HOW TO SPEAK “FIBER GEEK”

ARTICLE 1: CRITICAL OPTICAL PARAMETERS – ATTENUATION 

 The fiber optic cable world has come a long way over the past 30 years. Products have become more rugged and user friendly, making it easier for people to enter the industry and work handling optical fiber and cable. While this is great for the industry, many people may understand the “how to” but not necessarily the “why” of fiber optics. To understand the “why” behind fiber and cable products, the next step is to become a full-fledged “fiber geek.” Because the industry changes so quickly, this is an ongoing process. The purpose behind this series of articles is to enable the reader to understand some secondary fiber specifications and their importance to the network. 

Once fiber is deployed, it’s very expensive to replace. For this reason, the fiber that’s installed should be capable of withstanding multiple generations of hardware while also having plenty of room for additional wavelength growth. 

FIGURE 1: Already Defined ITU-T Wavelength Band
FIGURE 1: Already Defined ITU-T Wavelength Band

The graphic on the right highlights how wavelength usage has grown over the past three decades. For the first 30 years, applications were focused in the 1310 nm and 1550 nm regions. Given the explosive demand for bandwidth (even more so since COVID-19), it’s reasonable to assume that the next 30 years will require many more wavelengths, with potential applications across the entire optical spectrum. 

The demand for bandwidth is expected to continue far into the future, driven in part by requirements for breakthrough applications such as higher resolution video, virtual reality and other applications. We expect this demand to continue to drive the need for optical spectrum provided by fiber. Fiber recommendations such as ITU-T G.652 and ITU-T G.657, are very important for network designers in setting minimum performance levels, but can ultimately be insufficient to meet the requirements for future networks. For this reason, performance beyond the standards can be very important. 

This article will focus on critical optical parameters starting with attenuation, or loss in the fiber. Attenuation is a very important optical parameter, and there are many aspects to it. Additional articles in this series will focus on other optical parameters, including chromatic and polarization mode dispersion, splice loss, and an introduction to non-linear effects. 

Keeping a low fiber attenuation has always been a focal point in fiber development – and today even more so with the widespread use of Coherent Transmission systems. These require large core and ultra-low loss attenuation fibers (typically ITU-T G.654 fiber types) for optimal performance of 100G and faster transmission systems. 

Attenuation is typically measured in terms of optical dB. It is a logarithmic measurement where the Loss of a fiber equals 10*log (“Power at the- input side of the fiber” / “Power at the output side of the fiber”). Basically every 3 dB of loss corresponds to the optical power being cut in half. It is fair to assume, that the attenuation of a fiber is almost constant over the length of the fiber. So if a fiber loss is 0.25 dB/km, a total loss of 3 dB will be reached after 12 km of fiber has been passed by the optical signal in the fiber. 

Looking at the different loss mechanisms in fibers, it may be helpful to distinguish between: 

A): Attenuation caused by factors external to the fiber (as for example bending), and 

B): Built in attenuation mechanisms. 

Looking at B) first, there are two main loss mechanisms in optical fibers: Scattering and Absorption. 

SCATTERING 

FIGURE 2: Scattering of Light in All Directions

Also called “Rayleigh scattering”, even the best and purest, synthetic quartz glass (of which OFS fibers are made) is not 100% homogeneous. They consequently contain small fluctuations of glass density, which are frozen into the glass during manufacturing and may scatter the light when hit by a light ray (this is the same mechanism responsible for the blue color of the sky, when sunlight scatters off molecules in the atmosphere). Much of the light will continue traveling in the original direction, but a small part of the light will be scattered in all directions. Some light will propagate sideways out of the fiber, where – for transmission purposes – it will be lost. Some of it will actually be scattered backwards towards the sender. This is the phenomenon used by OTDR measurement devices to measure fiber attenuation, so the device only needs to be connected to one end of the fiber. 

In optical fibers scattering is dominant at shorter wavelengths whereas the opposite is true for the other built in attenuation mechanism: Absorption (Figure 4). 

ABSORPTION

FIGURE 3: Absorption, Light Converted to Heat

Basically absorption happens when a light ray hits something – and gets converted into heat. So for practical purposes the light simply “disappears”. 

Even extremely small impurities – down to a fraction of a micron – may absorb light, causing unwanted attenuation. It may be small particles – but it may also be impurities in the raw materials used for fiber manufacturing. This is why such extremely close attention is paid to the quality and purity of the raw materials used. 

Due to the inherent material structure of glass, Absorption increases rather drastically at wavelengths longer than approximately 1550 nm (Figure 4) 

Of particular interest over the years has been the hydroxyl (OH-) ion, which absorbs light around 1383 nm, giving rise to the so-called “water-peak” in the attenuation curve for the fiber (figure 5 – black curve). Being a by-product of the actual manufacturing process, it is difficult to fully avoid the presence of hydroxyl ions in the fiber, but it is possible to pacify the attenuation increase at the wavelengths close to 1383 nm. This is done by adding deuterium gas which interacts with the free bond of the hydroxyl ion thereby acting as a barrier securing excellent long-term Water Peak attenuation performance. 

FIGURE 4: Scattering and Absorption  Wavelength Dependency

Conventional single-mode fibers meeting the G.652 recommendation may have a high Water Peak loss. This could limit the use of the fiber in some applications and may also make the fiber less useful in transmission systems using modern Raman amplification, where amplifier laser-pumps would typically operate 110 nm below the transmission signal wavelength. 

OFS have fibers classified as Zero Water Peak (ZWP) with even better specified Water Peak performance than the so-called Low Water Peak (LWP) fibers. The long-term stability of ZWP fibers is excellent whereas for some types of ITU-T G.652 fibers the water peak attenuation might actually increase over their lifetime, slowly reducing the quality of the network. 

Because of the optimized Water Peak performance, ZWP fibers serve the widest ranges of wavelengths and support the highest number of applications, as illustrated in Figure 1. 

Figure 5 shows three different grades of ITU-T G.652 fiber, and how they may be performing in the water peak region around 1383 nm. 

FIGURE 5: Water Peak Loss of  Three Fiber Grades

For the most part, scattering and absorption properties are locked into the fiber during manufacturing. 

