Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interlock Armored Fiber Optic Cable or Non-Armored Fiber With Innerduct?

Fiber Optic Cable Installation:
Fiber optic cable is a great investment to any infrastructure, providing superior performance at much longer distances than traditional copper networks. When installing fiber optic cable, there's many factors to take into consideration. One of the most important, is how to protect your investment. Two of the most common routes to take are installing an innerduct, or buying fiber that has a layer of protection built in. Both have their pro's and con's, so lets take a look at each.

Fiber Optic Cable Installed in Innerduct:
Innerduct is a corrugated tube that surrounds your fiber optic cable giving it protection and acts as a pathway for the fiber to be pulled through. Innerduct comes in HDPE for outdoor use, PVC for indoor use and PLENUM for indoor use in plenum air spaces. Although innerduct is a great way to protect your fiber, it requires an extra step. This can result in higher labor costs, materials costs and possible additional equipment and freight fees. Long lengths of innerduct require very large wooden spools to be put on, which can be costly to ship and work with. Once the innerduct is installed, you proceed as usual: run your fiber optic cable, terminate and test it. Wouldn't it be easier if you could just run fiber and remove the innerduct step altogether? You can... keep reading.

Interlock Armored Fiber Optic Cable:
Interlock armored fiber cable is a great alternative to installing innerduct. Interlocking Armored Riser Cables are standard cables placed inside a spirally-wrapped aluminum interlocking armor for ruggedness and superior crush resistance. Designed for use in riser and general purpose environments for intrabuilding backbone and horizontal installations, these multifiber cables use individually jacketed TBII® Buffered Fibers enabling easy, consistent stripping and facilitating termination. This core is protected by a flexible, spiral-wrapped, aluminum interlocking armor that offers over seven times the crush protection compared to unarmored cables and easy one-step installation. With a flame-retardant outer jacket, this cable is particularly useful for heavy traffic or more challenging mechanical exposure conditions and applications requiring extra rugged cables. Interlocking armored fiber does have it's downfalls though. Future additions: when installing innerduct, you can reuse the cabling pathway to replace the fiber, or add additional fibers if you have extra space. This is a great way to maximize your investment. Without that innerduct installed, you will be starting the process all over again from the beginning. Pricing is also a concern. Interlock armored fiber is typically 3 times as expensive as regular non-armored fiber.

Here's a quick look at one of these cables from our YouTube Channel.

- Always install the correct fiber and innerduct based on your buildings fire safety codes
- Future proof your installation if possible. Install a larger innerduct than needed or buy an interlocking armored fiber with additional strands of fiber.
- Pre Terminated Fiber Cable: Can cut fiber installation by 75%. This is a great option for beginners or long time fiber installers. Pre terminated fiber is custom made to your exact specs, comes with a pulling eye for easy installation and includes test results.

Related Articles:
Pulling Fiber Optic Cable
How It's Made: Fiber Optic Cable
How To Install Fiber Optic Fan Out Kit for Loose Tube Fiber
Difference Between: Loose Tube Fiber and Tight Buffered Fiber
How To Terminate Fiber Optic Cable Using AFL FAST Connectors    

"By Mercy Salinas"