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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Cable?

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An optical fiber or fiber optic cable is a flexible, transparent fiber made by drawing glass, which are used most often as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and find wide usage in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than wire cables. Whether should I use optical fiber cables in my network? What are the advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber?

optical fiber

Advantages of Optical Fiber Cable

  • Bandwidth

Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. The amount of information that can be transmitted per unit time of fiber over other transmission media is its most significant advantage.

  • Low Power Loss

An optical fiber offers low power loss, which allows for longer transmission distances. In comparison to copper, in a network, the longest recommended copper distance is 100m while with fiber, it is 2km.

  • Interference

Fiber optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference. It can also be run in electrically noisy environments without concern as electrical noise will not affect fiber.

  • Size

In comparison to copper, a fiber optic cable has nearly 4.5 times as much capacity as the wire cable has and a cross sectional area that is 30 times less.

  • Weight

Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires. They also occupy less space with cables of the same information capacity.  Lighter weight makes fiber easier to install.

  • Security

Optical fibers are difficult to tap. As they do not radiate electromagnetic energy, emissions cannot be intercepted. As physically tapping the fiber takes great skill to do undetected, fiber is the most secure medium available for carrying sensitive data.

  • Flexibility

An optical fiber has greater tensile strength than copper or steel fibers of the same diameter. It is flexible, bends easily and resists most corrosive elements that attack copper cable.

  • Cost

The raw materials for glass are plentiful, unlike copper. This means glass can be made more cheaply than copper.

Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Cable

  • Difficult to Splice

The optical fibers are difficult to splice, and there are loss of the light in the fiber due to scattering. They have limited physical arc of cables. If you bend them too much, they will break.

  • Expensive to Install

The optical fibers are more expensive to install, and they have to be installed by the specialists. They are not as robust as the wires. Special test equipment is often required to the optical fiber.

  • Highly Susceptible

The fiber optic cable is a small and compact cable, and it is highly susceptible to becoming cut or damaged during installation or construction activities. The fiber optic cables can provide tremendous data transmission capabilities. So, when the fiber optic cabling is chosen as the transmission medium, it is necessary to address restoration, backup and survivability.

  • Can’t Be Curved

The transmission on the optical fiber requires repeating at distance intervals. The fibers can be broken or have transmission losses when wrapped around curves of only a few centimeters radius.

Conclusion
Fiber optic cable has both advantages and disadvantages. However, in the long run, optical fiber will replace copper. In today’s network, fiber optic cable becomes more popular than before and is widely used. FS.COM, as a leading optics supplier, provides all kinds of optical fiber cables with high quality and low price for your option.

Related Article: What Are the Most Popular Fiber Optic Cable Types?

What’s the Difference Between Fiber Optic Cable, Twisted Pair Cable and Coaxial Cable?

As we know, communication system usually use a wire or cable to connect sending and receiving devices. Currently, the most common cable types deployed in communication system are fiber optic cable, twisted pair cable and coaxial cable. Since each of them can be equally applied into network communication, what’s the difference between them? This article may give some answers.

Twisted Pair Cables
Twisted PairTwisted pair cable consists of a pair of insulated wires twisted together, which is adapted in the field of telecommunication for a long time. With the cable twisting together, it helps to reduce noise from outside sources and crosstalk on multi-pair cables. Basically, twisted pair cable can be divided into two types: unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) and shielded twisted-pair (STP). The former serves as the most commonly used one with merely two insulated wires twisted together. Any data communication cables and normal telephone cables belong to this category. However, shielded twisted pair distinguishes itself from UTP in that it consists of a foil jacket which helps to prevent crosstalk and noise from outside source. It is typically used to eliminate inductive and capacitive coupling, so it can be applied between equipment, racks and buildings. There exist following several different types of twisted pair cables:

Twisted Pair Cables

Coaxial Cables
Coaxial-CableCoaxial cable acts as a high-frequency transmission cable which contains a single solid-copper core. A coaxial cable has over 80 times the transmission capability of the twisted-pair. It is commonly used to deliver television signals and to connect computers in a network as well, so people may get more familiar with this kind of cable. There are two coaxial cables: 75 Ohm and 50 Ohm. What’s the application of them respectively?