Bending, however, is another story… 

BENDING

Bending is a very important mechanism. As briefly mentioned, it is caused by factors external to the fiber and so both the cabling process and installation in the field can affect attenuation caused by bending. 

FIGURE 6: Macrobending Light  will leak out of tight bends.

To put it simply, what makes an optical fiber work is the use of different types of glass for the fiber core and for the glass surrounding the core (also known as the cladding). In this way, a sort of a tubular mirror surrounding the core is created. This is what keeps the light inside the fiber, using the concept of “total internal reflection” to guide the light. However, this mirror is not a perfect one. It only works if the light rays in the fiber run almost parallel to the core, and so if the fiber is bent (too) tightly (i.e. past the “critical angle” when reflection turns to refraction), light will leak out of the fiber causing loss – or attenuation. 

This is called macro bending, where the diameter of the bending is larger than a few millimeters, which is what one would intuitively understand as “bending” the fiber. 

FIGURE 7: Microbending Loss  caused by lateral stress.

Another type of bending is called micro bending. It concerns bending diameters smaller than 1 mm and could happen – as an example – if a fiber is squeezed between two sheets of sandpaper. Much more relevantly it may also happen if the fiber is being squeezed inside the cable construction (for example by the tubes containing the fibers) creating stress on the fiber. As loads/stresses increase, so does the loss. 

Both types of bending loss cause attenuation increase, but it is possible to tell the two types of bending apart by considering the added loss at different wavelengths as illustrated in Figure 8. 

Macrobending losses tend to be small at short wavelengths, but may increase rather dramatically at longer wavelengths. 

FIGURE 8: Difference between Micro-and  Macro-Bending Loss vs. Wavelength

Microbending losses are also typically present at short wavelengths, but the loss increase tends to be smaller than for macrobending at the longer wavelengths. 

All of the trends in fiber deployment point to the increased importance of fiber bending performance. 

Service providers constantly want to put more fibers into a smaller space which means that while buffer tube diameters keep shrinking, the fiber counts used in these buffer tubes keep increasing. This leads to a situation where there is less room for fibers to move before touching a buffer tube wall, thereby increasing the risk of microbends. 

In addition, service providers primarily installed cables in either the outside plant, the inside of central offices, or into remote cabinets. Everywhere great care was taken to avoid small diameter bending. However, today’s fiber is going to places where it hasn’t gone before. It’s going inside our homes and businesses and also up poles and onto rooftops to feed cellular and Wi-Fi sites. 

Tolerance to bending will be even more important in the future. 

Micro and macro bends affect the network in ways that are not always obvious. 

Bend-related losses are sometimes experienced in cold temperature environments. For this reason, fibers and cables should always be tested under low temperature conditions. As a network designer, it’s always a good idea to account for at least some optical margin for small potential attenuation increases in cold temperatures. 

FIGURE 9: Next Generation Fiber Networks  may use longer wavelengths than today –  increasing requirements for low bending
loss fibers already now.

Especially very high-density designs may benefit from using bend insensitive fibers due to the unavoidable bends and lack of free space for fiber movement in the cable design itself. 

While these issues are already important today, they will become even more important tomorrow. The reason is that next generation optical transmission protocols may typically use longer wavelengths than the existing protocols. 

As highlighted earlier, longer wavelengths will often result in higher bending loss. Theoretically, a GPON network operating flawlessly today at 1490 nm – containing inadvertent bends – could have its reach reduced by almost half when it is upgraded to NG-PON2, operating at 1603 nm. 

So a FTTH network installed today and working fine may not be suited for operation with future generation transmission equipment. 

HELP IS ON THE WAY 

In order to enable more compact cable constructions and allow for easier installation and perhaps even allow for the use of less experienced craftspeople for cable installation, quite a bit of attention has recently been focused on developing fibers with reduced sensitivity to bending i.e. those defined by the ITU-T Recommendation G.657. 

G.657 specifies 4 different classes of fibers: “A1”, “A2”, “B2” and “B3”. 

The “A” fibers are required to also fulfill (or to comply with) the specifications of the ITU-T G.652.D recommendation, whereas the “B” fibers may deviate from G.652.D on some parameters. The numbers (1, 2 or 3) signifies the fibers tolerance to bending – B3 fibers being most bending tolerant. Many “B3” fibers do today comply with G.652.D and should rightfully be labelled: “A3”, but such a class is not specified by ITU-T. 

ITU-T G.657.A1 fibers are the closest to standard G.652.D fibers and may soon be the primary choice for the vast majority of fiber networks. OFS has combined G.657. A1 and G.652.D performance with a 9.2-micron mode field diameter. 

FIGURE 10: Fiber Distribution Hub

G.657.A1 fibers with 9.2-micron mode field diameter perform the same way as standard G.652 fibers in terms of splicing – and can consequently be said to splice “seamlessly” to the huge base of already installed fibers. By offering the same splice performance as standard G.652 fibers, installation crews and quality inspectors will notice no change in performance and hence be given no cause for concern – even 

though the advantages of better tolerance to bending will still be there. 

These fibers are ideal for most of today’s typical short-distance (<1000 km) and low data rate (<400Gbps) applications, including standard outside plant (OSP) loose tube, ribbon, rollable ribbon, microduct cables, and drop cables. 

ITU-T G.657.A2 fibers can be bent more tightly with lower loss. They are most commonly used in central office and cabinet environments, such as Fiber Distribution Hubs (FDH). These fibers are also commonly used in building backbone networks and as tails for various pre-terminated panels and other devices. In these environments, the fibers may need to be bent more tightly than in typical OSP cable applications. 

The application spaces just mentioned for A1 and A2 fibers would typically involve one fiber to carry traffic for thousands of customers, meaning that a fiber break would affect the service to thousands of users. Here reliability is consequently paramount. In such situations A2 fibers (and A1 as well) offer the advantage of providing an “early warning” signal of increased attenuation whenever they are bent tightly enough to potentially cause reliability concerns. This is especially important for central office applications where one fiber could provide the feed for millions of customers. 

