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There’s a new era of optical fiber ribbon cables. These styles use versatile ribbons to improve fiber density with a factor of two or more. Like anything good factor, this improvement comes along with trade-offs. In the following paragraphs, we explain these industry-offs to assist you understand regardless of whether this new technologies is a fit for you personally.

Traditional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been employed for greater optical fiber ribbon machine. Ribbonized fibers are simpler to manage in large numbers than free fibers. Flat ribbons can even be mass combination spliced, which depends on 6 times quicker than single fiber splicing.

Flat ribbons waste space in a buffer pipe, and definately will concentrate pressures on fibers at a corner of the ribbon stack.

Shape 1. Flat ribbons waste space within a barrier tube, and definately will focus stresses on fibers at the corner of the ribbon pile.

But, flat ribbons use a fundamental shortcoming. When cabled, a pile of flat ribbons is like a “square peg in a round hole.” (See Shape 1.) Buffer tubes are usually circular, which means the space featured in yellowish is lost. When exterior aspects deliver the stack in contact with the tube wall structure, it also concentrates stresses in the fibers in the edges from the pile.

Flexible ribbons solve these issues by striking a give up. The dwelling that binds the person fibers together is made looser, so a flexible type of ribbon can change shape without having to break apart. But, it should nevertheless hold together well enough to be dealt with efficiently during mass fusion splicing. Figure 2 shows an adaptable ribbon (top) and a flat ribbon (base). Observe how the color sequence of individual fibers is taken care of inside the versatile ribbon minus the fibers being bound tightly in position by a heavy layer of matrix materials.

Unlike flat ribbons (base), versatile ribbons (top) possess a free framework. This framework fits into round tubes more effectively.

Figure 2. Unlike flat ribbons (bottom), flexible ribbons (top) use a loose framework. This structure fits into circular pipes more efficiently.

Versatile ribbons conform to the space they’re in – no longer square pegs in circular openings. When flexible ribbons are pressed from the inside of a buffer pipe, the pressure is spread out over numerous fibers – not just the ones in the edges of the stack. This permits much more fiber to get placed in to the exact same space. Shape 3 shows an 864-count flat ribbon cable television (left) together with a 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable (right). The pipes around the left cable include 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The pipes around the right include 288 fibers in flexible ribbons. Each cables contain regular 250-micron fibers and can easily fit in a 1-1/4” duct. But, despite getting two times the cable air wiper, the 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television is somewhat smaller than the 864-count with flat ribbons.

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

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

Is It a Fit to suit your needs?

Versatile ribbon wires had been originally produced for Hyper Scale Data Facilities (HSDCs). Most folks think of a 1,728-fiber cable television as dimension XXL. But, it is an entry-degree fiber count in many HSDCs, where it is common to have many this kind of wires entering each building. These cables usually interconnect structures without having branching, tapering, or mid-period accessibility of any kind. These 2 factors push HSDC cable developers to prioritize higher-fiber denseness above all else. If you are not developing an HSDC, your goals may differ. So, let’s look at 7 distinctions between flexible and flat ribbon cables 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 sure they are more challenging to organize in splice containers. Flexible ribbons don’t have this restriction, and behave nearly like loose fibers. This makes them simpler to arrange in splice trays.

Difference #2 Splicing Speed

Mass splicing of flexible ribbon is still much faster than person fiber splicing. But, you should expect some lack of velocity compared to flat ribbons. Simply because flexible ribbons tend to be more freely bound with each other, they need more treatment when being put into splicing holders. A flat ribbon can be put straight into the groove of a holder. The identical method can result in misaligned fibers for a versatile ribbon. Technicians typically “wipe” the fibers of any versatile ribbon using a thumb and index finger to create the fibers to their appropriate position.

Distinction #3 Splicing Tools

Flexible ribbons may communicate with your current splicing tools differently than flat ribbons. Any issues are generally resolved having a bit of practice or some new tools. Think about screening some bare ribbon samples before scheduling a period-sensitive set up.

Check your overall ribbon owners to determine if they meet your anticipations when splicing versatile ribbons. Some fusion splicer manufacturers offer holders enhanced for splicing versatile ribbons. They may save your time or even be essential to steer clear of fiber slippage throughout heat stripping.

Some legacy heat strippers are certainly not hot sufficient to cleanly strip an adaptable ribbon in one pass. Some vendors have released new designs with higher temperature configurations to address this issue.

Distinction #4 Price

Versatile ribbons really are a new technologies. There’s not as much creation capability, and secondary coating line creation is much less effective than traditional flat ribbons. The potential risk of production scrap also increases with greater fiber matters. So, there is a price premium associated with flexible ribbons – especially in the highest fiber counts.

Difference #5 Fiber Size

Most cablers are employing 200-micron fibers for counts of three,456 and previously mentioned. You can find splicers for 200-micron ribbons, but they are relatively new. If you wish to splice onto a legacy cable with 250-micron fibers, you will need to have a work-around to get it done. Fortunately, most versatile ribbon cables with counts of 1,728 or much less will contain regular 250-micron fiber.

Difference #6 Cable Handling

Changing to flexible ribbons may effect the selection of cable television structures. Wires with strength members baked into their jackets will bend only in one plane, and therefore are more difficult to coil. They can even be tougher to start.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to find out what options are readily available.

Difference #7 Barrier Pipes

Cable Outside Diameter (OD) can be decreased by reducing buffer pipes. However, buffer tubes save your time and simplify fiber administration when prepping cables for splice closures. Barrier tubes also provide extra fiber cut protection when opening up the cable television jacket.


Flexible ribbon cables provide dramatic improvements in fiber denseness that permit a lot more than two times the fiber count in the same duct space. If you want to take full advantage of fiber count within a duct, they may be your best choice. Nevertheless, some adaptation is required, and then there may be time fees and penalties throughout dealing with and splicing. The accessible cable structures vary a whole lot. So, you ought to investigate your choices. For matters of 3,456 or greater, 200-micron fiber is common, which may require dedicated splicing gear.