Overhead fiber optic cable systems have become a key factor in telecommunication networks used by operators and power utilities.
The key advantages of using overhead electricity distribution lines to carry cables providing broadband connectivity can be summarised in three distinct areas: speed, security and cost.
● Speed: It is always much, much quicker to install fiber optic cable by attaching it to poles than it is to dig trenches to bury it underground. It is generally possible to install at least 1km of fibre optic cable a day on overhead power lines and up to 5km per day is possible in favourable circumstances.
● Security: Security is a key concern in any fiber optic cable installation. Cables have been installed on overhead power lines since the very early 1980s and have developed an excellent reputation for security and reliability over that time. Power utilities use these cables to carry critical communications for control of the electricity network. Fiber optic cables installed above ground are not subject to ‘dig-ups’ which is the biggest cause of cable damage. Cables that are installed as part of the electricity infrastructure are protected by the proximity of power conductors, which provide protection against theft and vandalism.
● Cost: The higher unit cost of aerial cables compared to underground cables is more than offset by the much lower cost of installation and therefore aerial cables have the lowest total cost. Aerial cables have much higher installation rates and so networks are built much more quickly, begin to provide services earlier and so have quicker returns on investment. Put another way, with reduced initial costs and earlier in-service dates, aerial cables have shorter pay back times than underground networks.
Sun Telecom provides a broad range of fiber optic cables for overhead cable networks:
All Dielectric Self-supporting Aerial Cable (ADSS Cable)
On existing transmission lines, the preferable option is to install ADSS cables, being cost-effective. The installed ADSS is independent of power lines and provides an attractive solution in respect of maintenance of both power lines and fibre optic cables.
Optical Fiber Composite Overhead Ground Wire Cable (OPGW Cable)
OPGW cable is designed as a two function aerial conductor viz, a shield wire to take care of fault current and lightning strike, and integrated fiber optic unit taking on the function of communication. The OPGW has been found to be the best solution when installed as replacement of conventional earthwire on new transmission lines or when there is a need to change the old groundwire of existing line.