ITU-T G.657.B3 fibers are the third main category of bend insensitive fibers. These fibers are designed and recommended for use in the drop portion of a Fiber-to-the- Home (FTTH) network serving a few customers per fiber. Homes and buildings with lots of tight spaces are very demanding places to deploy fiber. For optimized performance in such applications OFS has fiber which is designed and specified for use with bending radii as low as 2.5 mm which is significantly less than the minimum bending radius of 5 mm specified in the G.657.B3 recommendation. 

OFS has fibers used in cables with a diameter of only 0.6 mm, enabling almost invisible in-house cable routing with a minimum of bending management. This avoids bulky and distasteful installation in private homes. For more demanding deployments, ruggedized cable designs with a diameter of 4.8 or 3mm may even be routed around corners and stapled using fast and easy installation practices, with negligible signal loss. 

G.657 fibers which are not compliant with G.652.D are often assumed to have very small cores giving rise to significant additional splice losses when spliced to standard G.652.D fibers. However, that is not necessarily so. It is possible to get G.657.B3 fibers specified with an ultra-low bending radii of 2.5 mm and – whereas these fibers are not “seamless” fibers – they do in fact comply with the G.652.D recommendation in terms of core size. The only thing preventing such fibers from complying with G.652.D is the Chromatic Dispersion, and since they are primarily intended for in-building applications, the length will typically be much less than the 10 – 40 km fiber length in which the higher Chromatic Dispersion may typically start presenting problems. 

Regarding bending loss however, the performance of such a fiber is significantly better. The loss for a single turn of 2.5 mm radius at 1550 nm for such a fiber is max. 0.2 dB – whereas the similar loss for a standard G.652.D fiber exceeds 30 dB. 

LC Crimp & Cleave Termination Instructions

for 50 and 62.5 µm GiHCS®, 200 µm HCS® LC Connectors

Important Safety and Warranty Information

Please Read First!
Please make sure to READ and understand the termination instructions completely. Improper assembly will cause poor termination results and cause damage to termination kit components.

Download the pdf document for the full instructions

Make sure you WEAR eye protection during the termination process. Bare optical fiber is sharp and may splinter; handle very carefully and make use of the provided fiber optic shard disposal container.

For more information please CONTACT the sales representative in your region or call the factory for technical support:
Mon-Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm EST.
860-678-6636
770-798-5555 [Outside the USA and Canada]

Content
LC Termination Kit Contents
Related Products and Accessories (Sold Separately)
LC and LC Duplex Connectors
Insertion Loss Test Kit

Termination Instructions
Step 1: Slide Strain Relief Boot
Step 2: Remove Outer Cable Jacket
Step 3: Remove ETFE Buffer
Step 4: Install Connector Body
Step 5: Cleave Optical Fiber
Step 6: Install Anti-snag Latch or Duplexing Clip

Maintenance & Trouble Shooting Guide
Importance of Cleave Tool Cleaning
Cleave Tool Cleaning Kit
Troubleshooting


LC Termination Kit Contents

Kit Contents
Part Numbers/Description
DT03732-LC1 . . . . . . . . . . . GiHCS LC Termination Kit
DT03732-LC2 . . . . . . . . . . GiHCS LC Cleave Tool Only
P76859 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GiHCS LC Instruction Manual
AP01224 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cable Strip Tool
BT03865-07 . . . . . . . . . Crimp Tool LC (Black Handles)
CP01229-22 . . . . . . . . . ETFE Buffer Stripper w/ prong tool and brush
AP01225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scissors
K60791 . . . . . . . . . . . Optical Fiber Shard Disposal Unit
K60792 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alcohol Prep Pad (Box of 100)
Other Items Required (not included in kit): Safety Glasses, Marker
Order an OFS LC Termination Kit Number DT03732-LC1 Now


LC and LC Duplex Connectors

Related Products and Accessories (Sold Separately)
Part Numbers/Description
P26763-01 . . . . . . . . LC Simplex Connector (Beige Boot)
P26763-02 . . . . . . . . . LC Simplex Connector (Black Boot)
P26764-01 . . . . . . . LC Duplex Connector (2 Beige Boots)
P26764-02 . . . . . . . LC Duplex Connector (2 Black Boots)
P26764-03 . . . . . . . . . . . . LC Duplex Connector (1 Beige + 1 Black Boots)
P10188-15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insertion Loss Test Kit for 50 and 62.5 µm GiHCS LC Connectors
P16247 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cleave Tool Cleaning Kit (Includes cleaning fluid and safe cleaning swabs)


STEP 1:  Install Strain Relief Boot

Slide STRAIN RELIEF BOOT (tapered end first) onto cable end and slide approximately 3 inches [76 mm] out of way.


STEP 2: Remove Outer Cable Jacket

  • Mark cable outer jacket 2.5 inches [63.5 mm] from cable end with a marker
  • Using 2nd hole (marked 1.6) from the open side of the cable jacket strip tool, remove the 2.5 inches [63.5 mm] of outer jacket.

STEP 3: Remove ETFE Buffer

  • Insert the buffered fiber through the guide tube of the ETFE Buffer Strip Tool, all the way in until the cable jacket bottoms out inside it.
  • Holding cable securely, squeeze the tool’s handles to cut ETFE buffer then PULL STRAIGHT to remove the ETFE buffer.

  • With alcohol prep pad folded in two, wipe the surface of fiber where the ETFE buffer was just removed.

STEP 4: Install Connector Body

  • Locate the CONNECTOR BODY subassembly into the CRIMP TOOL nest as shown. Close the crimp tool handles lightly to secure connector in nest, but do not yet apply crimp
  • Insert stripped fiber into CONNECTOR BODY subassembly until the cable jacket bottoms out inside the connector
  • Squeeze handles of CRIMP TOOL to apply crimp. CRIMP TOOL will not release until fully crimped.
  • Remove CONNECTOR from CRIMP TOOL nest. Slide up and
  • install BOOT onto CONNECTOR.

  • Locate the CONNECTOR BODY subassembly into the CRIMP TOOL nest as shown. Close the crimp tool handles lightly to secure connector in nest, but do not yet apply crimp
  • Insert stripped fiber into CONNECTOR BODY subassembly until the cable jacket bottoms out inside the connector
  • Squeeze handles of CRIMP TOOL to apply crimp. CRIMP TOOL will not release until fully crimped.
  • Remove CONNECTOR from CRIMP TOOL nest. Slide up and
  • install BOOT onto CONNECTOR.