  • 75 Ohm coaxial cable

The primary use of a 75 Ohm cable is to transmit a video signal. One of the typical applications is television signals over cable, sometimes called signal feed cables. The most common connector used in this application is a Type F. Another application is video signals between components such as DVD players, VCRs or Receivers commonly known as audio/video (A/V) cables. In this case BNC and RCA connectors are most often found. In both of these applications RG59 with both solid center conductor (RG59B/U) and stranded center conductor (RG59A/U) as well as RG6 are often found.

75 Ohm coaxial cable

  • 50 Ohm coaxial cable

The primary use of a 50 Ohm coaxial cable is transmission of a data signal in a two-way communication system. Some common applications for 50 Ohm coaxial cable are computer ethernet backbones, wireless antenna feed cables, GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) antenna feed cables and cell phone systems.

50 Ohm coaxial cable (1)

Fiber Optic Cable

Picture of optical cables pluged in network server

Computing and data communications are fast-moving technologies. There comes a new generation of transmission media—fiber optic cable. It refers to the complete assembly of fibers, which contain one or more optical fibers that are used to transmit data. Each of the optical fiber elements is individually coated by plastic layers and contained in a protective tube. Fiber optic cable transmits data as pulses of light go through tiny tubes of glass, the transmission capacity of which is 26,000 times higher than that of twisted-pair cable. When comparing with coaxial cables, fiber optic cables are lighter and reliable for transmitting data. They transmit information using beams of light at light speed rather than pulses of electricity.

Nowadays, two types of fiber optic cables are widely adopted in the field of data transfer—single-mode fiber optic cables and multimode fiber optic cables. A single-mode optical fiber is a fiber that has a small core, and only allows one mode of light to propagate at a time. So it is generally adapted to high speed, long-distance applications. While a multimode optical fiber is a type of optical fiber with a core diameter larger than the wavelength of light transmitted and it is designed to carry multiple light rays, or modes at the same time. It is mostly used for communication over short distances because of its high capacity and reliability, serving as a backbone applications in buildings.

Singlemode-vs-Multimode Fiber Optic Cable

Conclusion
As the technology in the field of network is developing rapidly, fiber optics seem to become the trend for the increasing demand of the market. However, whether to choose twisted pair cables, coaxial cables or fiber optic cables still depends heavily on applications, which is subject to the cost, transmission distance and performance.

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What Are the Most Popular Fiber Optic Cable Types?

Recently, as the fiber optic cable is used more and more widely than earlier years, people also know more about the fiber optic cables than before. Usually, we learn that the fiber optic cables are divided into two basic types: single mode fiber and multimode fiber. However, according to the fiber optic cable is used for indoor or outdoor, there are many other fiber types too. These fiber optic cable types are all the popular ones which are available in the current market. Then I will introduce these various fiber types to you in this article.

Indoor Fiber Optic Cables

In terms of indoor fiber optic cables, distribution cable, breakout cable, ribbon cable and LSZH cable are some popular types. Distribution cable and breakout cable all contain several jacketed simplex optical fibers packaged together inside an outer jacket, but in distribution fiber optic cable, tight buffered fibers are bundled together, with only the outer cable jacket of the cable protecting them. Besides, buffered fiber in distribution cable is 900 µm, which is smaller in size and costs less than breakout cable. Distribution cable is usually installed in intra-building backbone and inter-building campus locations. And breakout fiber optic cable is suitable for short riser and plenum applications. Ribbon cable includes up to 12 fibers contained side by side within a single jacket and is often used for network applications and data centers. LSZH cables are offered as an alternative for halogen-free applications. They are less toxic and slower to ignite which makes them a good choice for many internal installations.

