What are the main causes of noise in OSP copper telecommunications cables?

February 4, 2020

This response addresses “noise” as indicated by test set measurements and primarily related to power influence. Keep in mind that moisture or water is absolutely the major cause of noise audible to the customer. Conductor deterioration from water in a cable, water on the faceplate of a terminal or condensation causing current flow between two splice connectors will cause noise. Water is public enemy number one when it comes to copper cables. That is why we go to the lengths that we do to fill, flood, encapsulate and generally seal the cables from water intrusion.

The primary cause of noise is proximity to electrical power cables. Proximity does not mean that the power and communications cables are touching. High voltage transmission lines can and do induce fields at great distances from their physical location. Transformers and some electrical equipment can generate “noise” in an improperly grounded cable. The electrical fields generated by these power cables induce unwanted harmonics into the cable that manifests itself in what is commonly referred to as “noise”.

The metallic shield of a cable, when properly grounded at each end, effectively cancels the effect of the power induced noise. In conjunction with surge protection devices it helps to protect the cable, associated terminals and customer equipment from damage caused by voltage surges as would be caused by lightening.

Other sources of noise are loose conductor splice connectors, improperly terminated conductors, loose or improperly installed shield bond connectors, proximity to a radio station transmitter. By code, communication cables, power neutrals, and metallic water pipes should have a common ground potential when all are present in a residence or commercial building. This is a safety measure as well as a “noise” prevention issue.

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