Applications for Outside Plant Fiber Optic Cables

Inside plant refers to the cabling running inside a building. Similarly, outside plant is the cabling running outdoors. Outside plant cables are thicker because of more durable insulation jackets. As for fiber optic communication, there are many types of outside plant fiber optic cables. Some have extra protections to prevent corrosion and other elemental interference. Outside plant fiber optics are widely used in telephone networks, CATV, metropolitan networks, utilities and so on. If you want to choose the right outside plant fiber optic cable, its applicable environment is an important factor for consideration. This post will introduce some common outside plant fiber optic cables and typical outdoor application environments.

Several Types of Outside Plant Fiber Optic Cables

Outdoor Breakout Cable

Outdoor breakout cable is perfect for rugged applications and installations that require increased performance. It is usually made of several bundled simplex cables wrapped in a common cable jacket. The fungus, water and UV protections and temperature durability are beneficial to its outside applications. Its design of individual fiber reinforcement enables the quick termination to connectors and omits the use of patch panels or boxes. With much less termination work, outdoor breakout cable is more cost-effective when small fiber counts and short distances are required.

outside plant cable -breakout-outdoor-cable

Outdoor Loose Tube Cable

Outdoor loose tube cable has the gel-filled design protecting the cable from moisture environment. The gel within the loose-tube construction stops the penetration of water and keeps it away from the fiber. Also, it keeps water from freezing near the fiber at low temperatures which reduces the chance of stress fractures. Fibers are bundled inside a small plastic tube that can protect fibers from outside stresses. Outdoor loose tube cable is often used in conduits, strung overhead or buried directly into the ground.


Outdoor Ribbon Cable

Outdoor ribbon fiber optic cable has high fiber counts and small cable diameter. It contains the most fibers in the smallest cable. These fibers are laid out in rows as ribbons, and ribbons are laid on top of each other. Likewise, it also has gel-filled protection to block outside water. Ribbon cable makes installation much faster and easier since mass fusion splicers can join a ribbon at once.


Outdoor Armored Cable

Outdoor armored cable is a direct buried type that prevents itself from animal bite. The metal armoring between two jackets effectively prohibits rodent penetration. Outdoor armored cable can be divided into light armored and heavy armored types. The former has the protective plastic jacket with the same durability and longevity of a stainless steel cable with a lighter weight. The latter is wrapped in a wire circle to be applied for underwater regions that near shores and shoals.


Outside Cable Plant Applications

Outside cable plant deployment can be implemented in many environments. Above-ground, underground, buried and underwater are the typical applications.

Above-ground Cable Plant

Above-ground cable plant can be exposed to extreme temperatures, and to humidity that varies with the seasons and with daily temperature changes. Cables under such circumstances should be durable to adapt to extreme weathers and water penetration.

Underground Cable Plant

Underground cable plant usually applies cables in underground structures including the utility holes, controlled environmental vaults, ducts and so on. The condition in utility holes and ducts sometimes can be corrosive because of man-made chemicals. Cables with corrosion-proof materials are perfect for this environment.

Buried Cable Plant

Buried cable plant applies cables directly into the soil. Cables can also be exposed to the same corrosive environment as underground plant. But animal bite is an additional problem. Cables for this application should be very tough to endure both chemical corrosion and animal attack.

Underwater Cable Plant

Underwater cable plant are located beneath the surface of water. The water can range from relatively pure to brackish, or to badly contaminated with industrial effluent. Cables for underwater plant are extremely rugged, with fibers in the middle of the cable inside stainless steel tubes and the outside coated with many layers of steel strength members and conductors for powering repeaters.


Unlike indoor cables, outside plant fiber optic cables must be wrapped in different layers to withstand the severe installation conditions. Choosing the right kind of outdoor cable can save you a great deal for long-term maintenance. And your project application is an important aspect that will affect the selection of fiber optic cables.

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Understanding Armored Fiber Patch Cable

With the development of telecommunication, demands for fiber patch cables are increasing all over the world. However, it is known to all that cables under harsh environment must be in need of better protection. Luckily, the advent of armored fiber patch cable efficiently solves the problem. As the name indicates, this type of optical cable is wrapped in a protective armor to prevent optical cables from animal bite, moisture, corrosion and other damage. Therefore, using armored fiber patch cables will greatly reduce the cost of unnecessary cable loss. This article will give you a basic introduction about the structure, types and advantages of armored optical cable.