breakout fiber optic cable

Outdoor Fiber Optic Cables

In terms of indoor fiber optic cables, however, tight buffered cables, loose tube cables, armored cables and submarine cables are some common popular fiber cable types. Among them, submarine fiber optic cables become more and more popular in recent years. These cables are used in fresh or salt water. To protect them from damage by fishing trawlers and boat anchors they have elaborately designed structures and armors. Other cable has armors is armored cable. Armored fiber optic cable includes an outer armor layer for mechanical protection and to prevent damage. They can be installed in ducts or aerially, or directly buried underground. Armor is surrounded by a polyethylene jacket. Tight buffered cable and loose tube cable are two early common outdoor fiber cables. Tight buffered cables have riser and plenum rated versions. These cables are flexible, easy to handle and simple to install. In loose tube cables, tube encloses multiple coated fibers that are surrounded by a gel compound that protects the cable from moisture in outside environments. This cable is restricted from indoor use, typically allowing entry not to exceed 50 feet.

Armored Fiber Optic Cable

All these indoor and outdoor fiber optic cables play an important role in optical network. As they have different characteristics, they have different applications too. For this reason, when you choose fiber optic cables, you must take their usability into consideration. For more information, you can visit Fiberstore, which designs and manufactures all these popular fiber optic cables.

Armored Fiber Optic Cable

Definition of armored fiber optic cable
Armored Fiber Optic Cable, just as the name implies, is that there is a layer of additional protective metal armoring of the fiber optic cable.
Armored Fiber CableFunction
Armored fiber cable plays a very important role in long-distance line of fiber optic cable. A layer of metal armoring in the scarf-skin of fiber optic cable protects the fiber core from rodent, moist and erosion.

Classification
According to the place of use, there are indoor armored fiber optic cables and outdoor armored fiber optic cables.

Indoor armored fiber optic cable
Indoor armored fiber optic cable is mainly used in interior, so it must be flexible and can be installed in the corner and some narrow places. Besides, indoor armored fiber optic cable experiences less temperature and mechanical stress, but they have to be fire retardant, emit a low level of smoke in case of burning. And indoor armored fiber cables must allow a small bend radius to make them be amendable to vertical installation and handle easily.

Indoor armored fiber optic cable can be divided into simplex armored fiber optic cable and duplex armored fiber optic cable. The main difference is that simplex armored fiber optic cable is the cable that not contains stainless steel wire woven layer, and duplex armored fiber optic cable is the cable that contains stainless steel hose and stainless steel wire woven which are of compressive property, resistance to deflection, rodent resistance, anti-torque and so on.

Outdoor armored fiber optic cable
Outdoor armored fiber optic cables are made to protect the optical fiber to operate safely in complicated outdoor environment. Most armored outdoor fiber cables are loose buffer design, with the strengthen member in the middle of the whole cable, the loose tubes surround the central strength member.

Outdoor armored fiber optic cable can be divided into light armored fiber optic cable and heavy armored fiber optic cable. Light armored fiber optic cable is with steel tape and aluminium tape which can strengthen rodent protection. Heavy armored fiber optic cable is equipped with a circle of steel wire, and usually used in riverbed and seabed.

Installation
There are two installation methods of armored fiber optic cable. One is buried directly in the ground, and the other is aerial optical cable.

For direct burial fiber cable, armored fiber optic cable is in the position to resist external mechanical damage, prevent erosion and resist rodent. In addition, because of different soil and environment, the depth of burying under the ground is about between 0.8m-1.2m.

On the other hand, aerial optical cable is the optical cable that hanging on the pole. This kind of installation way of armored fiber optic cable can prevent fiber core from any kind of severe environment, such as typhoon, ice, and people or animals. Aerial armored optical cable mostly uses central loose tube armored fiber optic cable (GYXTW) and stranded loose tube armored fiber optic cable (GYTA). The features of GYXTW are that can contain up to 12 fiber cores, the loose tube is centrally situated with good excess length and minimizes the influence of lateral crush, and double wire as strength member provides excellent strain performance. GYTA is suitable for installation for long haul communication and LANs, especially suitable for the situation of high requirements of moisture resistance. GYTA is with compact structure; the cable jacket is made of strong Polyethylene. This armored fiber optic cable features the good mechanical and temperature performance. GYTA is also with high strength loose tube that is hydrolysis resistant and the optical cable filling materials ensure high reliability, its APL makes the cable crush resistant and moisture proof. The GYTA fiber optic cable is available from 2 cores to 144 cores.

