We frequently hear bad things about fiber optic products from China. It has become a trend to abuse Chinese quality. Here I am not going to justify the low-quality fiber optic products coming out of China. Of course, I know there are low-quality Chinese products. Are all the products coming out of China low in quality? Why there is a huge cry against Chinese quality?
It may be partially true in the case of commodity products, but is it possible to deliver low quality fiber optic products to the customers and survive in the market? I think it is almost impossible for a supplier to deliver low quality fiber optic products to dispatch to the customer and force him to use in the network. Fiber optic networks are tested to meet transmission requirements as per international standards. The products used in the fiber optic network need to possess certain minimum characteristics in order to carry optical signals. If a network component fails to carry optical signals, that can not be used in the network.
Characteristics of both active and passive components are well defined and documented in international specifications such as ITU-T and IEEE. Network builders refer these specifications and build their networks based on these standards. A network except for some local area networks, can not stand alone. It somehow becomes part of a bigger network and must communicate with the outside network, which we can call the global network. And as we know, networks must follow certain protocols. If a network component can do the job well as per the defined standards and protocols, we say it is compatible. This compatibility is the minimum quality that is required for the component.
Now, I don’t think that any of the network operators, system integrators or contractors will choose a component that is not compatible with their network. When choosing compatible components one of his/her primary concern will be to reduce the cost of purchase. That is the duty of a good procurement team. Supplier’s intention would be to get more price to his product while the buyer’s intention would be to get a low-cost product. Buyer’s technical team should find a balance between quality and product cost. Considering technical requirements, compatibility, and cost, they decide the vendors. In this process, how a low-quality fiber optic network product supplier can win the supply contract?
Presence of plenty of manufacturers especially from China is one of the reasons for the availability of low-cost products. ‘Low Cost’ does not necessarily mean ‘Low Cost’. Low cost is the result of competition in the market and product manufacturing cost, which includes manpower costs. Low waged labor does not mean low quality and highly paid workers does not guarantee high-quality products. Mass production facilities and low wages are some of the major reasons for low-cost Chinese fiber optic products.
We need to understand the reason behind the cry against Chinese quality. There must be a vested interest group to stamp Chinese fiber optic products with the label of ‘Low quality’. They will be the beneficiaries if customers stop buying Chinese fiber optic products.
7 thoughts on “Is the Quality of Chinese Fiber Optic Products Low?”
The truth: ‘Low Cost’ does not necessarily mean ‘Low Cost’. Low cost is the result of competition in the market and product manufacturing cost, which includes manpower costs. Low waged labor does not mean low quality and highly paid workers does not guarantee high-quality products. Mass production facilities and low wages are some of the major reasons for low-cost Chinese fiber optic products.
You are correct Datacenter blog!
By the way, why did you stop writing blogs?
You got it right! As you stated, the low cost is not an indicator of low quality. I think all Chinese suppliers, whoever read this article should share in social media and make awareness to their contacts.
Thanks ‘Fiber’ for writing such a good blog. I don’t which country you belong to, but your blog post is really helpful to all Chinese makers including me.
Stating that to respect international standards is enough to provide a good quality cable is a mistake. As you say, it is easy to make a cable matching the optical characteristics when new and not in operations. But the reality is that a cable is meant to last 20+ years, meaning that it’s lifetime will be made of mechanical aggressions (pulling when being installed, winds and snow in case of aerial installation, all kinds of mistreatment by people working in the area…), water infiltration, temperature cycling (winter-summer / day-night) making the plastic materials expand or shrink … all these issues can potentially create mechanical constraints to the fiber itself and so can damage very significantly the quality of transmission. The quality of all the raw materials employed to make the cable, as well as the design of the cable and the manufacturing process control have a massive influence on the quality of the cable, and it is not visible when simply testing the freshly delivered new cable before installation, the damage usually appears weeks, months or years after installation, obliging high cost replacement (that is worth much more than the value of the cable, as is it about desinstalling-reinstalling with civil works constraints in many cases).
I am not saying that all the Chinese cables are bad, but I know for sure that many of them are made by poorly controlled supply chains and very low quality raw materials.
Before installing a cable in a network for 20+ years, one should proceed to serious testing, not just the basic optical parameters when the cable is not yet installed!
Buyers should do proper quality checks before approving a vendor and shall perform frequent testing. If Chinese cable makers maintain good quality standards, no one can beat them price-wise. Some Indian companies may probably do.
in addition to the last replay, we asking about the life cycle test (20+ years) for the fiber core it self
There are accelerated aging tests for fiber optic cable and its components. One of such tests is specified by Telcordia.