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Network Cabling Nightmare - Fiber Optic Damage

by:TBT     2020-08-31
The phone rang at 7pm on a Monday. We need to mobilize now! Three floors of the hospital's network were down. I didn't know at the time but a 12 strand pre-existing single mode fiber optic cable had been destroyed by the cable pulling crew. This team had been installing a new 12 strand armored fiber. One of the guys in the middle of the run didn't have a ladder. The guy appeared to be tugging the armored cable from the floor. There was a bundle of about 20 armored fiber cables coming from a hole in the wall above the ceiling. The new fiber being pulled turned out to be resting over the bigger bundle of fiber. As he was tugging from his location on the floor he was pulling the new cable down on the active bundle. He was in fact burning up the outer coats on the existing cables. All of the cables could possibly have made it except for the one in the center of the bundle that was not armored. The new armored cable burnt through it very easily.
This situation disrupted 3 floors of one area within a NYC Hospital. We were summoned for emergency mending. We were able to patch it up quickly that night. A couple of days afterwards we conducted a permanent solution. When we started troubleshooting we had no idea where the issue was. We just knew there was a group installing cable in the data center the night before. We shot a laser beam light over the fiber from one of the fiber heads within the data center. Once we looked around we saw some light inside the ceiling. As we checked nearer the opening through the wall where the larger bunch of fiber had been coming through was basically illuminated red like a X-mas tree. We had singled out the problem to this place. We were able to pull back a certain amount of slack and when we pulled it out from the wall the laser was beaming out from the cut fiber!
The moral from this experience is use suitable equipment in addition to common sense please! Basic laws of physics will confirm, you should not tug down on a cable that's rubbing against another cable or maybe a bunch of cables for an extended time period with out catastrophe. This was expensive to fix and created an embarrassing situation for the contractor. Think before you pull!
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