There is a new generation of optical fiber ribbon cables. These styles use versatile ribbons to improve fiber density by way of a factor of several. Like anything good thing, this enhancement comes with trade-offs. In this post, we describe these trade-offs that will help you comprehend regardless of whether this new technologies is a fit for you personally.

Conventional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been utilized for greater SZ stranding line. Ribbonized fibers are easier to handle in big numbers than free fibers. Flat ribbons can additionally be mass combination spliced, which depends on 6 occasions quicker than single fiber splicing.

Flat ribbons waste space in a buffer tube, and will focus stresses on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

Shape 1. Flat ribbons waste space in a barrier pipe, and will concentrate stresses on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

But, flat ribbons possess a essential shortcoming. When cabled, a pile of flat ribbons is like a “square peg in a circular opening.” (See Figure 1.) Buffer pipes are typically circular, which suggests the space highlighted in yellow is wasted. When exterior aspects deliver the pile in contact with the pipe wall, it also concentrates pressures in the fibers in the edges from the pile.

Flexible ribbons solve these problems by striking a compromise. The structure that binds the person fibers with each other is made looser, so a flexible ribbon can change form without breaking aside. But, it has to still hold together well sufficient to get dealt with efficiently throughout mass combination splicing. Shape 2 shows a flexible type of ribbon (top) along with a flat ribbon (bottom). Notice the way the color sequence of person fibers is taken care of in the versatile ribbon minus the fibers being bound firmly in position with a thick coating of matrix material.

In contrast to flat ribbons (bottom), versatile ribbons (top) have a loose structure. This framework suits round pipes better.

Shape 2. Unlike flat ribbons (base), flexible ribbons (top) use a loose structure. This structure fits into circular pipes better.

Flexible ribbons conform to the space they’re in – forget about square pegs in circular openings. When flexible ribbons are pushed against the on the inside of a buffer tube, pressure is distributed over numerous fibers – not just those on the edges of the stack. This enables much more fiber to get placed into the same space. Figure 3 demonstrates an 864-count flat ribbon cable (left) together with a 1,728-count versatile ribbon cable (right). The tubes around the left cable television include 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The pipes in the right include 288 fibers in versatile ribbons. Both cables contain regular 250-micron fibers and can fit in a 1-1/4” duct. Yet, despite getting two times the cable air wiper, the 1,728-count versatile ribbon cable television is somewhat small compared to the 864-count with flat ribbons.

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

Shape 3. A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television (right) is smaller than a flat ribbon cable television (left) with half the fiber count.

Is It a Fit for You?

Versatile ribbon cables had been originally produced for Hyper Scale Information Centers (HSDCs). Most folks think of a 1,728-fiber cable as size XXL. But, it’s an entrance-degree fiber count in lots of HSDCs, in which it’s common to have numerous this kind of cables entering each building. These wires usually interconnect buildings without having branching, tapering, or mid-span accessibility of the kind. These 2 factors drive HSDC cable designers to focus on high-fiber density above all else. If you are not building an HSDC, your priorities may differ. So, let us examine 7 differences among flexible and flat ribbon wires that may effect traditional OSP applications.

Difference #1 Ribbon Versatility

Flat ribbons will bend on only one plane. Because they are also twisted (to equalize stresses), this can make them more complicated to organize in splice trays. Versatile ribbons don’t have this limitation, and act almost like free fibers. As a result them easier to arrange in splice trays.

Distinction #2 Splicing Velocity

Mass splicing of versatile ribbon remains faster than person fiber splicing. But, you need to anticipate some loss of speed in comparison to flat ribbons. Simply because flexible ribbons are definitely more freely bound together, they might require much more care when being put into splicing owners. A flat ribbon can be put directly into the groove of any holder. The identical method can lead to misaligned fibers to get a versatile ribbon. Technicians usually “wipe” the fibers of the flexible ribbon using a thumb and directory finger to create the fibers into their proper place.

Distinction #3 Splicing Resources

Flexible ribbons may communicate with your current splicing resources in a different way than flat ribbons. Any issues are usually solved using a bit of exercise or new resources. Think about testing some uncovered ribbon examples before scheduling a period-sensitive set up.

Check your overall ribbon holders to see if they fulfill your expectations when splicing flexible ribbons. Some combination splicer manufacturers offer holders optimized for splicing versatile ribbons. They may save time or even be required to avoid fiber slippage throughout warmth stripping.

Some legacy heat strippers are certainly not hot enough to cleanly strip a flexible ribbon in one pass. Some suppliers have launched new models with greater temperature configurations to address this matter.

Distinction #4 Price

Versatile ribbons are a new technologies. There is less a lot production capability, and FTTH cable production line production is less efficient than conventional flat ribbons. The potential risk of production scrap also increases with greater fiber matters. So, there is a price premium associated with versatile ribbons – particularly in the greatest fiber matters.

Distinction #5 Fiber Size

Most cablers are employing 200-micron fibers for matters of 3,456 and previously mentioned. There are splicers for 200-micron ribbons, but they’re relatively new. In order to splice onto a legacy cable television with 250-micron fibers, you will need a work-around to accomplish it. Fortunately, most versatile ribbon wires with counts of 1,728 or much less will include regular 250-micron fiber.

Difference #6 Cable Handling

Switching to versatile ribbons may effect your selection of cable television structures. Cables with power members a part of their jackets will bend only in one plane, and they are more challenging to coil. They can also be tougher to open.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to view what options are readily available.

Distinction #7 Barrier Tubes

Cable Outdoors Size (OD) can be decreased by reducing buffer pipes. Nevertheless, barrier pipes save time and simplify fiber management when prepping wires for splice closures. Barrier pipes provide additional fiber cut protection when opening the cable television jacket.


Versatile ribbon cables offer remarkable enhancements in fiber denseness that permit greater than two times the fiber count inside the same duct space. If you want to maximize fiber count inside a duct, they may be your best option. Nevertheless, some adaptation is required, there may be time penalties throughout handling and splicing. The accessible cable television structures differ a lot. So, you should investigate your alternatives. For counts of three,456 or greater, 200-micron fiber is typical, which may need dedicated splicing gear.

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