Traditional Innerduct Installations
Prior to the development of armored indoor/outdoor fiber optic cable, fiber cable installations required the installation of an innerduct. An innerduct is a plastic tube that is dragged into position to act as a channel for fiber optic cable and is rated for the environment in which it is installed (such as plenum or riser). The innerduct, which was usually orange or yellow in color, shielded the fiber optic cable inside while also allowing simple identification of where the fiber optic cables were located.
Disadvantages of Innerduct Installations
Innerducts contributed a significant amount of cost to a project. The cost of the innerduct was frequently higher per foot than the cost of the fiber optic cable within. The innerduct installation technique also quadrupled the amount of manpower required to complete the job. The installer would have to pull the innerduct into place before pulling the fiber optic line in using the pull string in the innerduct. Furthermore, because the innerduct serves as the fiber’s passage, it is larger, takes up more room, and might be more difficult to install than the fiber itself.
Another disadvantage of innerduct was that it provided an easy path for any contractors who needed to run a cable to and from the same site. As a result, contractor A sets up the innerduct and fiber optic cable (at their expense). Contractor B arrives and “borrows” the innerduct pathway to use as their own, saving a lot of time and money. Contractor B also caused damage to the optic by hauling in their wire beside it. Interlock armored fiber optic cable (orange, yellow, and aqua) and stainless-steel micro-armor are composed of a single unit that includes the inner fiber optic cable, metal armor, and an outer jacket.
Types of Armored Fiber Optic Cables
Indoor armored fiber optic cable and outdoor armored fiber optic cable are the two types of armored fiber cables used on an installation.
Indoor armored fiber optic cable, which is made up of tight-buffered or loose-buffered fiber optic cables, strength members, and an inner jacket is typically used for indoor applications. A spirally coiled interlocking metal type of armor surrounds the inner jacket. Armored fiber optic cables are less susceptible to temperature and mechanical stress, and the majority of them are used in building wiring applications, such as in walls, between floors, and in plenum air handling ducts.
Outdoor armored fiber optic cables are designed to keep cables safe while operating in a challenging outdoor environment. The majority of loose-buffered optical fibers, strength members, and loose tubes make up most outdoor armored fiber optic cables. The loose tube is filled with waterproof gel, which aids in the cable’s water resistance.
While transferring data or carrying electricity via fiber cables in hazardous environments, adequate protection is critical for safe and reliable function. As a result, using an armored fiber cable to protect the wires from mechanical and environmental damage is not only smart, it is necessary.