Armored Fiber Cable VS Non-Armored Fiber Cable

November 2021

Moving into the digital age, the world experienced the internet and the transfer of data at speeds only an Ethernet cable could handle. This was until the introduction of fiber cabling which increased the speed and amount of data that was able to cross a line to increase in orders of magnitude that was never thought possible. However, what a fiber optic cable offers in speed and data capacity is accompanied by its natural fragility being that it utilizes glass within its physical make up.

Despite the built-in protection in modern fiber optic cables, it’s possible to break the fiber by pulling or twisting a little too much during installation.

The tradeoff in speed for fragility is exactly what’s been powering the push for innovation in fiber optic armoring. In the current fiber cable market, you have two options for fiber cable protection: Aluminum Interlocking Armor (AIA) and Stainless Steel MicroArmor.

So to help you decide between the two armor types as well as learn the differences between them and standard non-armored fiber cables, we’ve put together this guide so that you know what you’re working with and what’s best for you.

 

Non-Armored Fiber Optic Cables

Non-armored fiber cables are thin and light, which automatically makes them economical to store and transport. Not to mention that unarmored cables naturally cost considerably less as the manufacturers don’t have to invest in all that protection.

On top of all that, you’re looking at a flexible cable that can run through some of the congested pathways without worrying about the performance of your network.

However, the savings in the cost of acquiring these cables is superficial as you’ll have to invest in a conduit for proper installation. Conduits are unavoidable with non-armored cables for harsh-environment applications because these cables have little protection of their own.

Paying for a conduit installation means first laying down the pipes and then laying the wires separately, which effectively doubles the cost of labor and materials.

In other words, what starts cheap will end expensive for non-armored fiber cables. The risk of damage and amount of cost to protect the cable without its own armor protection is a ticking time bomb for more costs down the road.

 

Aluminum Interlocking Armor (AIA)

Aluminum Interlocking Armor (AIA Fiber Cables) are constructed of either a Plenum or Riser overall jacket with 2-144 fibers and water blocking Kevlar® that is all covered with an Aluminum Interlocking Armor. AIA cables are used in applications where extreme physical abuse are experienced. Common users of AIA Fiber Cables are Petrol chemical plants, Asphalt facilities, and steel mills as they carry a wet or dry rating and are an alternative to installing conduit.

Aluminum Interlocking Armor (AIA) Fiber Cables can survive heavier loads and pulls compared to non-armored cables, however, they are not resistant to crushing and extremely heavy loads as is needed in most environments. Types of protection AIA Fiber Cables can offer are rodent bites, extreme weather, and strong-handed pulls.

The value of AIA cables in their protection and durability is unfortunately matched by their general inflexibility. For starters, they’re bulky and have a massive size footprint which makes them expensive to store and deploy resulting in high labor costs and the need of machinery to handle large amounts of the cable. Even the best technicians can struggle to work with these bulky cables.

The heavy weight and size of AIA Fiber Cables make it expensive to store and ship creating an added challenge and cost. With its larger size, pathways become clogged and the ability to handle the cables to finish a job become even more difficult than they need to be. In conclusion, AIA cables are an alternative to conduit protection of fiber cables, but are still a limited and expensive option nonetheless.

 

Micro Armor™ to the Rescue

What if you could have the affordability and flexibility of non-armored cables along with more protection and durability than AIA armored fiber cables?

This is where the patented TiniFiber Micro Armor™  cable comes in. Just take a look at the size and visual comparison between the TiniFiber OS2 12 Core Micro Armor Fiber vs a competitior’s 12 core AIA cable:

TiniFiber® vs. Aluminum Interlocking Armor (AIA) (Based on 300 Ft.)

Mathematically speaking, there’s a 65% size and 75% weight difference between the TiniFiber MicroArmor Fiber Cable versus the typical AIA Fiber Cable.

Below are a few key points to consider if deciding to go with TiniFiber’s Stainless Steel MicroArmor Fiber Cables:

  • The smaller size footprint makes the MicroArmor wire easier to run through the tightest, curviest, and most congested pathways.
  • It’s about as flexible as a glass fiber wire can physically get.
  • TiniFiber’s crushproof Stainless Steel Micro Armor gives you a superior armored fiber cable to mitigate risk of damage to the fiber cable in any condition. With Micro Armor™, Kevlar, and an outer jacket, these slim wires are made to survive the harshest elements and last a lifetime.
  • The small size also means that you’ll get a major boost in savings with storage, transportation, and labor costs associated to installing and handling the cable.
  • TiniFiber Micro Armor Fiber Cables are made for indoor and outdoor settings allowing them to be installed underground without a conduit. (Subject to local regulations regarding underground Fiber Cable installations)

Customers have called TiniFiber’s unique technology the “pound-for-pound champion of fiber armoring”. It’s hare not to notice the difference between armored fiber cables when you consider the actual size comparison of 3000 feet of TiniFiber Mircro Armor™ Fiber Cable vs. the average Aluminum Interlocking Armor (AIA) Fiber Cable:

3000 ft. armored fiber comparison between AIA and Micro Armot Fiber TM

If you’d like to experience the difference this patented technology can make for you, fill out the form below and a TiniFiber representative will contact you.

You can also explore the complete Micro Armor product line at TiniFiber.com/products

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    TiniFiber®

    For more information on the benefits of using Tinifiber®, contact us at:
    sales@tinifiber.com
    631-WE-CABLE (631-932-2253)