STEP 5: Cleave Optical Fiber

  • Holding the CLEAVE TOOL in a horizontal position, grip the handle while leaving your index finger free to actuate trigger
  • Gently insert CONNECTOR BODY into cleave tool as shown. Be sure to have it fully inserted and release the CONNECTOR BODY
  • Using index finger, slowly depress trigger to perform the cleave operation. The cleave process is complete when the optical fiber snaps away
  • from the connector. Do not release the trigger just yet!
  • Before releasing the trigger, remove CONNECTOR BODY from the
  • cleave tool and grasp the optical fiber scrap while releasing the trigger.
  • Gently remove the scrap fiber from the cleave tool while keeping it away from the tool’s diamond blade. Place the scrap optical fiber into the fiber optic shard container for safe disposal.

STEP 6: Install Anti-snag Latch or Duplexing Clip

Simplex Connector:
• Spread the clip slightly as shown.
• Install the clip around the connector, aligning as shown.
• Wrap around and snap on to secure.


Duplex Connector:
• Spread the clip slightly as shown.
• Install the clip around the connectors, aligning as shown.
• Wrap around and snap on to secure.


The PDF document also includes a Cleave Tool Cleaning Guide:
For cleaning your cleave tool, please order the OFS Cleave
Tool Cleaning Kit (part #P16247) which includes recommended cleaning fluid, swabs, and complete instructions.

The PDF document also includes a fiber optic troubleshooting guide for:

  • Dim-light termination and no light termination
  • Poor cleave quality or high insertion loss
  • If the fiber does not cleave
  • If the fiber protrudes or recesses after cleave


Download our LC Connector Family Spec Sheet

Visit our Knowledgebase and filter by Installation Resource to find a list of all our fiber optic instructions.

Learn more about our fiber optic building solutions

A Focus on the Critical Optical Parameter Attenuation

Our first article in this series highlighted some bandwidth demand drivers and introductory standards information. This article will focus on critical optical parameters starting with optical attenuation. Additional articles in this series focus on other optical parameters, including chromatic and polarization mode dispersion, splice loss, and an introduction to non-linear effects.

Fiber Wavelength Bands

> Download the Full Article

There are three main loss mechanisms in fibers, and we’ll briefly discuss each. Those Attenuation mechanisms are:

  • Scattering
  • Absorption
  • Bending

Scattering

The first mechanism is “Rayleigh scattering” of light in fiber. This mechanism contributes most to the baseline attenuation of fiber. A certain amount of light is scattered in the glass. In the simplest of terms, scattered light is simply light that is no longer guided through the optical fiber, but instead propagates in some other random direction (an interesting side note is that OTDRs measure loss by using the light that is scattered backwards in a fiber so the device only needs to be connected to one end of the optical fiber). Since some light doesn’t transmit forward through the glass, loss occurs. The classic attenuation curve has a relationship of attenuation proportional to 1/λ4 and is driven by the properties of Rayleigh scattering. Rayleigh scattering is the result of small fluctuations of glass density in an optical fiber and is the same mechanism responsible for the blue color of the sky, when sunlight scatters off molecules in the atmosphere.

The scattering-related attenuation properties of the glass are determined by the materials used in the glass, and are frozen in during fiber manufacturing.

Absorption Attenuation

Impurities may absorb or reflect light. This is why fiber manufacturers pay such close attention to the quality of materials used in the glass and to cleanliness during manufacturing. Particles as small as a fraction of a micron can be large enough to absorb enough light to increase loss.

Besides particles, impurities in the raw materials used in the fiber manufacturing process itself can increase loss. That’s because the hydroxyl (OH) ion is a by-product of the manufacturing process. It absorbs light in the wavelength range around 1383 nm.

The graph to the right shows the loss performance across the wavelength range with three different grades of fiber.

> Download the Full Article

Bending

Bending is a very important mechanism. The cabling process and installation in the field can affect attenuation caused by bending.

Let’s go back to Fiber 101. Fibers use the concept of total internal reflection to guide light. The refractive index profile of the core and the cladding determine how light is guided, and the term “critical angle” is used to describe when reflection turns to refraction and light is lost from the fiber. In short, when fiber is bent tightly, light can be lost.

There are two main modes of bending – macrobending and microbending.

While the end result of both types of bending is attenuation, the mechanisms and how they manifest differ.

> For more details, Download the Full Article

Other Ways Microbends and Macrobends Show Up in the Network

The concepts of micro and macro bends affect the network in ways that are not always obvious.

Bend-related loss is also sometimes experienced in cold temperature environments. For this reason, fiber and cable qualifications should always include tests to see how products perform in cold temperatures. As a network designer, it’s always a good idea to account for at least some optical margin for small potential attenuation increases in cold temperatures.

Help is On the Way

The good news is that fiber manufacturers have developed fibers that can withstand different amounts of bending while also reducing loss compared with traditional fibers meeting the ITU G.652.D Recommendation. These fibers are called bend insensitive or bend optimized fibers, and are defined by ITU Recommendation G.657.

For the network designer and installer, a thorough understanding of various attenuation mechanisms can assist with the network planning and installation processes, enabling proper loss budgeting and the use of appropriate products for the application.

In most situations, attenuation is the most important network parameter, and this article has provided enough background for you to be well on your way to fiber geekdom on this topic. However, fiber geekdom is a journey, not a destination, and there’s always more to learn. OFS has multiple decades of experience with fiber optic networks. Please contact your local OFS representative if you would like additional information regarding any of the items in this article.

> Download the Article for full details.

About the Author:

Mark Boxer - Technical Manager, Solutions and Applications Engineering for OFS

Mark Boxer is Technical Manager, Solutions and Applications Engineering for OFS. In this role, he assists customers deploying fiber in a wide variety of network design scenarios around the world and analyzes trends in telecommunications markets that drive new product innovation. Mark has a BME degree from Georgia Tech, and has spent his 30+ year career in the fiber industry. His experience includes varied roles in manufacturing and applications engineering for fiber-based products and markets. Other activities include inventor of six US Patents, member and past Secretary of the IEEE Power Engineering Society Fiber Optic Working Group, contributing member to the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) (formerly FTTH Council) Technology Committee and Board of Directors member of the FBA.

