Now I'd like to talk about fiber optic cable installation. I will point out that while many of you use contractors to install fiber optic cable there is no reason that you can't install your own fiber optic cable. It's very possible and understanding how to install fiber cable will also assist you in directing contractors as they are doing work for you. I've always said that if you can install category 6 cable and and put termination ends on it there's no reason you can't do fiber optic cable it just needs some specialized training and probably quite a bit of experience the first piece that's really important to understand as you're installing a fiber optic cable is there's a big difference between fiber optic cable that is built by the manufacturer to be run inside of a building and fiber optic cable that's built to be run outside of the building in the outdoors so if you're running a cable inside of a building water isn't an issue you don't have to worry about water intrusion into the cable you shouldn't have to worry about sun damage of the cable and hopefully uh the the rodent issue and rodent damage is not as much of an issue inside of a building as outside as you look at outdoor cable virtually all outdoor cable is what's called loose tube cable which means that there is a buffer tube a small straw like tube that the fiber individual fiber strands are installed into in each buffer tube will have typically six or twelve fibers these loose tube fibers are much smaller and loose tube is typically cheaper than a tight buffer cable tight buffer is almost always what is an indoor fiber tight buffer is easier to terminate however loose tube is cheaper so kind of a six of one half dozen the other the other thing that i wanted to talk about is armored cable versus all dielectric cable now you can get a armored cable for both indoor and outdoors but the armor protects against rodent damage it's simply a metallic element that surrounds the fiber and rodents don't tend to like to chew on it as much as they do an indoor fiber i would note that now you have a metallic element in your cable and this metallic element requires grounding at each end of the cable so that you don't get stray currents particularly from lightning in lightning prone areas any ungrounded piece of metal that runs between buildings or through a building can certainly carry stray current and damage equipment and hurt people so here's a few pictures of indoor fiber cable unfortunately the quality of this isn't good enough to really see what this looks like but if you look on the far left hand side of this you will note that there are it's a duplex fiber cable and the plastic coating on the fiber is quite large the blue fiber cable kind of a second from the right that is a a loose tube cable and there's multiple fiber strands there and you can see those fiber strands are smaller so here's an outdoor fiber cable you can see it's armored cable there's a metallic element there and this is indeed a loose tube cable again the quality of the photo is not such that you can really see it but the fiber strands are much smaller the previous slide that had the tight buffer on it the type buffer is 900 microns uh the loose tube cable the the plastic coating will be 250 microns again here is an outdoor loose tube you can kind of see better here the individual optical fibers that are in the flexible buffer tubes that are all color coded so again a loose tube 250 microns uh in a buffer tube gel filled it's more compact it's very water resistant a tight buffer cable is one fiber in a 900 micron plastic buffer there's no gel it's kind of bigger and sturdier you can get tight buffer for indoor or outdoor mostly people do use the loose tube cable for campus installations where you're going between buildings simply because of the very uh the better water resistant uh characteristics so let's talk about fiber termination so you can put a connector directly onto the 900 micron tight buffer fiber this is not necessarily recommended for single mode but you can probably hand terminate single mode fiber for campus installation we don't really recommend it single mode fiber should be terminated by fusion splicing a factory pre-polished connector onto the individual fiber strands and this works for both loose tube and tight buffer cable and the best practices are to place these splices into a splice tray so uh this is just a real quick picture of how you fuse and splice fiber it's really very very straightforward uh you essentially strip the the coating whether it's the 250 micron you're dripping off 125 microns of plastic or the 900 micron fiber where you're stripping off you know what 750 microns of the plastic to get down to the 125 micron fiber you simply cleave it so you have a flat end of it and you place it into a fusion splicer you see on the right hand side there's a 250 micron fiber yet that's yellow coming out of the right hand side of that right picture and there's a 900 micron fiber uh going in on the left hand side of that rightmost picture that you just simply press a button the fusion splicer aligns the fiber ends together puts places them together and melts them together with a electric arc so we talked about fiber optic splice enclosures here are some examples uh and you know i've labeled these so there's uh this wall mount unit on the upper left there's a fiber optic splice tray where the splices are actually laid into the tray uh there's a fiber optic patch panel just underneath that that's rack mount again there's a splice tray that lays in that and then an outdoor splice enclosure is on the right hand side and this is simply to splice different fiber cables together and you can see that this is a looks like a residential installation and ultimately uh if you're doing fiber to the home there'll be a what's called a drop cable that comes out of that splice case and goes either aerial or underground to that home so here are some details of what a splice tray looks like inside um you can see the fibers are covered up by it it's just a sleeve uh and when you fuse and splice the fiber it's actually bare glass that's exposed but you've already put this sleeve uh on one of the ends of the fiber you slide it over the bare glass and you put it in a little oven that melts the plastic it's like shrink tubing that melts the plastic down and protects that bare glass that you've melted together and let's talk for just a minute about fiber optic testing tools everybody everybody everybody ought to have a visual fault locator they're cheap you can get one for 20 u.s think of it as you know you're probably familiar with the tone and trace kit for for twisted pair cable where you put a tone on one end and you can go the other end with a little amplifier and find that cable the visual fault locator simply puts a really really bright light onto the fiber and you can see it anywhere the fiber is bent you can see that there's light escaping and at the end of the fiber it'll be a really red bright light so you must must have one of those uh and they again are cheap uh you can buy it at the place that we had talked about in previous uh discussions and uh it it's really a must-have you must have one of those a light source and a power meter aren't required uh but they are useful um they're kind of the next level of testing and basically what you do is uh the optical light source is a very stabilized light source so it doesn't vary in optical output and then you have a power meter that measures uh the amount of light so you hook them together with a patch cord you push the this is zero button and then you just simply take the the power meter to the other end of the fiber cable and you will see that um you will see what the loss uh in that cable span is and then finally the next picture of a fusion splicer so this is again used to join the fiber this is a simple portable fusion splicer i found a picture of it on ebay you can get these for a few thousand dollars certainly something that anyone can learn how to use you definitely want to get to some specialized training and get some experience with a qualified installer and and again that is not required unless you're installing your own fiber optic cabling finally uh optical time domain reflectometer this is uh an optical version of a time domain reflectometer so it basically launches uh signals of light and then watches the back reflections uh an otdr you can see splices you can see bad splices you can see bends in the cable that where the cable's bent too tightly and you can see the end of the cable so this is a more advanced tool your contractor must have one of these and you they must otdr every fiber cable that's installed you don't need one of these unless you're doing your own fiber cable installations and finally labeling the fiber cable please label each fiber cable label each end and label every slack loop and pull point you know you want to know strand count how many strands what kind of fiber is it where is it coming from where is it going to.

© Produced by Philip Smith and the Network Startup Resource Center, through the University of Oregon.

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