Some Common Types of Indoor Cables

Optical fiber cables for indoor cabling are used for the construction of horizontal subsystem and SCS building backbone cabling subsytems. They differ form cables used for outdoor cabling by two key parameters.

Indoor fiber optic cable is tight buffer design, usually they consist of the following components inside the cable, the FRP which is non-metallic strengthen member, the tight buffer optical fiber, the Kevlar which is used to further strength the cable structure, making it resist high tension, and the cable outer jacket. The trend is to use LSZH or other RoHS compliant PVC materials to make the cable jacket; this will help protect the environment and the health of the end users.

Indoor Cables

Cables for indoor applications include the following:

* Simplex cables
* Duplex cables
* Multifiber cables
* Heavy-, light-, and plenum-duty cables
* Breakout cables
* Ribbon cables

Although thes categories overlap, they represent the common ways of referring to fibers. Figure 7-5 shows cross sections of several typcial cables types.

Simplex Cables

A simplex fiber cable consists of a single strand of glass of plastic fiber. Simplex fiber is most often used where only a single transmit and/or receive line is required between devices or when a multiplex data signal is used (bi-directional communication over a single fiber).

Duplex Cables

A duplex fiber cable consists of two strands of glass or plastic fiber. Typically found in a “zipcord” construction format, this cable is most often used for duplex communication between devices where a separate transmit and receive are required.

Duplex cable is used instead of two simplex cables for aesthetics and convenience. It is easier to handle a single duplex cable, there is less chance of the two channels becoming confused, and the appearance is more pleasing. Remember, the power cord for your lamp is a duplex cable that could eaily be two separate wires. Does a single duplex cord in the lamp not make better sense? The same reasoning prevails with fiber optic cables.

Loose Tube Cables

loose tube cable

The loose tube variety contains one or more hard buffer tubes, which house between 1 and 12 coated fibers. The hard buffer tubes are also filled with a gel to provide vibration and moisture protection for the fibers. The fibers lie loosely in the tubes, which are wound into the cable in a reversing helical fashion and are actually longer than the outer sheath of the cable. This arrangement allows for a small amount of stretch in the outer sheath when installing the cable. Loose tube cable is used most often in OSP construction because it is designed for a tough outdorr environment use. See Figure-1 for the physical make-up of a typical loose tube cable.

Breakout Cables

Breakout cabke

Breakout cables have several individual simplex cables inside an outer jacket. The breakout cables shown in Figure 2 use two dielectric fillers to keep the cables positioned, while a Mylar wrap surrounds the cables/fillers. The outer jacket includes a ripcord to make its removal fast and easy. The point of the breakout cable is to allow the cable subunits inside to be exposed easily to whatever length is needed. Breakout cables are typically available with two or four fibers, although larger cables also find use.

Ribbon Cables

ribbon cable

Ribbon cable uses a number of fibers side by side in a single jacket. Originally, Ribbon fiber cable was used for outdoor cables (see Figure 3). Today they also find use in premises cabling and computer applications. The cables, typically with up to 12 fibers, offer a very small cross section. They are used to connect equipment within cabinets, in network applications, and for computer data centers. In addtion, they are comatible with multifiber array connectors. Ribbon cables are available in both multimode and single-mode versions.

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The Core And Cladding Of Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cables transmit data through very small cores at the speed of light. Significantly different from copper cables, fiber optic cables offer high bandwidths and low losses, which allow high data-transmission rates over long distances. Light propagates throughout the fiber cables according to the principle of total internal reflection.