Placing Fiber Optic Cable in Underground Plant

Placing Fiber Optic Cable in Underground Plant

1. Overview

This document covers cable placing in conduit, innerduct, handholes, and manhole structures. The innerduct may be direct buried or placed in larger diameter conduits. In some applications, the innerduct may be lashed to an aerial strand.

This document covers conventional cable placing techniques that are used to pull or blow (cable jetting) the cable into the conduit or innerduct.

> Download full Article for more details

2. General Rules

2.1 Route Survey and Inspection

It is recommended that an outside plant engineer conduct a route survey and inspection prior to cable installation. Manholes and ducts should be inspected to determine the optimum splice locations and duct assignments. A detailed installation plan, including cable pulling or blowing locations, intermediate assist points, and cable feed locations should be developed based on the route survey.

2.2 Maximum Rated Cable Load

The maximum rated cable load (MRCL) for most OFS outside plant fiber optic cables is 600 lb; however, the cable documentation should always be checked because lower values of MRCL may apply for some cables. When using pulling equipment to install cable, measures should be taken to ensure that the MRCL is not exceeded. This includes the use of breakaway swivels, hydraulic pressure relief valves, and electronic tension control systems.

2.3 Minimum Bend Diameter

Fiber Optic Diameter Bending During Installation

The minimum bend diameters for OFS cables are defined for both dynamic and static conditions. The dynamic condition applies during installation when a cable may be exposed to the MRCL, e.g., while pulling the cable around a sheave or capstan.

2.4 Temperature Limits

Storage and installation of OFS fiber optic cable is limited to the temperature ranges. Be aware that solar heating due to sunlight exposure can increase the cable temperature well above the ambient temperature.

3. Underground Optical Cable Precautions

Before starting any underground cable placing operations, all personnel must be thoroughly familiar with local company safety practices. Practices covering the following procedures should be given special emphasis:

> Download full Article for more details

4. Innerduct

Fiber optic cable is most often placed in a small-diameter innerduct rather than a large-diameter conduit. For existing conduit structures, multiple innerducts can be placed in a single conduit to provide multiple cable paths in the duct. Innerduct is also recommended because it provides a clean continuous path for the installation of the fiber optic cable.

4.1 Diameter Ratio and Area Ratio

Diameter and Innerduct area ratios.

Diameter ratio and/or area ratio are used to determine the optimal cable OD that should be installed in an innerduct. Either ratio can be used, but consistently using one or the other is important to avoid confusion.

4.2 Direct Buried Applications

Studies have shown that vertical undulations in direct buried innerduct can greatly increase the required cable installation forces.

5. Cable Lubricant

Cable lubricant should be used when placing fiber optic cables. Recommended cable lubricants include Polywater4, Hydralube5, and similar cable lubricants that are compatible with polyethylene cable jackets. Both the winch line (or pulling rope) and the cable should be lubricated.

> Download full Article for more details

6. Cable Placing Methods

6.1 Backfeed Technique

The backfeed technique is a common installation method that is used to divide the cable installation into two separate pulls. The backfeed technique may also be used near equipment offices when one end of the cable must be pulled by hand into the building, or at manhole locations where the cable route changes direction.

6.2 Forward-Feed Technique

In the forward-feed technique, the leading end of the cable and excess cable length are pulled out of the innerduct at an intermediate manhole and stored on the ground in a figure-eight. This technique can be used multiple times during a cable installation to greatly increase the distance between cable splices.

6.3 Figure-Eight Installation Techniques

If figure-eight techniques are used during cable installation, the cable should be handled manually and stored on the ground. Place the cable on tarps to prevent damage from gravel, rocks, or other abrasive surfaces.

Fiber Optic Cable Underground Installation

When figure-eighting heavy cables (264 fibers or more), the cable stack should be offset to prevent sheath dents and cable damage. Although sheath dents do not typically damage fibers, this type of cosmetic damage is undesirable. When utilizing the offset method, each crossover point of the cable stack should be offset about 2 inches instead of being stacked directly on top of each other.

Standard vs Offset Figure Eight

6.4 Handholes

Handholes are frequently used to provide access to cable splices and slack storage coils. On long cable pulls, handholes may be used to facilitate intermediate-assist placing operations. The intermediate-assist handholes are typically installed near obstacles or at a predetermined spacing that coincides with the maximum expected cable installation length.

7. Pulling Fiber Optic Cable

The following instructions assume general familiarity with outside plant cable placing procedures. They also assume that the innerduct is in place and a lubricated pulling tape or rope has been installed in the innerduct.

7.1 Feed Manhole

Breakaway Swivel Connector

Mount the cable reel on the reel carrier so that the cable feeds off the top of the reel. Position the cable reel adjacent to the manhole and in-line with the innerduct. The cable reel should be positioned close enough to the manhole so that excessive cable length is not dragging on the ground, but far enough away to maintain slack cable in the event of a sudden start or stop during the pulling operation. A distance of 10 – 15 feet is generally sufficient. Attach the pull line to the fiber optic cable using a cable grip and swivel connector. Caution: A breakaway swivel connector is required if a tension limited winch is not used to pull the cable.

7.2 Intermediate Manholes

The innerduct in intermediate manholes may be continuous through the manhole or it may be interrupted. In either case, the innerduct should be positioned in a straight path from entry duct to exit duct. If the innerduct is continuous and has been racked, remove the innerduct ties and straighten the innerduct through the manhole. If necessary, slack innerduct can be cut out using an innerduct cutter. Secure the innerduct in the manhole to prevent it from creeping into the main duct during cable placing operations.

> Download full Article for more details

7.3 Pull Manhole

OFS recommends the use of tension-limited winches for pulling fiber optic cable. The tension control may be accomplished by electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic methods. In any case, the tension-limiting device must be routinely calibrated as recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Cable winches that display cable tension but do not have automatic cutoff are not sufficient to protect the cable. If a tension-limited winch is not used, a breakaway swivel must be used to connect the fiber optic cable to the pulling line.

