Construction Design And Jacket Materials Of A Cable

Fiber optics has high bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances. Turn to buy fiber optic cable, you may confused as  there are so many types of cables and it’s difficult to  figure them out. An optical fiber cable consists of a center glass core surrounded by several layers of protective material. The outer insulating jacket is to prevent interference. The construction design and choices of materials are vital in determining characteristics of a cable. The design factors for some types of fiber optic cables are listed below.

Indoor cables– Fire safety is the number one factor in selecting indoor cables, particularly those that run through plenum spaces. Indoor cables must pass the flame-retardant and smoke-inhibitor ratings specified by NEC.

Outdoor cables– Moisture resistance and temperature tolerance are the major factors when choosing materials for outdoor environment cables, like waterproof cables and outdoor cables do. They also need to be ultraviolet (UV) resistant.

Aerial/Self-Supporting Cables– Aerial cables must endure extreme temperature ranges from sunlight heat to freezing snow. They also must survive high wind loading.

Cable Jacket Materials

Polyethylene (PE). PE (black color) is the standard jacket material for outdoor fiber optic cables. PE has excellent moisture – and weather-resistance properties. It has very stable dielectric properties over a wide temperature range. It is also abrasion-resistant.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). PVC is the most common material for indoor cables, however it can also be used for outdoor cables. It is flexible and fire-retardant. PVC is more expensive than PE.

Polyvinyl difluoride (PVDF). PVDF is used for plenum cables because it has better fire-retardant properties than PE and produces little smoke.

Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) plastics. LSZH plastics are used for a special kind of cable called LSZH cables. They produce little smoke and no toxic halogen compounds. But they are the most expensive jacket material.

Typical fiber cables are made from silica glass, which causes refractions that delay the signal. The standard line is that fiber optic networks transfer data at the speed of light. But in reality, light travels about 31 percent slower through fiber optical cables than it does through a vacuum. But that’s changing, researchers at University of Southampton in England have found a way to build cables that work at 99.7 percent of the speed of light in a vacuum. The researchers’ solution — is a hollow cable with special walls to prevent refraction. They call it an “ultra-thin photonic-bandgap rim”.

Several recent breakthroughs in fiber optics research. For example, scientists at AT&T Labs-Research announced a new record in speed/distance through standard bulk fiber optic cable. And a DARPA-backed team at IBM has found a way to cut the energy use of short-distance fiber optics for supercomputing while doubling the speed.

Opticonx Launched New Micro Distribution Cables

Opticonx, the Putnam, Connecticut-based manufacture of high-quality passive fiber optic cabling system, announced to have launched a new portfolio of micro-distribution cables. The new cables are the latest addition to the company’s current fiber optic cable product line. These high-density, compact and cost effective micro-distribution cables are provided to better cater for customers’need.

As is expressed by vice president of Opticonx, Brian Keane, the additional of these cable designs compliment their ribbon cable to offer and provide customers with a more complete choice for their pre-terminated, field terminated or fusion spliced installation. The new micro-distribution cable are ideally suitable for high-density pre-terminated MTP trunks, hybrid MTP/LC trunks, and LC/LC trunks for data center applications, besides, they can also be field terminated when used with breakout kits.

The new cable versions offered by Opticonx including the following: optical fiber noncondutive plenum (OFNP) indoor cables, optical fiber conductive plenum (OFCP) indoor armored cables, and optical fiber nonconductive riser (OFNR) indoor/outdoor cables from 2-27 fibers. All are available with OS2 single-mode and OM1-OM4 fibers and can be customized for hybrid single-mode/multimode combinations.

About Opticonx

Opticonx Inc. Designs, manufactures and markets a full line of passive fiber optic connectivity components and systems in Putnam, Connecticut. The Opticonx team is dedicated to incorporating top-notch design with the highest quality components to produce fiber optic connectivity products and solutions for voice, video, and data applications. Opticonx designs and manufacturers all products under one roof, enabling the company offer rapid prototype and time to time market for customer solutions.

