Considerations About Fiber Optic Cable Installation


It’s true that fiber optic cable, based on optical technology to carry information between two points, have become increasingly important in fiber optic systems. This cable is often attached with the same or different connectors on the ends to connect devices, for example, LC-LC multimode patch cord (LCs on both ends). When used in premises, fiber optic cables can be used as backbone cabling in a standard structured cabling network, connecting network hardware in the computer room. And when applied in optimized fiber optic networks, they go directly to the work area with only passive connections in the links. They can be installed indoors or outdoors using several different installation processes. One of my recent blogs has talked about safety issues about fiber optic cable installation. Today, this article still focuses on its installation, but from other aspects, including the general guidelines, its pulling tension, bend radius, and so on.

When deployed outside, fiber optic cables may be direct buried, pulled or blown into conduit or innerduct, or installed aerially between poles. When used outside, they can be e installed in raceways, cable trays, placed in hangers, pulled into conduit or innerduct or blown through special ducts with compressed gas. The installation process depends on the nature of the installation and the type of cables being used.

Considerations About Fiber Optic Cable Installation 1

Installation General Guidelines

The first point to mention is that fiber optic cable is often custom-designed for the installation and the manufacturer may have specific instructions on its installation. So, it’s highly recommended to follow the cable manufacturer’s suggestions. Often, it’s necessary to check the cable length to make sure the cable being pulled is long enough for the run, so as to prevent having to splice fiber and provide special protection for the splices. Of course, it’s better to try to complete the installation in one pull. Prior to any installation, one should assess the route carefully to determine the methods of installation and obstacles that are likely to be encountered.

  • Pulling Tension

Fiber optic cable is designed to be pulled with much greater force than a copper wire if pulled correctly, but excess stress may harm the fibers, potentially causing eventual failure. Cable manufacturers install special strength members, usually aramid yarn, for pulling. Fiber optic cables should only be pulled by these strength members. Any other method may put stress on the fibers and harm them. During installation, swivel pulling eyes should be used to attach the pulling rope or tape to the cable to prevent cable twisting during the pull.

Considerations About Fiber Optic Cable Installation 2

Besides, cables should not be pulled by the jacket unless it is specifically approved by the cable manufacturers and an approved cable grip is used. Tight buffer cable can be pulled by the jacket in premises applications if a large (~40 cm, 8 in.) spool is used as a pulling mandrel. It’s right to wrap the cable around the spool 5 times and hold gently when pulling.

It’s ill-advised to exceed the maximum pulling tension rating. It’s suggested to consult the cable manufacturer and suppliers of conduit, innerduct, and cable lubricants for guidelines on tension ratings and lubricant use.

On long runs (up to approximately 3 miles or 5 kilometers), one should use proper lubricants and make sure they are compatible with the cable jacket. If possible, an automated puller can be used with tension control and/or a breakaway pulling eye. On very long runs (farther than approximately 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers), one should pull from the middle out to both ends or use an automated fiber puller at intermediate point(s) for a continuous pull.

  • Bend Radius

When there are no specific recommendations from the cable manufacturer, the cable should not be pulled over a bend radius smaller than twenty (20) times the cable diameter. And after completion of the pull, the cable should not have any bend radius smaller than ten times the cable diameter.

  • Twisting cable

It’s known that twisting the cable can stress the fibers, thus in no case should one twist the cable. (Tension on the cable and pulling ropes can cause twisting.)

Use a swivel pulling eye to connect the pull rope to the cable to prevent pulling tension causing twisting forces on the cable.

Roll the cable off the spool instead of spinning it off the spool end to prevent putting a twist in the cable for every turn on the spool.

When laying cable out for a long pull, use a “figure 8” on the ground to prevent twisting. The figure 8 puts a half twist in on one side of the 8 and takes it out on the other, preventing twists.


Fiber optic cables have been widely deployed for computer networks (LANs), closed-circuit TV (video), voice links (telephone, intercom, audio), building management, security or fire alarm systems, or any other communications link. With its installation on large scale, it’s of great importance to know some basic points on cable installation discussed in this text. As for the fiber optic cables chosen for the project, you can try Fiberstore, whose cables are available in many types, like SC fiber optic cable, LC-SC cable, MTP cable. All are test- and quality-assured, suitable for both indoor and outdoor installation.

Related Articles

Overview of Commonly Used Multimode Fibers

Very Effective Method of Fiber Optic Cables Selection

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Optical Fiber

The Most Common Uses of Fiber Optic Cables


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