There’s a new era of optical fiber ribbon cables. These designs use flexible ribbons to increase fiber density by way of a aspect of two or more. Like anything good factor, this enhancement includes trade-offs. In the following paragraphs, we describe these industry-offs to help you comprehend regardless of whether this new technology is a fit to suit your needs.

Traditional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been utilized for higher optical fiber ribbon machine. Ribbonized fibers are easier to handle in big numbers than loose fibers. Flat ribbons can even be mass combination spliced, which is perfectly up to 6 occasions faster than solitary fiber splicing.

Flat ribbons waste space within a barrier pipe, and definately will concentrate stresses on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

Figure 1. Flat ribbons waste space within a barrier tube, and can focus pressures on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

But, flat ribbons have a essential shortcoming. When cabled, a stack of flat ribbons is like a “square peg within a circular hole.” (See Figure 1.) Buffer pipes are generally round, which suggests the space featured in yellow is wasted. When external aspects deliver the pile in contact with the pipe wall structure, additionally, it concentrates stresses around the fibers in the edges from the stack.

Flexible ribbons solve these problems by striking a compromise. The structure that binds the patient fibers with each other is created looser, so a flexible ribbon can change shape without having to break apart. But, it must still hold with each other well enough to become dealt with efficiently during mass combination splicing. Shape 2 shows a flexible ribbon (top) and a flat ribbon (base). Observe how the color series of individual fibers is taken care of inside the versatile ribbon minus the fibers being bound firmly set up with a heavy layer of matrix materials.

Unlike flat ribbons (base), flexible ribbons (top) possess a loose framework. This structure suits circular tubes better.

Shape 2. Unlike flat ribbons (base), flexible ribbons (top) have a free framework. This framework fits into circular tubes more efficiently.

Flexible ribbons comply with the space they are in – forget about square pegs in round openings. When flexible ribbons are pushed from the inside of a buffer tube, the stress is spread out more than many fibers – not just the people on the corners of the pile. This permits much more fiber to get positioned to the same space. Shape 3 demonstrates an 864-count flat ribbon cable television (left) alongside a 1,728-count versatile ribbon cable (right). The pipes around the left cable include 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The pipes on the right contain 288 fibers in versatile ribbons. Both cables contain standard 250-micron fibers and will easily fit into a 1-1/4” duct. Yet, in spite of getting two times the FTTH cable production line, the 1,728-count versatile ribbon cable is somewhat small compared to the 864-count with flat ribbons.

A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television (right) is smaller compared to a flat ribbon cable television (left) with fifty percent the fiber count.

Figure 3. A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable (right) is small compared to a flat ribbon cable (left) with fifty percent the fiber count.

Could It Be a Match for you personally?

Versatile ribbon cables were initially developed for Super Scale Data Facilities (HSDCs). Most folks imagine a 1,728-fiber cable as dimension XXL. But, it is an entrance-level fiber count in lots of HSDCs, where it’s common to have several such wires entering every building. These wires usually interconnect buildings without branching, tapering, or mid-period accessibility of any kind. These 2 aspects drive HSDC cable television developers to focus on high-fiber denseness above all else. If you are not developing an HSDC, your goals may be different. So, let’s look at 7 distinctions between flexible and flat ribbon wires that may effect traditional OSP programs.

Difference #1 Ribbon Versatility

Flat ribbons will bend on only one plane. Since they are also twisted (to equalize stresses), this can get them to more difficult to arrange in splice containers. Versatile ribbons don’t have this restriction, and act nearly like loose fibers. As a result them easier to arrange in splice containers.

Distinction #2 Splicing Velocity

Mass splicing of flexible ribbon is still considerably faster than individual fiber splicing. But, you ought to expect some loss in velocity in comparison to flat ribbons. Simply because flexible ribbons are definitely more freely sure together, they might require more treatment when becoming placed in splicing holders. A flat ribbon can be placed into the groove of any owner. The identical method can lead to misaligned fibers to get a versatile ribbon. Technicians usually “wipe” the fibers of any versatile ribbon with a thumb and directory finger to bring the fibers within their appropriate place.

Difference #3 Splicing Resources

Versatile ribbons may interact with your current splicing resources in a different way than flat ribbons. Any difficulties are usually resolved using a bit of exercise or new tools. Consider testing some uncovered ribbon samples before scheduling a time-sensitive set up.

Check your existing ribbon owners to determine if they meet your anticipations when splicing versatile ribbons. Some fusion splicer manufacturers offer holders enhanced for splicing flexible ribbons. They may save time or even be necessary to avoid fiber slippage throughout heat stripping.

Some legacy warmth strippers usually are not hot enough to cleanly strip a flexible ribbon in one successfully pass. Some vendors have launched new models with greater heat settings to address this problem.

Difference #4 Cost

Flexible ribbons certainly are a new technology. There is much less much production capacity, and Fiber coloring machine production is less efficient than conventional flat ribbons. The potential risk of production scrap also increases with higher fiber counts. So, there is a price high quality related to versatile ribbons – particularly in the greatest fiber counts.

Distinction #5 Fiber Diameter

Most cablers are using 200-micron fibers for counts of 3,456 and above. You will find splicers for 200-micron ribbons, but they’re fairly new. If you wish to splice on to a legacy cable television with 250-micron fibers, you will need to have a work-about to do it. Luckily, most versatile ribbon wires with matters of 1,728 or less will contain regular 250-micron fiber.

Distinction #6 Cable television Handling

Switching to flexible ribbons may effect the selection of cable buildings. Cables with power associates embedded in their overcoats will flex only in one plane, and therefore are more challenging to coil. They can even be harder to open.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to see what options are available.

Difference #7 Buffer Tubes

Cable Outdoors Diameter (OD) can be reduced by reducing barrier pipes. However, barrier tubes save time and simplify fiber administration when prepping wires for splice closures. Barrier tubes also provide extra fiber reduce protection when opening the cable television coat.


Versatile ribbon wires provide dramatic improvements in fiber density that allow a lot more than two times the fiber count within the exact same duct space. If you wish to maximize fiber count within a duct, they may be your best option. Nevertheless, some adaptation is required, and there may be time penalties throughout dealing with and splicing. Possible cable television structures differ a whole lot. So, you need to investigate your options. For counts of 3,456 or higher, 200-micron fiber is common, which may require dedicated splicing equipment.

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