Difference Between Tight-Buffered Breakout and Distribution Cables


There are two basic styles of fiber optic cable construction: loose tube and tight buffered. Tight-buffered cables provide improved reliability and quick termination for today’s cable installation systems. Tight-buffered breakout cables and distribution cables are the two main types of tight-buffered cables. Loose tube cables hold more than one optical fiber, each individually sleeved core is bundled loosely within an all-encompassing outer jacket. However, in tight buffered cables, there are not so many cables as loose tube cables.

Cable Structure

Breakout Cable Structure

The breakout cable is also known as fan-out cable. As the following picture shows, breakout cable consists of two or more simplex cables bundled around a central strength member. Each fiber has its own jacket and all of the fibers are packaged together inside the same outer jacket. Thus, breakout cable can also be broken out into individual simplex cables for separate use when running through walls of a building. The breakout cable is usually designed with tight buffer and the fiber counts are varied from 2 to 24 fibers.

Distribution Cable Structure

Unlike the breakout cable, distribution cable is smaller in size and lighter in weight. Fiber counts of distribution cable can be more intensive than the breakout cable for up to 144 fibers. Many fibers may not be used immediately but can be left for future expansion. Although the distribution cable has a more compact design, the tight-buffered fibers inside the cable are only bundled in a single outer jacket for protection, as shown in the picture below. Yet this has made the distribution cable to be easily handled and stripped for field termination.


Tight-buffered cables are optimal for indoor applications. With the design of armored layer, they are also used for indoor/outdoor applications. Fiber-Mart provides a wide range of quality optical fiber cables with detailed specifications displayed for your convenient selecting. Per foot price of each fiber cable is flexible depending on the quantities of your order, making your cost of large order unexpected lower. Customers can also have the flexibility to custom the cable plant to best fit their needs.

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