7.4 Capstan Winches

7.4.1 General

Breakaway swivels do not protect the fiber-optic cable after the cable pulling-eye passes the intermediate capstan winch; therefore, intermediate-assist capstan winches must be tension-limited. The capstan must also meet the minimum cable bend-diameters.

7.4.2 Set-up

The capstan winches should be positioned along the cable route where the expected pulling tension will be 600 pounds or less. Proper positioning of the capstans prior to the start of the pull will eliminate construction delays caused when an unplanned intermediate capstan assist must be added to the placing operation.

7.4.3 Slack Cable Loop

During the pulling operation, a slack loop of cable must be maintained on the pull-off side of the capstan as shown in Figure.

Intermediate Manhole Set-up

7.4.4 Adding Intermediate Capstans

 If an intermediate capstan is added during the cable pull and the cable pulling eye has already passed through the manhole, a loop of slack cable must be pulled to the intermediate manhole before cable is wrapped on the capstan.

Adding an Intermediate Assist Capsta

7.4.5 Removing Cable from Intermediate Capstan Assist Winch

At the conclusion of the pull, the cable on the capstan is twist free. However, one twist per wrap will be generated in the cable if it is removed from the capstan and straightened.

8. Blown Optical Cable Installation

Cable blowing systems use high-pressure, high-velocity airflow combined with a pushing force to install the cable. A hydraulic or pneumatic powered drive wheel or drive belt is used to push the cable into the innerduct at the feed manhole. Controls and gauges on the cable blowing system allow the operator to monitor and adjust the air flow and push force that is exerted on the cable. Some cable jetting systems use a plug at the cable end to capture the compressed air and generate a small pulling force on the end of the cable.

9. Optical Cable Coiling

9.1 Coils Stored at Intermediate Holes

Many end users require that coils of slack cable be stored in intermediate manholes along the cable route. These slack storage coils are used for future branch splices or route rearrangements. It is important that the coiling method accommodates the proper coil diameter and does not introduce kinking or excessive twist into the cable.

9.2 Fold-Over Method

The Fold-Over Method is recommended for storing moderate lengths of slack cable. Form a cable bight and then twist the bight to form the first cable coil. Fold the coil over to form the second cable coil.

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9.3 Teardrop Method

The teardrop coiling method is recommended for storing longer lengths of cable since it is easier to roll the cable than perform repetitive folding operations. The cable is stored twist free by rolling the cable bight in a manner similar to that used on the cable end.

9.4 Garden Hose Method

The garden hose method is recommended for large diameter cables because only one turn of cable is handled at a time. The storage coil can be formed directly on the manhole racking as each additional loop is added. Each loop can be taped in place as it is added to the storage coil. This method can be used to store any length of slack cable.

9.5 Coils Stored at Splice Locations

Slack cable must be stored at splice locations to allow for splicing. Typically, a cable length of 50 to 100 feet is required for splicing purposes; however, the actual cable length may vary depending on the accessibility of the manhole.

10. Racking Fiber Optic Cable and Innerduct

Cable racking normally begins in intermediate manholes and proceeds manhole by manhole toward each end of the cable. Slack for racking the fiber optic cable may come from either the feed or the pull manhole depending on which end is closer and the amount of excess cable that is available. The preferred method of obtaining racking slack is pulling by hand. If the cable cannot be moved by hand, a split cable grip can be attached to the cable and the cable can be pulled using a cable winch or a chain hoist. Do not exceed the maximum tension rating or violate the minimum bending diameter of the cable while pulling the slack.

Cable coils should be racked in a location where they will not be damaged, preferably on the manhole wall behind in-place cables. Do not decrease the diameter of the cable coils. If slack cable must be removed from the coil for racking purposes, remove one or more loops from the coil and then enlarge the coil to absorb excess slack. Tie the coil securely in place with plastic ties.

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5 Things You Should Know About IEEE Std 802.3cm™-2020

What is IEEE Std 802.3cm-2020, 400 Gb/s over Multimode Fiber?

The work of the IEEE Std P802.3cm Task Force was approved as a new standard by the IEEE-SA Standards Board on 30 January 2020, creating the latest 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard using multimode fiber. 400 Gb/s is the highest Ethernet speed, and 400 Gb/s optical modules are needed in hyperscale (Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, and others) and very large-scale enterprise datacenters. 802.3cm defines 400 Gb/s solutions over both 4-pair (400GBASE-SR4.2) and 8-pair (400GBASE-SR8) multimode links. The IEEE P802.3cm Task Force was chaired by Robert Lingle, Jr., Senior Director of Market Strategy at OFS.

400GBASE-SR4.2 is the first multimode standard to use two wavelengths (850nm and 910nm), enabling 100 Gb/s transmission over a single fiber pair. It takes advantage of the multi-wavelength capabilities of OFS LaserWave® WideBand (OM5) fiber with 150 meter link distances, while supporting 100 meter links over LaserWave FLEX 550 (OM4) fiber and 70 meter links over LaserWave FLEX 300 (OM3) fiber. This builds on well-established 40 and 100G BiDi and SWDM technology that has been offered by switch and transceiver suppliers over the past decade. A key motivation for the 400GBASE-SR4.2 transceiver type is support of the installed base of multimode fiber cabling, designed around 100 meter reach over OM4 MMF, as well as extended reach over OM5 MMF, especially in large enterprise datacenters. 400GBASE-SR8 uses eight pairs of multimode fiber, with each pair supporting 50 Gb/s transmission. It operates over a single wavelength (850nm). OM4 and OM5 will support 100 meter links, while OM3 can support up to 70 meters. A key motivation for 400GBASE-SR8 is support of new cabling architectures in hyperscale datacenters.

What applications will use these links?

