There is a new era of optical fiber ribbon cables. These designs use versatile ribbons to boost fiber density by a factor of 2 or more. Like a bit of good thing, this improvement comes with trade-offs. In this post, we describe these industry-offs to assist you comprehend whether this new technologies is a fit for you personally.

Conventional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been utilized for higher Optical fiber coloring machine. Ribbonized fibers are simpler to manage in big numbers than loose fibers. Flat ribbons can even be mass combination spliced, which depends on 6 occasions quicker than solitary fiber splicing.

Flat ribbons squander space within a barrier pipe, and can concentrate stresses on fibers at a corner of the ribbon pile.

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

But, flat ribbons use a essential shortcoming. When cabled, a pile of flat ribbons is like a “square peg in a circular opening.” (See Shape 1.) Buffer pipes are usually circular, meaning the space highlighted in yellowish is wasted. When exterior factors deliver the stack in touch with the pipe wall structure, in addition, it concentrates stresses around the fibers on the corners of the stack.

Versatile ribbons solve these issues by striking a give up. The dwelling that binds the individual fibers with each other is made looser, so an adaptable ribbon can change form without having to break apart. But, it must nevertheless hold together well sufficient to get handled efficiently throughout mass fusion splicing. Shape 2 shows a flexible ribbon (top) and a flat ribbon (base). Notice the way the color sequence of individual fibers is maintained inside the flexible ribbon without the fibers being bound firmly set up by way of a heavy coating of matrix material.

In contrast to flat ribbons (bottom), flexible ribbons (top) have a loose framework. This structure suits round tubes more efficiently.

Figure 2. In contrast to flat ribbons (base), flexible ribbons (top) have a loose framework. This structure fits into round tubes more effectively.

Versatile ribbons comply with the space they’re in – forget about square pegs in circular openings. When flexible ribbons are pushed up against the on the inside of a buffer pipe, pressure is spread over numerous fibers – not just the people in the edges of a stack. This enables more fiber to be positioned to the same space. Shape 3 shows an 864-count flat ribbon cable television (left) alongside a 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television (right). The pipes on the left cable include 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The tubes on the right include 288 fibers in flexible ribbons. Both cables include standard 250-micron fibers and can easily fit into a 1-1/4” duct. Yet, despite having twice the cable air wiper, the 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable television is somewhat small compared to the 864-count with flat ribbons.

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

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

Could It Be a Match to suit your needs?

Versatile ribbon cables had been originally developed for Super Scale Data Facilities (HSDCs). Most folks imagine a 1,728-fiber cable as size XXL. But, it is an entry-degree fiber count in numerous HSDCs, in which it’s common to have several such wires entering every building. These wires usually interconnect structures without branching, tapering, or mid-period accessibility of any kind. These 2 aspects push HSDC cable television designers to prioritize higher-fiber density most of all. If you are not developing an HSDC, your goals may differ. So, let’s take a look at 7 distinctions among flexible and flat ribbon wires that may effect conventional OSP applications.

Distinction Top Ribbon Versatility

Flat ribbons will bend on only one plane. Since they’re also twisted (to equalize stresses), this can get them to more complicated to set up in splice trays. Versatile ribbons don’t have this restriction, and behave nearly like loose fibers. This makes them simpler to arrange in splice containers.

Difference #2 Splicing Speed

Mass splicing of flexible ribbon is still faster than individual fiber splicing. But, you ought to anticipate some loss of velocity compared to flat ribbons. Simply because versatile ribbons are definitely more loosely sure together, they require much more treatment when becoming put into splicing holders. A flat ribbon can be placed straight into the groove of a owner. Exactly the same method can result in misaligned fibers for any versatile ribbon. Technicians usually “wipe” the fibers of any flexible ribbon having a thumb and directory finger to create the fibers within their proper position.

Difference #3 Splicing Resources

Versatile ribbons may connect with your current splicing tools in a different way than flat ribbons. Any issues are often solved having a bit of practice or some new tools. Consider testing some uncovered ribbon examples before organizing an occasion-sensitive installation.

Check your existing ribbon holders to find out if they fulfill your anticipations when splicing versatile ribbons. Some fusion splicer manufacturers offer holders enhanced for splicing flexible ribbons. They may save time or even be necessary to steer clear of fiber slippage throughout heat stripping.

Some legacy heat strippers are certainly not hot sufficient to cleanly strip a flexible type of ribbon in one successfully pass. Some suppliers have launched new designs with greater heat settings to address this matter.

Distinction #4 Price

Versatile ribbons certainly are a new technology. There’s not as much creation capacity, and Fiber coloring machine production is much less effective than traditional flat ribbons. The risk of production scrap also raises with greater fiber counts. So, there is a cost high quality associated with flexible ribbons – particularly in the greatest fiber counts.

Difference #5 Fiber Diameter

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

Distinction #6 Cable Handling

Changing to versatile ribbons may effect the selection of cable structures. Cables with power associates embedded in their jackets will flex only in one plane, and they are more challenging to coil. They can even be tougher to open.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to find out what choices are readily available.

Difference #7 Buffer Tubes

Cable Outdoors Diameter (OD) can be reduced through the elimination of buffer pipes. Nevertheless, buffer tubes save your time and streamline fiber administration when prepping wires for splice closures. Buffer tubes offer extra fiber reduce protection when opening the cable coat.


Flexible ribbon cables offer dramatic improvements in fiber density that enable a lot more than twice the fiber count inside the exact same duct space. If you wish to take full advantage of fiber count inside a duct, they may be your best choice. Nevertheless, some adaptation is needed, there may be time fees and penalties during handling and splicing. The available cable television buildings differ a great deal. So, you ought to explore your alternatives. For counts of three,456 or higher, 200-micron fiber is typical, which may need dedicated splicing gear.

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