Rollable Ribbons will Change Fiber Optic Cable Design Concepts

Rollable Ribbon technology has been introduced by Japanese fiber optic cable manufacturers since the past five years that had started revolutionize the cable design concepts. High fiber count and high-density cables are now available in the market, thanks to the technological advantages offered by the intermittently bonded ribbons.

Intermittently bonded ribbons offer the advantages of mass fusion splicing and at the same time high fiber packing density since they can be bundled like loose fibers. Since the fibers are intermittently bonded using matrix material, they do not have a flat structure, unlike conventional ribbons. This bundling behavior gives the rollable ribbons the characteristics to make high fiber packing density in cables. Rollable ribbons look like a spider’s web and are the preferred choices to make high fiber count cables.

Data center customers prefer small diameter, high fiber count cables in order to utilize existing duct infrastructures and for easy fiber management. Recently leading fiber optic cable manufacturer OFS has introduced two new cable product families enabled by the company’s new fiber optic, rollable ribbon technology. The cable maker is expanding its field-proven AccuTube®“ribbon in loose tube” cable product line by offering the new AccuTube+ Rollable Ribbon (RR) Fiber Optic Cable.

With the introduction of rollable ribbons, high fiber count cables such as 1728F and 3456F or even 6912F. These fiber counts are multiples of 12F or 24F series duct cables available in the loose tube construction, which is different from the slotted core ribbon fiber counts. Slotted core ribbon fiber counts are usually, 100F, 200F, 300F, 400F, 600F, 800F and so on, while loose tube cable fiber counts are from 6F, 12F, 24F, 48F, 96F, 144F, 288F, 432F, 864F and so on.

OFS says their 1728F and 3456F cables can be installed in common 11/4” and 2” ducts, respectively. The AccuTube product line is well-known in the industry for ruggedness, fiber protection, ease of installation and ready accessibility to fiber ribbons.

OFS officials said its customers now can enjoy the significant time and cost savings benefits of 12-fiber mass fusion splicing, as compared with single fiber splicing, while getting the highest fiber density. In outside plant (OSP) installations, customers can double the fiber count viable for a particular duct size. In addition, OFS is introducing 144 and 288 fiber rollable ribbon versions of its popular indoor/outdoor AccuRiser™ Fiber Optic Cable. These cables bring the triple benefits of mass fusion splicing, compact size and excellent flexibility for tough indoor routing applications.

As fiber counts rise, but duct space and cable storage space remain at a premium, these smaller, more flexible cables can be excellent alternatives to more traditional cable technologies. In a rollable ribbon cable, 12 fibers are connected intermittently by matrix material to form a very flexible ribbon, allowing the ribbons to be rolled into very tight bundles, doubling the fiber density of a cable. These fibers can then be unrolled into a ribbon that can be spliced with traditional flat ribbon machines and procedures.

Traditional flat optical fiber ribbons have been deployed since the early 1980s. The optical fibers are held in place by a somewhat rigid matrix material and placed in different cable structures. These ribbons are easily stackable and spliced in cables but are not as space efficient within the cable structure as rollable ribbon. Rollable ribbon technology improves fiber density in cables retaining the splicing efficiency so valued by ribbon cable users.

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