There are three common types of fiber optic cables: single-mode, multimode, and graded-index. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. There also are several different designs of fiber optic cables, each made for different applications. In addition, new fiber optic cables with different core and cladding designs have been emerging; these are faster and can carry more modes. While fiber optic cable are used mostly in communication systems, they also have established medical, military, scanning, imaging, and sensing applications. They are also used in optical fiber devices and fiber optic lighting.

Fiber optic cable is a filament of transparent material used to transmit light, as shown in Figure 1.2. Virtually all fiber optic cables share the same fundamental structure. The centre of the cable is referred to as the core. It has a highter refractive index than the cladding, which surrounds the core. The contact surface between the core and the cladding creates an interface surface that guides the light; the difference between the refractive index of the core and cladding is what causes the mirror like interface surface, which guides light along the core. Light bounces through the core from one end to the other according to the principle of total internal reflection, as explained by the laws of light. The cladding is then covered with a protective plastic or PVC jacket. The diameters of the core,cladding, and jacket can vary widely; for a single fiber optic cable can have core, cladding, and jacket diameters of 9, 125, and 250 um, respectively.

Figure 1.3 shows the structure of a typical fiber optic cable. The cores of most fiber optic cables are made from pure glass, while the cladding are made from less pure glass. Glass fiber optic cable has the lowest attenuation over long distances but comes at the highest cost. A pure glass fiber optic cable has a glass cladding. Fiber optic cable cores and claddings may be made from plastic, which is not as clear as glass but is more flexible and easier to handle. Compared with other fiber cables, Plastic Optical Fiber Cable is limited in power loss and bandwidth. However, they are more affordable, easy to use, and attractive in applications where high bandwidth or low loss is not a concern. A few glass fiber cable cores are clad with plastic. Their performance, though not as good as all-glass fiber cables, is quite respectable.

fiber optic cable

The jacket is made from polymmer (PVC, plastic, etc.) to protect the core and the cladding from mechanical damage. The jackets has several major attributes, including bending ability, abrasion resistance, static fatigue protection, toughness, moisture resistance, and the ability to be stripped. Fiber optic cable jackets are made in different colours for colour-coding identification. Some optical fibers are coated with a copper-based alloy that allows operation at up to 700 and 500℃ for short and long periods, respectively.

Fiberstore is a leading supplier of Bulk Fiber Optic Cable and components into the umbilical and towed array products for the oil & gas sector. The key technology for these products is Fiberstore’s patented stainless steel fiber optic tube technology which packages the optical fiber in the best possible way resulting in a robust, compact product that is suitable for the high pressure of the subsea environment. Fiberstore will customize the design to meet your needs to include different fiber counts, fiber types, metal types, tube sizes, belting materials, armor type, armor size, armor count, encapsulation types, color, print, packaging and length.

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More Characteristics of Fiber Optic Cable

When light from a source is sent through a fiber-optic cable, the ligth wave both bounces around inside the cable and passes through the cable to the outlet protective jacket. When a light signal inside the cable bounces off the cable wall and back into the cable, this is called reflection. When a light signal passes from the core of the cable into the surrounding material, this is called refraction. Figure 3-9 demonstrates the differece between reflection and refraction.

Light can be transmitted through a fiber-optic cable using two basic techniques. The first technique, called single-mode transmission, requires the use of a very thin fiber-optic cable and a very focused light source, such as a laser. When a laser is fired down a narrow fiber, the light follows a tight beam, and so there is less tendency for the light wave to reflect or refract. Thus, this technique allows for a very fast signal with little signal degradation (and thus less noise) over long distances. Because lasers are used as the light source, single-mode transmission is a more expensive techique than the second fiber-optic cable signaling techique. Any application that involves a large amount of data transmitted at high speeds is a candidate for single-mode transmission.

The second signaling technique, called multimode transmission, uses a slightly thicker fiber cable and an unfocused light source, such as an LED. Because the light source is unfocused, the light wave experiences more refraction and reflection (i.e, noise) as it propagates through the wire. This noise results in signals that cannot travel as far or as fast as the signals generated with the single-mode technique. Correspondingly, multimode transmission is less expensive than single-mode transmission. Local area networks that employ fiber-optic cables often use multimode transmissions.

