx needs to connect to Rx and vice versa (although depending on what you’re doing, there may be other system polarity issues at play).  When working with multiple fibers, it can be easy for endpoints to become confused.  Your VFL can help you identify fibers.  Plus, use tools like LC Connector Clips to manage fibers.

Still nothing?  It’s time to test.  Sometimes, cable loss can be too high for signal to transmit, but low enough that a VFL won’t indicate issues.  Using a testing kit will help you determine link loss and help show if you need to try re-terminating your cable or making another correction.


Connector problems

Angry ghosts break your fiber? Rodents of Unusual Size chew through a cable?  Did you feed the gremlins after midnight, and now everything has just gone completely wrong?

In a situation where the wrong fiber type is in place (i.e. single mode was needed and multimode was installed), summon help.  Contact us.  There may be workarounds involving additional media converters.

If the wrong connector is installed, but the fiber type is correct, there are a couple of options.  The first is to simply replace the bad connector with the right type.  The second option is to install a coupler and a patch cable that ends in the style of connector you need.  LC connector but need SC? Add an LC-LC coupler with an LC-SC patch cable.

A similar solution can be used for a broken fiber.  Depending on the location of the break, use a coupler and a patch cable to replace the shorter end of the damaged link.  In a central break, terminate the broken ends and link them with a coupler.  You can also use a mechanical splice to connect broken fibers.  These solutions involve minimal loss and will get you back up and running fairly quickly.


We’ve all been there- you’re awakened in the middle of the night by someone – or something. Those same creatures that go bump in the night can wreak havoc on your fiber and cause hundreds and thousands of dollars in damage.

To prevent any enterprising rodents from trying to do their own fiber splicing we highly recommend our two armored cable types: Aluminum Interlocking Armored and Armored Corrugated Steel.

Need to protect cable indoors? Aluminum Interlocking Armored (AIA) is the cable you need. Unlike Armored Corrugated Steel cable, AIA is intended for indoor use only. While AIA does include water-

As the name of this cable indicates, Armored Corrugated Steel (ACS) cable is intended for in direct burial applications outdoors. Under the outer layer of jacketing, a corrugated steel tube encases the cable’s secondary subunit, which holds the optical fibers. The whole cable is additionally packed with water blocking tape and strengthening aramid yarns (Kevlar ®).

Basically, don’t be afraid of no ghost fiber. Most installation mishaps can be easily corrected.  For the big problems, call your friendly neighborhood Cleerline rep.  We’ll help you get back up and running.

And, unlike hitchhiking ghosts, we won’t follow you home.

Fiber Scary Stories