Nowadays, fiber optic cable is used in almost all types of networks. It is used in international, city, subscriber, local and other networks. An optical cable makes it possible to transfer information from one device to another as it has high reliability of signal transmission. But the transmission parameters must be suitable for the type of network where it is used and equipment that transmits and receives a signal. You can buy an optical cable with different parameters in any quantity and any length.
In fact, nowadays, the market offers a huge assortment of cable, brands and modifications, which is difficult to navigate without knowledge of certain concepts. Therefore, the choice of an optical cable is an important step that should be approached with special attention. In addition, a wide variety of cables are used for access networks, so it is important to select and install them correctly. So, before choosing a cable for any territory, you must first determine the type of section like trunk, distribution, subscriber or other. This write-up will explain how to select the correct optical fiber cable:
- Manufacturer’s Recommendation
Many manufacturers of optical wires are widely represented in the domestic market of fiber optic products. Who is the best to whom to give preference? The products of all manufacturers are approximately the same. While giving your choice over manufactures, pay attention to the warranty and quality of wires. A reliable manufacturer will produce a full line of optical cables of fairly decent quality, which is sufficient for any installation method and has the required type of optical fiber. Choosing cable according to an experienced manufacturer will provide the huge for the long run. Select multiple manufacturers and choose one by comparing their prices, quality, and materials of the product.
- Type of Fiber – Single-mode or Multimode
The cable selection should be made in accordance with the purposes for which the line is installed. If you choose wire for laying a normal trunk, you can purchase a product with a bearing element made of wire or cable. Such a cable has single-mode fibers, the number of which can start from 16 and end with 48. Also, single-mode wires have a higher coverage area and data transmission distance, which means that when laying the trunk, the total cost of installation will be significantly lower than that of a multi-mode one. Single-mode cable is usually used for laying telephone networks and cable television.
Multimode cables are capable of transmitting large amounts of data in several waves, which is its main advantage. Such products are used in the construction of cable Internet networks. Multimode fiber will help provide a higher data rate than single-mode. Nevertheless, multimode wires are significantly behind in quality and their use is not justified if you want to lay a network whose length exceeds 400 m. Such products are suitable for laying networks over short distances.
- Consider the Cable Specifications
Having dealt with the type of cable, it is necessary to determine the necessary characteristics for the cable network. When choosing a product, it is important to pay attention to such characteristics as shock load, which is an indicator of the protection of the wire and its core from shock.
Another important parameter is the allowable bend, which indicates the maximum possible radius of curvature of the wire. It is important that this figure is higher if you plan to lay on the sewer network, pipeline or cable channel. Neglect of this parameter can cause a violation of the integrity of the optical fibers of the wire and cause the failure of the product.
Another important characteristic of the wire is torsion (the degree of protection of the fiber by the sheath of the cable) and protection against moisture penetration into the cable, which will become important if you use the wire outdoors.
- Purpose & Design of Cable
While proceeding to the choice of the design of the optical cable, you need to decide on what conditions the optical cable will be laid. Whether it will be laid indoors or outdoors, in the ground or in the cable duct, or maybe even through the air. The most common fiber optic cable designs include:
Flat FTTH: The FTTH flat cable has the smallest dimensions and weight, as well as a flat surface due to the small number of fibers. They do not have a pronounced core. The solution is convenient to install, cable cutting can be done without special tools.
Modular LooseTube (LT): The modular design is characterized by freely located inside elements. The core is placed in tubes that perform a protective function. It prevents the cable from stretching, preventing it from sagging during installation or operation.
Tubular UniTube (UT): The tubular design does not provide for the presence of a center element. The function of protection against stretching can be performed by optional peripheral elements – steel rods mounted in the outer shell.
The choice of design type depends primarily on the purpose of the cable and the number of optical fibers. If their number exceeds 24, it is better to give preference to a modular type, if up to 8 – tubular, the FTTH cable is designed for 1-2 optical fibers. In the range from 8 to 24, both designs may be an acceptable choice.
- Selection with Tight and Free Buffer
The fiber in the cable with a free buffer is protected by a base coating and is located in a fairly rigid plastic module with a significant internal diameter and filled with a hydrophobic gel. The cable consists of several modules, power elements that protect against tension, compression, shrinkage and sharp bends, as well as an external coating. The intermodular space is also filled with a hydrophobic gel. In addition, when splicing and terminating, it is necessary to exclude the possibility of penetration of moisture and substances that can interact with the filler.
In cables with dense buffer fibers, a protective layer is formed by directly extruding plastic around the fiber. This design has a higher resistance to tensile, shock and compression, and also allows bends of significantly smaller radius than cables with fibers in a free buffer. In addition, cables of this type have a larger diameter and weight.
It is concluded that for laying indoors, an ideal solution is a cable with dense buffer while a cable with a free buffer is more suitable in difficult climatic conditions.
When choosing and laying the cable in a specific place and under certain conditions, consider the total distance over which the cable is laid and the amount of attenuation that can have a critical effect on the speed and quality of information transfer. It is also worth considering the characteristics of the connected devices and the manufacturer’s specifications for the cable. You need to approach each a specific case individually while selecting the cable. Following the general recommendations and taking into account your own needs, you can make the right choice.
Lisa Cooper is a Marketing Manager associated with Fixtel – an Australian based telecommunications company offers phone system, data cabling installation, fibre optic cable installation and Managed IT Services all over in Australia. In her free time, she loves to write insightful technical blogs & articles on the fibre optic and security Gadgets topics.