there are two different sizes to your fiber optic cable buffer but before we do a comparison of the two sizes I want to talk about why there’s two and what fiber cable construction type is associated with one or the other.
The first fiber cable construction I want to talk about is “Loose Tube”. These cables are mostly installed in outdoor only installations. Such as direct burial, pole to pole and anywhere else where most if not all the cable is outdoors. This cable construction is more durable and offers a higher pulling tension. I recently talked with AFL and I wanted to know what the life expectancy is for this type of cable construction and they mentioned that it all depends on the environment but a good estimate is 30 years.
Another easy way to tell if you have a loose tube fiber optic cable is to read the print on the cable jacket and many cables will have the letters LT on it letting you know it’s a loose tube, this cable construction always has a 250um size buffer. I say always because I’ve been selling fiber since 1999 and I don’t remember ever seeing a loose tube with a 900um size buffer. Just makes sense, with a smaller size you can get more strands in a smaller tube hence the 250um size.
So that leads us to the 900um size buffer. This size is commonly found with a distribution cable construction. This is most commonly installed in underground conduits for building to building installations and indoors for riser and plenum installations. It has a smaller diameter, more flexible, lighter and overall just more pleasant to work with. Let’s get a look at a distribution cable.
Now that you have a better feel for what size buffer you have before even stripping the jacket let’s get a look at what these two sizes look like to the naked eye.
That was a great comparison of the two sizes that are involved with your fiber optic cable. As you can tell after stripping the buffer off the cladding the cladding size is the same, the 125um size. If you’re asking yourself what is under the 125um size you then have what’s called the cladding and then your core. The core is where your signal is transmitted. For Multimode your core size will be either 62.5 or 50.0 and for singlemode, it’ll be 9.0.
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