An aerial fiber optic cable is an insulated cable usually containing optical fibers required for a telecommunication line, which is suspended between utility poles. Network designers use Aerial fiber optic cable for aerial applications or cabling installation, utilizing the pole infrastructure common for power transport and is efficiently utilized by aerial fiber optic cable installations, reducing cost and installation time. In addition, aerial fiber optic cable resists environmental concerns such as ever-changing weather conditions in the form of excess heat and moisture and mechanical stress from line weight and external influences like vandalism and animal chew damage. Typical applications for aerial fiber optic cable are long-distance and network communication. This article introduces and discusses aerial fiber optic cable types, classifications, pre-and post-installation, and installation using a moving or stationary reel.
Aerial fiber optic cables are divided into self-supporting or catenary cables that can be lashed to existing structures or lines. Self-supporting cable has cable bonded to insulated steel or all-dielectric messenger for support. A catenary cable is a regular outdoor loose-tube cable that is helically lashed to a pre-existing support line.
Aerial fiber optic cable is installed using a stationary reel or moving reel method. The stationary reel method is best used when there are obstacles along the planned cable route that reduce or eliminate equipment access. The moving reel method is used when the route is free from obstacles and obstructions, allowing easy or improved equipment access between the cable reel, the aerial section of placement, and a clear path alongside the poles for the reel trailer and trucks.
Careful planning and preparation are necessary before proceeding with aerial fiber optic cable installation. Conduct a survey of the proposed installation route and include all concerned parties. Consider details such as permitting, approvals, route clearance, and pre-existing poles and equipment.
Use properly trained personnel and make sure that conditions support the work. Work done during inclement weather can reduce safety. Use tools and equipment that are designed for the work being done and that function well. Be careful working near high voltage lines. When pulling cables, make sure that personnel and equipment do not get caught in the line. Failing to do these things may result in project delays and personnel injury.
Stationary Reel Method for Deploying Aerial Fiber Optic Cable
Moving Reel Method for Deploying Aerial Fiber Optic Cable
Installation Guide to Lashing Aerial Fiber Optic Cables
Catenary fiber-optic cables that require support are lashed onto existing support wire for tensile strength and stability. Lashing using a stationary reel method, is typically used when the route is not fully accessible by support vehicles. Temporary blocks are placed on the messenger wire throughout the run. The fiber cable is pulled into place from a stationary reel located at one end of the section run. Once the cable is in position, the lashing operation joins the fiber cable to the messenger wire.
Lashing using a moving reel method, is used when the entire route is accessible by support vehicles. The route must be free of trees, limbs, and guy wires to allow full vehicle access. Support vehicles are used to pay off and raise the fiber cable to a position for the lashing operation to be performed along the length of the section run.
Lashing using the stationary reel method
Lashing using the stationary reel method
Perform a post-construction inspection to ensure that the cable is straight and free of kinks or damage. Ensure that drip loops and grounds are installed properly. Also check that the cable does not touch trees, buildings, or other environmental obstacles.
Compared with buried cable or fiber in-duct solution, aerial fiber optic cable installation is typically faster and less expensive laying cable underground. It is also cost-effective because it reuses previously in-place structures and routes.