Structure of Armored Fiber Patch Cables

Armored fiber optic cable has some basic layers. The first layer is the outer jacket made of plastic materials. It can protect the cable from the destroy of solvent and abrasion. The second layer under outer jacket is the strength member made of armored materials, such as aluminum foil, steel and kevlar. These materials are difficult to cut, bite and burn which are great protections for the optical cable. Next is the inner jacket of fiber made of protective and flame-retardant materials to support the internal optical fibers.

armored fiber patch cable

Types of Armored Fiber Optic Cable

Armored fiber patch cables can be divided into indoor armored optical cable and outdoor armored optical cable according to the premises.

Indoor Armored Optical Cable

This kind of optical cable includes double and single indoor armored fiber patch cables. The double armored cable has the stainless steel wire woven and stainless steel tube. On the contrary, the single armored cable does not contain the stainless steel components. Most of the indoor armored cables are deployed for building wiring applications. You may find them in walls, between floors, in plenum air handling ducts and under data center floors, etc.

Outdoor Armored Optical Cable

There are light armored and heavy armored optical cable used for outdoor applications. The light armored cable has the protective plastic jacket with the same durability and longevity of a stainless steel cable, but its weight is much lighter. The heavy armored cable is wrapped in a wire circle which can be applied for riverbed and ocean floor.

Advantages of Armored Fiber Optic Cable

There are numerous advantages of armored fiber optic cable. The flexibility and durability of armored cable are excellent which makes it the right choice for industrial purposes. Moreover, the armor materials protect the cable from damage caused by animal, human or harsh environment, thus it can be applied to places where ordinary cables can not. The armored cable can also undergo heat and high pressure of extreme conditions. Using the armored optical cable not only ensures the high speed data transmission, but also extends the life span of cables.


When fiber optic cables are needed for terrible conditions, a strong protection for the cable is very necessary. Therefore, to secure the data communication, armored fiber optic cable is a good solution to make the cable free from different damages. But when you operate the armored fiber patch cables, you must be careful of the freshly cut edges which are very sharp to cope with. And the budget of your project should also be taken into consideration as armored cables are generally more expensive than the common ones.

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Armored Fiber Optic Patch Cable Ordering Guide

Fiber optic patch cable is an important cable component for fiber optic networks, the armored fiber optic patch cables are specially designed for harsh environment in in aerospace, automotive, industrial, medical, and military applications. FiberStore provides a huge selection of armored fiber optic patch cables in any configuration, with any connectors types, cable modes, and lengths.

Armored fiber patch cable is a round, compact and very tough duplex patch cable with flexible armouring under PVC or LSZH jacket, providing exceptional crush and kinking resistance. Armored fiber patch cord is different from standard fiber optic patch cables, the very commonly used fiber optic patch cables structures is like this: fiber glass core in the center of the cable, cladding outside the fiberglass for protection, Kevlar outside the cladding, Kevlar is soft as well as very strong material, then the outside is the cable jacket. Traditional fiber optic patch cords are tender equipment, people cannot bend it too much or the fiberglass will be damaged and broken, which is not suitable for harsh environment.

Armored fiber optic patch cables are with the same types of fiber optic connectors as the commonly used types, the difference is the cable itself. Armored fiber optic cables are typically used for indoor applications, with the same outer diameter of common types 2mm or 3mm. The difference is armored fiber optic cables are with stainless steel tape just inside the cable jacket and outside the Kevlar, this stainless unit provides extra feature as well as retain all the function that a common type optical fiber patch cable can give. What’s more, armored fiber optic cords are anti-rodent, and it can be handled as electric cables. It is not easy to get damaged or cut, and it can resist an adult step on it.

Armored fiber optic patch cable ordering guide:

FiberStore supply armored fiber optic patch cables, including 10G OM4/OM3, 9/125, 62.5/125 types. 10G fiber patch cables provide 10 gigabyte data transfer speeds in high bandwidth applications and they are 5 times faster than standard 50um fiber cable. All armored fiber patch cable types can be with SC, ST, FC, LC, MU, SC/APC, ST/APC, LC/APC, etc. types of terminations.

Fiber optic connector type: LC, FC, SC, ST, MU, MTRJ, E2000
Ferrule Interface type: PC, UPC, APC
Fiber cores: Simplex, duplex, 4 fibers, 8 fibers etc.
Fiber type; single mode (G.652, G655), multimode(50/125) /(62.5/125)
100% Insertion Return Loss, End Face and Interference inspection
Low insertion loss, high return loss
Excellent mechanical endurance
Good in repeatability and exchangeability
Insertion loss: <0.5 dB
Operation temperature: -20° to 85°C
10G OM3 OM4 fiber cable available
Various jacket material, PVC and LSZH

Related: Armored LC-LC patch cord