Single-mode and multimode transmission techniuqes use fiber-optic cable with different characteristics. The core of single-mode fiber-optic cable is 8.3 microns wide, and the material surrounding the fiber – the cladding – is 125 microns wide. Hence, single-mode fiber optic cable is labeled 8.3/15 cable. The core of multimode fiber optic cable is most commonly 62.5 microns wide, and the cladding is 125 microns. Multimode fiber optic cable is labeled 62.5/125 cable. Othe sizes of multimode fiber optic cable include 50/125 and 100/140 microns.

Bulk fiber optic cable comes in lots of types, depending on where it will be installed. Where to buy fiber optic cable? As the best OEM fiber optic cable manufacturer, Fiberstore provides a wide range of quality optical fiber cables with detailed specifications displayed for your convenient selecting. Per foot price of each fiber cable is flexible depending on the quantities of your order, making your cost of large order unexpected lower. Customers can also have the flexibility to custom the cable plant to best fit their needs. Only fiber cable that meets or exceeds industry standards is used to ensure quality products with best-in-class performance. Fiberstore offers an extensive line of off the shelf bulk fiber optic cable to address your fiber installation needs. We stock 62.5/125, 50/125, and 9/125 bulk fiber optic cable in simplex, duplex (zip cord), breakout, and distribution styles.

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Multimode And Singlemode Fiber Optic Cabling

The ANSI/TIA-568-C standard permits both single-mode and multimode fiber-optic cables. Two connectors were formerly widely used with fiber-optic cabling systems: the ST and SC connectors. Two connectors were formerly widely used with fiber-optic cabling systems: the ST and SC connectors. Many installations have employed the ST connector type, but the standard now recognizes only the 568SC-type connector. This was changed so that the fiber-optic specifications in ANSI/TIA-568-C3 standard alsorecgnizes small-form-factor connectors such as the array connectors such as MPO (multiple-fiber-push-on) connectors.

Multimode optical fiber is most often used as backbone cable inside a buildind and for horizontal cable. Multimode cable permits multiple modes of light to propagate through the cable and thus lowers cable distances and have a lower available bandwidth. Devices that use multimode fiber-optic cable typically use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to generate the light that travels through the cable; however, higher-bandwidth network devices such as Gigabit Ethernet are now using lasers with multimode fiber optic cable. ANSI/TIA-568-C3 recognizes two types of multimode optical fiber cable:

● Two-fiber (duplex) 62.5/125-micron (aka OM1 per ISO 11801)
● 50/125-micron multimode fiber-optic cable

Within the 50/125-micron multimode fiber optic classification, there are three options:

● A standard 50-micron fiber (aka OM2 per ISO 11801 Ed.2.2)
● A higher bandwidth option known as 850nm laser-optimized 50/125-micron (aka OM3 per ISO 11801 Ed.2.2)
● An even higher bandwidth option known as 850nm laser-optimized 50/125-micron (aka OM4 per ISO 11801 Ed.2.2) used for 40 and 100 Gbps applications. In December 2011 this was included in addendum 1 of ANSI/TIA 568.C3-1: Addition of OM4 Cabled Optical Fiber and Array Connectivity.

ANSI/TIA-568-C.3 recommends the use of 850nm laser-optimized 50/125-micro (OM3 or OM4) since it has much higher bandwidth and supports all Gigabit Ethernet applications to the longest distances.

The same connectors and transmission eletronics are used on both 62.5/125-micron and 50/125-micron multimode fiber optic cable. Since multimode fiber has a large core diameter, the connectors and transmitters do not need the same level of precision required with single-mode conncetors and transmitters. As a result, they are less expensive than single-mode parts.