400 Gb/s multimode links can be used in a variety of applications. These include not only 400 Gb/s switch-to-switch (point-to-point) links, but several new applications, including 400GBASE-SR8 – 8x50GBASE-SR breakouts, or 400 Gb/s shuffles (fig. 1). The breakout application minimizes the number of ports on the Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch, providing connectivity to higher numbers of servers from a single switch. In similar fashion, the shuffle application allows a single 400 Gb/s switch port to support 100 Gb/s links to 4 different switches. 400GBASE-SR8 supports both flexibility and higher density: a 400G-SR8 OSFP/ QSFP DD transceiver can be used as 400GBASESR8, 2x200GBASE-SR4, 4x100GBASE-SR2, or 8x50GBASE-SR. 400GBASE-SR8 is already being deployed as 2x200GBASE-SR4. 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT A Furukawa Company IEEE Std 802.3cm™-2020 For more information, visit our website at www.ofsoptics.com 1 2 Example: 400GBASE-SR8 – 8×50 Gb/s Breakout.

Shuffle Arrangement

Optical Fiber Cable Shuffle Arrangement Illustration

Breakout Arrangement

Optical Fiber Breakout Arrangement Illustration

What does this mean for hyperscale data centers?

Both 400GBASE-SR4.2 and 400GBASE-SR8 applications can be used for point to point 400 Gb/s links between switches. Additionally, new applications are being deployed in hyperscale data centers. As server speeds reach 50 and 100 Gb/s, racks will contain fewer servers, leading to a change in switch architecture away from ToR to Middle-of-Row (MoR) or End-of-Row (EoR) switches. Copper DAC links are reaching link distance and bandwidth limitations that will make it very difficult to support this change in architecture, leading to demand for a low cost, short reach optical solution. 400GBASE-SR8 provides support for eight 50 Gb/s server links from a single MoR or EoR switch port, significantly increasing bandwidth density on the switch faceplate.

Learn more about OFS and hyperscale data center fiber cabling.

400GBASE-SR4.2 Point to Point Link Distance

What does IEEE Std 802.3cm mean for enterprise data centers?

400GBASE-SR4.2 is the first 400 Gb/s standard that takes advantage of the 4-pair OM3/OM4/OM5 infrastructure many enterprises installed earlier, first for 40 Gb/s Ethernet and later, 100 Gb/s 100GBASESR4, and 200 Gb/s 200G-SR4. It provides a graceful evolution path for enterprise networks, using the same cable infrastructure through at least four Ethernet generations. Future advances point toward the ability to support even higher data rates as they become needed. It takes advantage of the latest multimode fiber technology, OM5 fiber, using multiple wavelengths to transmit 100 Gb/s over a pair of fibers over 150 meters, compared to 100 meters for OM4 and 70 meters over OM3.

400GBASE-SR8 will be used in enterprise data centers as 50 Gb/s servers are deployed. Most enterprise datacenter servers operate at lower data rates, however with 10 Gb/s server links being quite common.

What is coming next?

IEEE has already created a study group to investigate the development of 100 Gb/s per wavelength multimode solutions, known as the “100 Gb/s Wavelength Short Reach PHYs Study Group.” This will enable support of next generation 100 Gb/s server ports, expected in 2021-2022. By providing native 100 Gb/s support, no expensive “gearboxes” will be required to combine 50 Gb/s lanes, providing a low cost, power efficient optical solution. Beyond 2021-2022 timeframe, once an 800 Gb/s Ethernet MAC is standardized, using this technology with two-wavelength operation could create an 800 Gb/s, four-pair link, while a single wavelength could support an 800 Gb/s eight-pair link.

See all of the details behind the IEEE Std.802.3cm Standard.
Learn more about our LaserWave Multimode Optical Fibers

Indoor Living Unit (ILU) Fiber Solution Guide

Fiber to the Home/Business Solutions 

In today’s increasingly fast-paced, interconnected world, the need for high-speed broadband internet access and reliable wireless service is more acute than ever. The growth of fiber optic networks has allowed service providers to optimize FTTx — fiber-to-the-X, in which X can refer to various subscriber locations, including homes (H, as in FTTH) and buildings (B, as in FTTB) — with the most effective, cost-efficient connectivity and bandwidth capabilities. 

Optical fiber solutions guarantee subscribers high-quality transmission of video, voice, and data while providing comprehensive end-to-end solutions for maximum return on investment (ROI). Fiber optics also allow subscribers to make use of recreational technologies such as HDTV, video on demand, and online gaming. 

To reach and connect subscribers InvisiLight® Solutions, feature solid glass optical fiber bendable down to a 2.5-mm radius with practically zero loss. This innovative and patented technology provides a 500-fold improvement in bending loss over traditional approaches that use Single-Mode Fiber (SMF) type cables. The flexibility of this solution simplifies and hides installations by conforming to building corners, with no concern for bending loss or service disruptions. 

What InvisiLight Indoor Living Unit (ILU) Solution Do I Need? 

The OFS InvisiLight ILU Solution guide can help you decide which of the four InvisiLight ILU Solutions to use, based on your needs. Whether you are looking for low visibility, low cost, greater security, or ethernet connection for business we have the answer for you. 

InvisiLight Indoor Living Unit (ILU) Solution Guide

History 

Launched in 2012, the original, award-winning InvisiLight ILU Solution offered installers an innovative and simple method for indoor optical fiber installation. Since then we have launched added variations that are adaptable depending on customer needs. The process involves adhering a 0.9 mm diameter optical fiber into either crevices along ceilings and walls or moldings and walls. The result is a protected optical fiber link that is virtually invisible. 

Very EZ 

All InvisiLight products feature innovative OFS EZ-Bend® Optical Fiber. This fiber’s 2.5 mm minimum bend radius easily handles the sharp corners often met when installers conform optical fiber to a building. 

When you are ready to order, or require more information, our experts are standing by ready to help. Simply fill out the form here

Single-Mode Optical Fiber Geometries

Understanding Optical Fiber Specifications

This article in our technical series will focus on single-mode optical fiber geometries.

If you subscribed to our Light Post Emails you know we previously covered bandwidth demand drivers and introductory standards as well as fiber optic dispersion.In this article we’ll work our way through a typical fiber specification, highlighting the importance of various single-mode optical fiber geometry specifications.

