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Applications for Outside Plant Fiber Optic Cables

by www.fiber-mart.com

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.
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.
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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