Single-mode optical fiber cable is commonly used as backbone cabling outside the building and is also usually the cable type for long-distance phone systems. Light travels through single-mode fiber optic cable using only a single mode, meaning it travels straight down the fiber and does not “bounce” off the cable walls. Because only a single mode of light travels through the cable, singlemode fiber optic cable supports higher bandwidth and longer distances than multimode fiber optic cable. Devices that use single mode fiber optic cable typically use lasers to generate the light that travels through the cable. Since the core size of single mode cable is much smaller than multimode fiber, the connecting hardware and especially the lasers are much mmore expensive than those used for multimode fiber. As a result, single-mode based systems (cable plus electronics) are more costly than multimode systemss.ANSI/TIA-568-C.3 recognizes OS1 and OS2 single-mode optical fiber cables.

Fiberstore specializes in fiber optic cable assemblies and fiber optic network devices.  Beginning manufacturing in 2009, we are known as a fiber optic cable suppliers  for the excellent products, quality, competitive prices, fast delivery and good service. We not only offer OEM fiber optic assemblies to some of the  worlds leading companies in this industry, but we also cooperate with many other companies from all over the world and support these partners to win in the market. We are a professionally staffed fiber optic company distribution company.

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Some Fiber Optic Cable Type Introduction

Fiber optic “cable” refers to the complete assembly of fibers, other internal parts like buffer tubes, ripcords, stiffeners, strength members all included inside an outer protective covering called the jacket. Fiber optic cables come in lots of different types, depending on the number of fibers and how and where it will be installed. It is important to choose cable carefully as the choice will affect how easy the cable is to install, splice or terminate and what it will cost. Next, we will introduce 5 types of fiber optic cable in communication.

Distribution Cable

When it is necessary to run a large number of fibers through a building, distribution cable is often used. Distribution cable consists of multiple tight-buffered fibers bundled in a jacket with a strength member. Typically, these cables may also form subcables within a larger distribution cable.

Distribution Cable

Distribution cables usually end up at patch panels or communication closets, where they ar hooked into devices that communicate with separate offices or locations. These fibers are not meant to run outside of office walls or be handled beyond the intial installation, because they do not have individual jackets.

Distribution cables often carry up to 144 individual fibers, many of which may not be used immediately bu should be considered for future expansion.

Breakout Cable

Breakout cables are used to carry fibers that will have individual connectors attached, rather than being connected to a patch panel.

Breakout cables consist of two or more simplex cables bundled around a central strength member and covered with an outer jackets. Like distribution cable, breakout cables may be run through a bulding’s walls, but the individual simplex cords can then be broken out and handled individually.

As is the case with distribution cable, breakout cables may end up in communication closets, but in the case of breakout cables, users can manmually change connections. Breakout cables may also be used to connect directly to equipment.

Armored cable

Armored cable, addresses the special needs of outdoor cable that will be exposed to potential damage from equipment, rodents, and other especially harsh attacks.

Armored fiber cable consists of a cable surrounded by a steel or aluminum jacket which is then covered with a polyethylene jacket to protect it from moisture and abrasion. It may be run aerially, installed in ducts, or placed in underground enclosures with special protection from dirt and clay intrusion.

Messenger Cable

When a fiber optic cable must be suspended between two poles or other structures, the strenth members alone are not enough to support the weight of the cable. Installers must use a messenger cable, which incorporates a steel or dielectric line known as a messenger to take the weight of the cable. The cable carrying the fiber is attached to the messenger by a thin web an hangs below it.

Also called Figure 8 Fiber Optic cable for the appearance of its cross section, messenger cable greatly speeds up installation of aerial cable by eliminating the need to lash a cable to a pre-run messenger line.

In applications that will run near power lines, the dielectric messenger is ofen used to minimize the risk of energizing the cable through induced current, which is created when the electrical field from a high voltage alternating current line expands and contracts over a nearby conductor. If a conductive cable is close enough to the alternating current, the induced current may be srong enough to injure someone working near the cable.

It’s a good practice, in fact, to use dielectric strength members wherever tension considerations permit, as this will help avoid any potential conductivity problems in the cable.

Hybrid cable

Hybrid cable, as applied to fiber optics, combines multimode and single-mode fibers in one cable. Hybrid cable should not be confused with composite cable, although the terms have been used interchangeably in the past.

