Fiber Optic Cable Designs Advantages And Disadvantages (1991)

By John C. Chamberlain, Comm/Scope, Inc.

Although fiber optic cable is relatively new in the CATV industry it has been a commercial venture in the telephony industry for over ten years. This mature fiber optic cable industry offers a number of cable designs for different applications.

This paper presents an objective view of the different fiberoptic cables being offered to the CATV market and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Different basic designs such as loose tube, central core tube, slotted core, and tight buffer are discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of dielectric vs. armored, and steel bearing cable are also examined. In addition a short discussion on future developments in fiber optic cable design is presented.

The methodology used in this paper is to examine, in detail, published specifications and papers and then attempt to present a one to one comparison of the different cable designs. Issues such as environmental, mechanical, and physical specifications are presented as well as field issues and how these pertain to the mostly aerial outside plant of this industry.

The results show that for different applications different optimum cable designs exist. Therefore, at this point in time, there seems to be no one optimum cable design for the CATV industry.

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