Rodents: The major threat to fiber network cabling

Rodents: The major threat to fiber network cabling

Damage caused by rodents can seriously affect the reliability of indoor and outdoor fiber optic cables. These generally have a relatively small diameter, making them more vulnerable to chewing rodents than other telecommunication cables. And because rodents are nocturnal creatures, that like to chew cabling in places where they won’t be easily detected, network operators might not notice any damage until network performance begins to deteriorate. Besides service interruptions, they may also face costly and time-consuming damage-tracking procedures and repairs.

Usually outdoor fiber cable is armored or put into inner duct and conduit to prevent rodent attack, but what about inside data center buildings? We know from others that mice or rats will chew copper cables as well.

Outdoor fiber optic cable

Many projects require that optical-fiber cable be installed in inner duct inside and outside of buildings. While the designer will tell you that this level of protection is necessary to protect against mechanical abuse.

Rodents chewing cable is so common a problem that outside-plant cable is available with gopher-resistant sheathing. Telecommunications cable is a preferred target because of size, not taste or smell.

Outdoor fiber optic cable

Besides using these type of cables , common techniques implied to prevent cable damage by rodents

  • Closing all holes, roxtecs and cable entry points by sealant and check them on regular intervals
  • Eating is strictly prohibited inside data center equipment hall
  • Cleaning beneath raised floor on regular intervals

To locate all the damaged areas, physical inspection is your best bet. Rat munches are not specifically covered in any performance standard of which I am aware, but in my opinion the cable geometry has been altered and it is likely that the sheath, and possibly the conductor insulation, is missing in places. That can definitely cause problems in the future. If rats were under the floor and chewed the cable, there is a better than even chance that if one or the other is not removed, the rats will chew the cable again.

Also rodent repellent system in the data center. It works as an electronic pest control to prevent rats from destroying servers and wires. for example MASER- DIGITAL RODENT REPELLENT (Standard Unit) By Maser Electronics-used for Data Centers (not recommended to use in house)

Ultrasonic rodent repellent

A more aggressive approach, sometimes used by the military for high-security areas, is to pressurize the riser cable with nitrogen gas, as if it were outside-plant cable. Nitrogen is a safety hazard to people in confined spaces, but it is also deadly to rodents in basement ladders, trays, and cable vaults. It is not recommend to use nitrogen in a building with confined or low airflow spaces.

Prevention against cable chew is not one time job. User department have to change their strategy by looking for the optimal case either by selecting the most suitable cabling for use where rodents are present (Steel-armored cable protects critical infrastructure against large numbers of rats, mice, gophers, and squirrels) or they just require sealing of all holes ]although in many other cases, a less elaborate option will provide more than adequate protection.

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