Related: Where to buy fiber optic cable

FAQs Before Buying Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cable is a large, long-distance optical signal transmission unit, by means of which we can spread out the various optical signals with low attenuation rate to meet signals transmission needs between different fields. There are more than 15.000 varieties of fiber optic cables in the telecommunication field. Choosing the right fiber optic cable is extremely important for any installation. Purpose of the cable is to protect the fibers during installation and the service lifetime. This article is written to address your concerns regarding what types of fibers do you need, where they will be installed, and where to buy fiber optic cable.

fiber optic cable

What Types of Optical Fiber Should I Choose and How Many Fibers?

It may be familiar for you that optical fibers are divided into two different mode which is multimode and single mode.

Single mode fiber has a core that is 8.3 microns in diameter. Single-mode fiber requires laser technology for sending and receiving data. With a laser used, light in a single mode fiber also refracts off the fiber cladding. Single-mode has the ability to carry a signal for mile, making it ideal for telephone and cable television on providers.

Multimode fiber, as the name suggests, permits the signals to travel in multiple modes, or pathways, along the insides of the glass strand or core. It is available with fiber core diameters of 62.5 and a slightly smaller 50 micron. 62.5 micron multimode is referred to as OM1. 50-micron fiber is referred to as OM2, OM3, and the recently added OM4. OM4 has greater bandwidth than OM3 and OM3 has greater bandwidth than OM2.

While single mode fiber has a core that is 8.3 microns in diameter. Single-mode fiber requires laser technology for sending and receiving data. With a laser used, light in a single-mode fiber also refracts off the fiber cladding. Single-mode has the ability to carry a signal for mile, making it ideal for telephone and cable television on providers. 50-micron OM3 fiber is designed to accommodate 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 300 meters, and OM4 can accommodate it up to 550 meters. Therefore, OM3 and OM4 fiber are always chosen over the other glass types. In fact, nearly 80% of 50-micro fiber sold is OM3 or OM4

Except for the fiber mode, the number of fibers is necessary to know. Usually, unless you are making patch cords or hooking up a simple link with two fiber, it is highly recommended that you include a number of spare fibers. Corporate network backbones are often 48 fibers or more. Most backbone cables are hybrids – a mix of 62.5/125 multimode fiber for today’s networks and single-mode fiber for future networks. If the slowest network planned today is as gigabit speeds, it might even be better to use the new 50/125 multimode fiber optimized for the laser sources used in gigabit networks.

Where to Install the Fiber Optic Cable? Indoor, Outdoor or Both?

Outdoor cables are designed to protect the fibers from years of exposure to moisture. Until recently, your only choice for outdoor cables was loose-tube, gel-filled cables. But now you can buy dry water-blocked cables similar to indoor designs that are easy to terminate without breakout kits, saving incredible amounts of time. In a campus environment, you can even get cables with two jackets: an outer PE jacket that withstands moisture and an inner PVC jacket that is UL-rated for fire retardancy. You can bring the cable into a building, strip off the PE jacket and run it anywhere, while normal outdoor cables are limited to 50 feet inside the building.

Indoor cables are what we called “tight-buffered” cables, where the glass fiber has a primary coating and secondary buffer coatings that enlarge each fiber to 900 microns – about 1 mm or 1/25- inch- to make the fiber easier to work with. These cables can be directly terminated.

The most popular cable for indoor use is distribution cable, which has a number of 900-micron buffered, color-coded fibers inside a single jacket. It’s the smallest and lightest cable, and each fiber is sturdy enough for direct termination. Another choice for indoor use is the breakout cable, which is just a bunch of simplex cables inside a common jacket for convenience in pulling and ruggedness.

Where to Buy Fiber Optic Cable?

Once knowing what kind of fiber optic cables is needed, last but not least is to decide where to buy your required fiber optic cables. In the actual production of fiber optic cable, materials which are wearable, radiation proof and adaptable to temperature is very important. Good core material and the external packages. When buying fiber optic cable, qualification of the fiber optic cable manufacturers should be taken into consideration, choosing qualified and professional manufacturers will ensure you quickly get the problem resolved after the sale.