Optical fiber core specifications

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Cladding (Glass) Diameter – 125.0 ± 0.7 µm

Cladding diameter is the outer diameter of the glass portion of the optical fiber. For telecommunications fibers, this diameter has been 125 microns (µm) for a very long time. On the other hand, the diameter tolerance has not always been 0.7 µm.

Core Alignment Splicer Type Specifications

During the 1980s, optical fibers had outer diameter tolerances as high as +/- 3.0 µm. As you can imagine, matching up fiber cores ranging from 122 to 128 µm in diameter could result in extremely high loss. This situation is why fusion splicing machines required additional technology to help align the fiber cores. This extra technology increased the price of the splicing units.

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Mode Field Diameter (MFD)

Mode field diameter (MFD) is another specification related to fiber geometry. In a typical G.652.D compliant single-mode optical fiber, not all of the light travels in the core; in fact, a small amount of light travels in the fiber cladding. The term MFD is a measure of the diameter of the optical power density distribution, which is the diameter in which 95% of the power resides.

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Clad Non-Circularity of d 0.7 %

Clad non-circularity measures a fiber’s deviation from perfectly round, and is measured as a percentage difference versus perfect.

Core/Clad Concentricity Error (Offset) of d 0.5 ¼m, < 0.2 ¼m typically

Core/clad concentricity error (CCCE) measures how well the core is centered in the fiber. CCCE is measured in microns and, of course, the closer the core is placed to perfect center, the better it is.

Although the difference between 200 and 250 µm is not tremendously large, smaller diameter fibers can enable twice the fiber count in the same size buffer tube, while also still preserving long-term reliability.

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Fiber Curl

What is optical fiber curl?

Fiber curl assesses the non-linearity of bare glass. In other words, fiber curl measures how straight the glass fiber is when no external stressors are present. If imbalanced stresses are frozen into a fiber during the draw process, curl can result. This curl can show up during the splicing of fiber optic ribbons or when fixed V-groove splicing machines are used.

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In closing, fiber geekdom is a journey, not a destination, and there’s always more to learn. OFS has multiple decades of experience with fiber-optic cable networks. Please contact your local OFS representative if you would like additional information regarding optical fiber geometry specifications.

What is Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS)?

Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) is a technology that enables continuous, real-time measurements along the entire length of a fiber optic cable.  Unlike traditional sensors that rely on discrete sensors measuring at pre-determined points, distributed sensing utilizes the optical fibre. The optical fiber is the sensing element.

AcoustiSens® Wideband Single-Mode Optical Fiber, the newest addition to the OFS LineaSens® family, is a vibration sensing fiber with optimal performance for DAS systems.  Using a waveguide design based on the ITU-T G.657.A1 telecom-grade single-mode standard, AcoustiSens Wideband Optical Fibers significantly increase Rayleigh backscatter while maintaining low attenuation to improve Optical Signal to Noise Ratio (OSNR).  Furthermore, the AcoustiSens Wideband Optical Fibers provide bend-insensitivity and expand the operating wavelength band (1536 – 1556 nm) ensuring interoperability with all known DAS interrogators.

AcoustiSens Wideband is intended for use in cables designed as sensing components in DAS systems. Without the need for changes in interrogation equipment or complex optical amplification schemes AcoustiSens Wideband is a drop-in fiber replacement that provides greatly improved sensing performance with OSNR orders of magnitude better than telecom-standard fibers.  This translates into significantly improved ASNR in DAS systems.  Due to its waveguide design, AcoustiSens fibers are also bend-insensitive and splice compatible with G.657.A1 and G.652.D optical fibers, assuring smooth integration with commonly deployed sensing solutions.

AcoustiSens Optical Fibers are intended for use as components in optical and hybrid cables designed for vibration or acoustic sensing applications including:

  • Pipeline monitoring (midstream)
  • Rail monitoring
  • Perimeter monitoring
  • Subsea monitoring
  • Highway monitoring
  • Smart City applications

To learn more about AcoustiSens watch this video overview or visit the OFS website.  Or you may contact us to discuss solutions to your sensing needs.

A Hollow-Core Fiber Cable for Low Latency Transmission – when microseconds count

AccuCore HCF™ Optical Fiber Cable is the world’s first terrestrial hollow-core fiber (HCF) cable solution. Light travels about 50% faster in a hollow core optical fiber compared to the solid silica core of conventional fiber. Consequently, light transmitted in a hollow-core fiber arrives 1.54 microseconds faster for each kilometer traveled compared with conventional optical fiber.

The AccuCore HCF Optical Fiber Cable solution includes indoor/outdoor cable and termination with standard connectors, which are fusion-spliced to the patented photonic bandgap hollow-core fiber. OFS also offers installation services and both passive and active component selection to meet customer requirements.  AccuCore HCF optical fiber cable has been successfully deployed, carrying live traffic in several networks.

This latest development from OFS was presented as a postdeadline paper on March 12, 2020 at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC) held in San Diego.  OFC postdeadline papers represent the latest and most advanced technical achievements in the field. The paper reported error-free transmission of direct-detection 10 Gb/s DWDM signals over 3.1 km of cascaded cabled HCF. This is the first time that transmission results in a cabled HCF have been reported.  That white paper is available here.

 Contact OFS to learn more about AccuCore HCF fiber optic products.

The OFS Fiber Connection in The U.S. Virgin Islands

The co-inventor of optical fiber, Dr. Peter Schultz, is a resident of the Virgin Islands. He was instrumental in convincing the local authorities back in the early 2000’s that the islands needed high-speed connectivity afforded by optical fiber. He assisted in the successful lobbying of federal and local governments to provide funding for the project and in 2009 The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (ViNGN) was formed. This video shows how he partnered with OFS to deliver high-speed fiber connectivity to the U.S. Virgin Islands and specifically to his condo unit. OFS designed the fiber to the MDU (Multiple Dwelling Unit) network with the InvisiLight® Facade Solution using the 12-Fiber M-Pack® Indoor Outdoor MDU Drop Cable and SlimBox® Indoor Outdoor Enclosures. For inside the MDU, a SlimBox 64-Fiber Indoor Enclosure and the InvisiLight Indoor Living Unit (ILU) Solution were installed. OFS oversaw the installation for ViNGN with technicians from local contractor ADM Technologies, Inc.