Fiber Drop Cable Installation Guide

This blog introduces installation methods of fiber drop cables for FTTH projects. With a focus on achieving efficient and effective FTTH deployment, Fibconet provide you with insights on utilizing drop cables to enhance their fiber optic network infrastructure.
Fiber Drop Cable Installation Guide
Table of Contents

1. Installation Methods

  1. Direct cable:

Direct cable is a simple solution for fiber drop cable installation. However, it has limitations. Upgrades require excavation or access to aerial infrastructure, specialized equipment, and can lead to potential signal degradation. The effective lifetime of the optical fiber may be less than the cable’s designed lifespan, making it less future-proof.

  • Cable pre-installed in duct:

Cable pre-installed in duct offers better protection and easier replacement. However, it limits operators to specific fiber types and can result in expensive assets if there’s insufficient customer demand or incorrect stock purchase.

  • Blown cable/fiber:

Blown installation involves using compressed air to install fiber over long distances. Blown cable is more robust but larger, costlier, and requires specific blowing machines. The process can be costly, inconvenient to customers, and inefficient for multiple short runs.

  • Pullable cable:

Pulling cable along a duct is cost-efficient and suitable for short lengths. However, as route length increases, tension and the risk of fiber damage rise. Skilled personnel are recommended for cable pulling.

  • Pushable cable:

Pushable fiber can be manually or mechanically pushed from the premise to the cabinet. It causes minimal disruption and reduces labor costs. Preterminated pushable connectors eliminate splicing and termination labor. The cable can be easily located and replaced if damaged. However, pushable cable tends to be expensive and requires a large duct for installation.


2. 10 Tips for better installation

1. Never tug on the fiber directly

As a strength member, fiber optic cables use Kevlar aramid yarn or a fiberglass rod. Only tug on the fiber cable strength members.

2. Never pull more than the maximum pulling load rating. 

When running long distances, use adequate lubricants that are compatible with the cable jacket. Pull from the middle out to both ends of long runs.

Use an automated puller with tension control, or at the very least a breakaway pulling eye, if possible. Know and follow the cable’s maximum recommended load rating.

3. Never exceed the bend radius of the cable.

When pulled straight, fiber is stronger than steel, yet it breaks readily when bent too tightly. These will damage the fibers, sometimes immediately, possibly not for a few years, but they will be damaged, and the cable must be removed and discarded.

Cable bending radius
4. Always roll the cable off the spool rather than spinning it off. 

This will twist the cable with each round of the spool! The fiber wire should never be twisted. Twisting the cable can also put strain on the fibers.

5. Pull, not push, the cords. 

Pushing can cause the bend radius to be violated.Keep an eye on the supply reel. Monitoring the supply reel during installation is required to ensure that the minimum bend radius is not exceeded.

6. Communicate along the installation path. 

Communicate and monitor along the installation path when installing long runs. Unmonitored pulleys can and do cause fiber cables to leap.

7. Make use of the correct tools and approaches. 

A vehicle for pulling the cable is not a proper tool unless it is additionally equipped with a breakaway swivel. The correct approaches are determined by the cable design and the location of the installation.

8. Apply lubricant to the fiber optic wire. 

When placing cable in conduits, lubricate it. Lubrication minimizes the pulling load as well as the possibility of breaking. The lubricant must be compatible with the material of the cable jacket.

9. Make use of the figure 8 approach. 

Use the figure 8 technique to store cable at the intermediate spots to divide long pulls into multiple shorter pulls. The cable is laid out in a figure 8 configuration on the ground. This pattern is quite huge, measuring at least 10-20 feet from top to bottom. When all of the cable has been inserted into this pattern, it is lifted and flipped over so that the loose end is on top. This frayed end is encroaching on the next length of conduit or duct. This method keeps the cable from twisting.

10. Adhere to vertical rise limits.

Understand and adhere to the maximum vertical rise distance limit. Excessive attenuation, fiber breakage, and fibers sliding from loose tube cables can all result from exceeding this limit. Cables in vertical installations that exceed the vertical rise limit must be tied off at shorter distances. Looping loose tube cables is required.

Install required tools: Tension clamp, Optical Stripper, Optical Cleaver, Fiber Splicing Machine.

3. What are drop cables used for?

1. Indoor user

The most common indoor optical cables are 1F, 2F and 4F.

Household optical cables should be 1F; enterprise optical cables should be 2-4F.

Household optical cables are classified into two types: FRP reinforcement and steel wire reinforcement. FRP reinforcement should be used indoors, taking into account factors such as lightning protection and strong current interference.

2.Wire laying in the structure

Wiring in Structures Horizontal wiring has no high requirements for optical cables, whereas vertical wiring has tensile strength and flame retardant requirements for optical cables. As a result, the tensile strength of optical cables must be taken into account.

3.Self-supporting wire laying from above

The figure-8 self-supporting optical cable incorporates a steel wire suspension on the optical cable, which increases tensile strength and allows it to be laid overhead. It is appropriate for allowing outdoor overhead wiring to enter the indoor wiring environment. Before attaching the steel hanging wire to the special bracket, first cut the steel wire and strip the steel wire cable from the remaining optical cable.

4.Duct wire installation

Duct optical cables and self-supporting “8” optical cables are indoor and outdoor integrated optical cables that can adapt to both indoor and outdoor environments and are appropriate for FTTH drop cable from outside to inside. Because the drop optical fiber cable has an outer sheath, reinforcement, and water-blocking materials, the Duct optical cable has a higher hardness and waterproof performance and is suitable for outdoor duct laying.

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