FiberStore is one of the industry’s fastest growing fiber optic cable manufacturer, specializing in providing quality, cost-effective retailing, wholesale and OEM fiber optic products. For more information on bulk fiber optic cable and customization service, please email to sales@fs.com or visit fs.com.

Two Basic Types Of Fiber Optic Cable Construction

Based on 900um tight buffered fiber and 250um coated fiber there are two basic types of fiber optic cable constructions – Tight Buffered Cable and Loose Tube Cable.

Loose Buffer

A loose buffer’s inner diameter is much larger than a fiber’s outer diameter. Two major advantages from this design are perfect fiber isolation from mechanical forces (within given range) and protection from moisture. The first advantage is due to mechanical dead zone. A force imposed on a buffer does not affect the fiber until this force becomes large enough to straighten the fiber inside the buffer. A loose buffer can be easily filled with a water-blocking gel, which provides its second advantage. In addition, a loose buffer can accommodate several fibers, thus reducing the cost of the cable. On the other hand, this type of cable cannot be installed vertiacally and its end preparation for connectorization (splicing and termination) is labour-intensive. Conseuqently, the loose buffer type of cable is used mostly in outdoor installations because it provides stable and reliable transmission over a wide range of temperatures, mechanical stress, and other environment conditions.

Loose tube structure isolates the fibers from the cable structure. This is a big advantage in handling thermal and other stresses encountered outdoors, which is why most loose tube fiber optic cables are built for outdoor applications. In outside application, ADSS Cable is the special loose tube cable.

Loose-tube cables typically are used for outside-plant installation in aerial, duct and direct-buried applications.

loose tube cable

Structure of a Loose Tube Cable

Elements in a loose tube fiber optic cable:

1. Multiple 250um coated bare fibers (in loose tube)
2. One or more loose tubes holding 250um bare fibers. Loose tubes strand around the central strength member.
3. Moisture blocking gel in each loose tube for water blocking and protection of 250um fibers
4. Central strength member (in the center of the cable and is stranded around by loose tubes)
5. Aramid Yarn as strength member
6. Ripcord (for easy removal of outer jacket)
7. Outer jacket (Polyethylene is most common for outdoor cables because of its moisture resistant, abrasion resistant and stable over wide temperature range characteristics. )

Tight Buffer

A tight buffer’s inner diameter is equal to the fiber’s coating diameter, as illustrated in Figure 2.33. Its primary advantage is ists ability to keep the cable operational despite a break in the fiber. Since a buffer holds a fiber firmly, a small separation of the fiber ends won’t interrupt the service completely, althought it will definitely degrade signal quality. That is why the military was the first customer and still is the largest for this type of fiber cable. A tight buffer is rugeed, allowing a smaller bend radius. Since each buffer contains only one fiber and there is no gel to be removed, it is easy to prepare this cable for connectorization. Cables having a tight buffer can be installed vertically. In general, tight buffer cables are more sensitive to temperature, mechanical and water impacts than the loose buffer cables; hence, they are recommended mostly for indoor applications. On the other hand, tight buffer cables designed for special applications (such as military and undersea are the strongest cable available.

Tight buffered cables are mostly built for indoor applications, although some tight buffered cables have been built for outdoor applications too. Here we recommend you a good site to buy fiber optic cable, fiberstore is a fantastic selection of fiber optic cable, including simplex,duplex,tight buffered,breakout, breakout,  plastic fiber optic  cable etc. More information want to know, search fiberstore on Google.

Structure of a Tight Buffered Cable

outdoor cable

Elements in a tight buffered fiber optic cable

1. Multiple 900um tight buffered fibers (stranded around the central strength member)
2. Central strength member (in the center of the cable)
3. Aramid Yarn (trade name Kevlar, Kevlar was developed by Dupont) (wrapped around the fibers, for physical protection and cable pulling)
4. Ripcord (for easy removal of outer jacket)
5. Outer jacket (also called sheath, PVC is most common for indoor cables because of its flexible, fire-retardant and easy extrusion characteristics. )

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