June, 2019

generations of high-bandwidth, high- speed emerging technologies and electronic upgrades. To minimize the pitfalls that

can lead to network failure and the monumental per-minute costs of downtime, troubleshooting and net- work restoration, the cabling infra- structure must also deploy cables that are both ruggedized and simul- taneously highly resilient to mac- robending. Macrobending results in excessive attenuation that seriously degrades system performance and signal transmission and can force the network down. Macrobending can also cause physical irregularities that can cause microbending and severe damage to the fiber. Following the more controllable

causes of network failure stemming from connector and splicing faults, bending the fiber is the next leading cause of failure. A more “bendable” and more macrobending-resistant cable, such as helically stranded tight-buffered cables, are becoming necessary to achieve a zero-down- time network.

Design Comparison The helically stranded, tight-

buffered, tight-bound technology incorporated by some manufactur- ers, including Optical Cable Corpor - ation (OCC), results in fiber cables with much stronger pulling strength and much less bending of the diame- ter against sharp edges when com- pared with other straight lay cables, such as loose-tube and ribbon. The bendability is achieved because all the cable elements in the helically stranded cable under pulling stress tend to pull toward the center of the cable.

Unlike some ribbon cables, in

which elements at one edge could bend at a much sharper diameter than elements at the other edge, the helically stranded elements are bent equally with the stress averaged across the lay length, thereby elimi- nating macro and microbending within the cable. Helically

stranded tight-

buffered technology yields not only a smaller diameter fiber cable, but also provides the highest pulling strength, significantly reducing the likelihood of damage. The rugged- ness of the helically stranded tight- buffered cables can best be exempli- fied by the cables’ crush resistance that exceeds 10 times the 220 N/cm called for by the ICEA S-104-696 standard body. The tight-buffered cables do not

rely on extra strengthening ele- ments, making them more flexible than ribbon or loose-tube cables. There are also no messy gels that need to be cleaned before fusion splicing, which improves both instal- lation time and splicing efficiency. Another important benefit of

helically stranded tight-buffered cables is their water-tolerant attrib- utes. They provide water protection by combining the inherent water-tol- erant features of tight-buffered and core locked tight-bound cable that contains super-absorbent polymer aramid yarn. The design provides superb water resistance, while retaining optimal performance and the termination cost advantages associated with totally gel/powder- free tight-buffered cable.

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BER Testing BER testing is a system-level

evaluation of a physical layer optical network to meet the expected requirements for overall signal fideli- ty. It tests data transport accuracy through actual optical link condi- tions to ensure the physical layer sig- nal path integrity of the designed optical network. The test results account for effects of all the parame- ters of the optical link, such as inser- tion loss, return loss, chromatic dis- persion, and differential group delay for MMF. OCC’s helically stranded HC

series high-density, tight-buffered, indoor/outdoor cable with splice-on blades is a popular solution for cam-

pus rings and other high-density applications. Also available is ribbon cable with MPO-LC cassettes. The system performances of

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Ruggedized Fiber Optic Cables for Future-Forward Networks Continued from page 58

these two configurations were com- pared with a BER test. More specifi- cally, the HC series high-density cable used in the test was a 48-fiber single-mode (SM) cable with bend- insensitive fiber from OCC, equipped with splice-on Procyon blades on both ends. The ribbon cable was also a 48-fiber SM cable with bend-insen- sitive fiber supplied from a highly reliable, quality manufacturer. The ribbon cable employed MPO-LC cas- settes on both ends. The test results revealed that the design benefits of outstanding

ruggedness, bendability, and water resistance of the HC series high-den- sity, helically stranded,


buffered cable with spliced-on blades did not degrade optical performance at all. Rather, it marginally outper- formed the ribbon cable link. The 10 km HC series high-den-

sity cable was error-free when fur- ther tested under normal operating conditions at the 10 Gb/s data rate for two weeks, and demonstrated the BER of greater than 10 to 15 at a 99 percent confidence level. The BER level was monitored

for fluctuations, while making the same degree of cable bending against sharp edges for the HC series high-

Continued on page 65

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