Here In this article we will be discussing some types of network cable that are getting more popularity even though they have been around for years. The type of networking cables we are talking about are called fiber optic cables, these cables have gained popularity due to the need for fast network performance, increase of bandwidth and long distances coverage which data needs to travel.
We will begin this article by describing what fiber optic cable really is and how it works. Then we will see the most common types of these cables that are in use today and also comparing them to the current type of network cable that are used in the present day, which is Ethernet cabling.
Fiber optic cables are cables (also known as data /network cables) that use glass or plastic tubes materials as the main center of the cable. It transmits data via a beam of light through a laser rather than the normal copper wires used in the usual wring types of cabling such as Ethernet. This central part of the cable is known as the core. When viewed, there is a glass cladding wrapped around the core that traps light and prevents these light from escaping the inner core of the cables, as we know light travels at a very fast speed which will thereby allow a fast network through the light that pass through the core of the cable with the glass as the medium to which the light pass through. Finally, there is a plastic buffer around the core cladding and an outer jacket around the plastic buffer which differs in thickness and diameter in all the different types of fiber optics networking cables. Below are some examples of fiber optic cables and their features.
Distribution Fiber Optics Cable
Distribution Cable are used both indoors and outdoors and has 900µm buffered fiber which reduce size and cost and allow easy and fast installation and termination.
Indoor/Outdoor Breakout Fiber Optics Cable
These durable and rugged cables are OFNR (i.e. Optical Fiber Nonconductive Riser) rated so they can be used indoors and outdoors as the name implies, they are beneficial both mechanically and environmentally and these benefits includes protection decay due to fungus and water and it is also UV protected making them the perfect cable for outdoor network applications.
Corning Cable Systems FREEDM LST Fiber Optics Cable
Corning Cable Systems FREEDM LST cables are also OFNR (i.e. Optical Fiber Nonconductive Riser), UV-resistant and protected, and are fully water resistant indoor/outdoor cables. This technologically enhanced DRY cable with water resistant technology eliminates the need for the usually common flooding compound. It is perfect for short distance network connection which can be inter or intra building connection. They are available in versions such as 62.5µm, 50µm, Single-mode and hybrid.
Hybrid & Composite Fiber Optics Cable
Hybrid cables are networking cables that implore the use of both coaxial cables and fiber optic cables in its termination. It is commonly used by radio and television broadcasting stations. These cables also offer the same great benefits as the standard indoor/outdoor cables, with the great value of installing multimode and single-mode fibers all in its application.
Loose Tube fiber Optics Cable
Loose tube cables are produced in such a way that it can endure outside temperatures, pressures and extreme moisture conditions. The fibers of these cables are packaged in gel filled buffer tubes to repel water and any form of moisture. They are recommended for use on buildings that are unprotected from all outdoor elements. The limitation of loose tube cable is that it is restricted from inside building use, averagely it allows entry of not more than 50 feet.
Aerial Cable/Self-Supporting Fiber Optics Cable
Due to its installation methods, aerial fiber optic cables are generally classified into two types which are, catenary wire and self-supporting. The Catenary Wire Aerial Cable is a regular outdoor loose tube cables that can be attached to a messenger or another cable (these are common in CATV). Self-Supporting Aerial Cable also known as All-Dielectric Self-Supporting (ADSS), are cables that are joined to an insulated steel or an all-dielectric messenger for support. They are usually used in pole connection.
Armored Fiber Optics Cable
The armored cables are categorized into three which are: the outdoor armored cable, the indoor armored cable and finally the indoor/outdoor armored cable. Usually the core of the cable is wrapped with metal armor called Kevlar and also the outer jacket of the cable is also covered in this metal armor too. The armored cable is best used for protection against rodent and fiber optical link protection. The cables are non-gel filled and can also be used in aerial cable termination.
Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) Fiber Optics cable
Low Smoke Zero Halogen cables are cables that are free of toxic halogen gases. They are made in such way that during a fire outbreak, it emits low toxicity and smoke and are slower to ignite. They are increasingly becoming more relevant for public sector installation and also other new developmental installations.
Due to the fact that fiber optic cables use light rather than an electrical signal they are not affected by RFI (radio frequency interference) or EMI (electro-magnetic interference). This method of cabling when used, allows for the use of longer cable of cables as a result of this, the signal will not be required to be repeated or regenerated to keep the cable’s signal strength. The only limitations of fiber optic cables are the distance limitation which varies depending on the type of cable and the speed transfers data to which it, such as 100Mbps cabling having a limit of 2 kilometers which is 1.2 miles or 6561 feet while a 10Gbps cabling has a limit of only 300 meters or around 1000 feet depending on the specifications of the cable, that is to say the length of the cable determines the distance the network cable can cover. Fiber optic cabling comes in different speed. 10Gbps, 40Gbps and 100Gbps are starting to make their way into data/networking centers as well.
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