Buried Fiber Optic Cable: Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Your location is the first factor when determining your connection. In most cases, you will use either mobile broadband or a fixed connection. Mobile access is available in either 3G or 4G modes, depending on your operator’s network. For installation purposes, fixed access is possible through ADSL or buried fiber optic cable. With so many options available, where do you get the best value for money? Here is why buried fiber optic cable is the best.

Why is Fiber Optic Internet Going Underground?

You can use aerial installation and buried fiber optic cable. According to experts, however, between the two, buried installation is better. Here are some of the reasons why:

The weather is a non-issue

During installation, the service provider usually targets the freezing layer. There is a good reason why. At this depth, it does not suffer the effects of excessive heat, strong winds, or ice damage. Because of this, your connections are more reliable ensuring a stable connection each time.

So, if you enjoy streaming, you won’t get any buffering. Also, that important work email will go out as soon as you hit send because your connection is steady.

They offer longevity

Maintenance has a way of adding cost. Think of buying a car, for instance, you have to keep spending to keep it in optimal use. This isn’t the case with buried fiber optic cables. In fact, a buried fiber optical does not need regular maintenance and replacement, significantly reducing your cost.

If you are lucky, you will use the cables for decades without spending a single cent more. From our experience, the only cost you will incur is when you need to upgrade. Over time, buried fiber optics are more cost-effective in comparison to aerial installations.

They occupy a smaller footprint

According to the Census Bueaural, the population has hit an all high of 33 billion-plus in 2021. As urban populations grow, so does the need to conserve space. This makes underground installation more attractive because they use space that you and I don’t need.

Think about it. When was the last time you needed the space under your house? Probably never, right? This makes underground installations are more space-economical, allowing for more development in these areas. This isn’t the case with other options like aerial connections. For a secure connection, tons of space for the poles necessary to hold them above ground.

Versatility and safety

Sagging cables and falling poles can cause significant danger to the public. For this reason, a buried fiber optic cable is the safer option.

What Buried Fiber Optic Cable Should you Use?

The terrain is a vital factor to consider when installing buried fiber optic cables. Keeping this in mind, manufacturers offer you a wide selection. Below are the varieties you can use depending on your option.  

Underground burial cable

Fiber optic cables in this category include:

Trough

Here the cable sits at a depth of 300 centimeters in the trough, with the cores spaced at 150 centimeters apart. Trough set-ups are ideal for residential and commercial establishments. This is because you can run different cables through the same conduit.

Tunnel

The cable passes through a tunnel conduit that sits at a depth of about 20 meters. You will find these cables in areas that feature waterways. They are also found where scenic beauty is vital such as golf clubs.

The cables you use for this installation should have a high pulling tension value. Secondly, they should also have lubricants in their design. The lubricant reduces friction when pulling them through the conduit.

Direct-burial cables

Direct-burial cables

Alternatively, you can opt for direct-burial cables. Unlike the former, these do not require a conduit during their installation. Therefore, they tend to be hardier than underground-buried cables and come in a variety of designs. The most common types you will find in this category are:

Loose Tube

Loose cables come with steel-tape outer insulation which is great at preventing rust and wear. They also have a gel-filled inner core that can accommodate up to 432 fibers. Further, their single-jacket armor outer diameter comes in two ranges. Generally, you can choose between 0.48 inches for the 6-fiber option to 0.91 inches for the 482-fiber option. Additionally, the insulation is strong enough. For this reason, you can use the cable in temperatures ranging from -40 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ribbon tube
Ribbon tube

These feature a polyethylene outer armor with five ripcords within its structure. The two materials provide maximum flexibility. Within the set-up are individual tubes used to cluster 24 to 72 cables in a single tube. The number of cables clustered depends on your configuration. They also feature water-sealable tapes and yarn in their design. These expand to absorb moisture, prevent damage to the ribbons, and central dielectric.

Gel-free cables
Gel-free cables

Gel-free cables do not contain protective gel within their structure. Instead, the ribbon stack and outer insulation reduce the vibration impact. This is possible because they are joined. Furthermore, the polyethylene outer sheath has two water-swellable foam tapes. The tapes prevent any water damage. Cable configurations come in single buffer tubes. The tubes carry up to eighteen 12-fiber ribbons in most cases. They can, however, have a maximum of 864 fibers.

Outdoor Armored Direct Burial Pre-Terminated Assembly
Outdoor Armored Direct Burial Pre-Terminated Assembly

Pre-terminated assembly cables come with connectors already installed. The design makes these cables ideal for several uses. They are perfect as links between servers, data centers, and network switches. Using them also reduces your installation time. They don’t need transmission-performance testing, and there is no left-over material from splicing.

They feature a heavy-duty polyethylene sheath with a corrugated steel armor construction. This is enough to prevent damage from excessive pressure and rodents. The cable structure also has Water blocking tape, further offering protection against moisture.

Top Five Killers of Buried Fiber Optic Cables

When installing your buried fiber optic cable, here are the top five things to avoid:

Water

Water

Ensure that all your splice enclosures are tight and secure. Fasten the seams with water-swellable tape to prevent moisture from reaching the fibers.

Rodents

Moles and rats can cause significant damage to underground cable installations. The gel in these cables is an effective way to ensure the integrity of your fiber optic connections.

Lightning

Lightning strikes can also cause substantial damage to your underground installations. Always opt for cables with a non-conductive outer armor. What makes this armor perfect is that it prevents the excess electricity from flowing through your cable.

Construction

Ensure that you obtain the relevant permits before installing a buried fiber optic cable. When you do this, you will prevent any prospective developers from digging up the cable and causing your internet to cut out.

Ice crushes

 Winter pauses a different problem. A leaky splice enclosure can result in ice forming.  And, this leads to the cable breaking, resulting in more extended downtimes. That’s the challenge you must overcome.

Conclusion

As you can see, buried fiber optic cables offer you the best value for money. Why wait? Visit our website for custom cabling solutions, guaranteeing you the best returns. 

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