Fiber optic cabling can be used for numerous purposes, including voice, data, and video transmission. To ensure your installation runs smoothly and meets all safety requirements, The Network Installers are available to plan and implement your new fiber optic cabling project. Here, we’ll discuss the fiber optic installation requirements and best practices for a seamless fiber optic installation.
How are fiber optics installed?
Fiber optic cable can be installed in different ways, depending on the specific application. For example, fiber to the home (FTTH) applications typically require underground installation, while fiber to the premises (FTTP) applications may be installed underground or aerially. The Network Installers team has experience with all types of fiber optic networks and will liaise with you to determine the best installation method for your needs.
What are the safety requirements for fiber optic installation?
There are a few safety considerations during any fiber optic installation.
- Light source – although you’ll need to look at the end of the cable to check light is coming through, it’s important to avoid direct eye exposure to the light source.
- Ventilation – installation may dislodge tiny glass particles from the cable jacket, so always work in a space with plenty of ventilation to avoid harm.
- Avoid touching the face – these small glass fragments may be transferred to the skin or eyes, causing minor lacerations.
- Remove combustible materials – equipment such as fusion splicers may cause flammable materials to set alight.
- Wear PPE – safety glasses and protective aprons help prevent glass fibers from coming into contact with your clothing, skin, or eyes.
Prep work for your fiber optic installation
To develop best practices for fiber optic installation, always have a clear understanding of the project scope and objectives. This will help you determine the best type of fiber optic cable for your needs. Additionally, it’s important to have a cable design installation plan that considers your project site’s unique characteristics.
What equipment is needed for fiber optic internet installation?
To install fiber optics, your engineers will use a few specialized tools and equipment, including:
- Fiber optic cleaver
- Fiber optic stripper
- Fiber optic splicer
- Fiber optic test equipment.
- Fiber optic cabling and connectors
Fiber optic cable installation process
The installation includes the following steps:
- The preferred cable route must be cleared and prepared. This may involve trenching or aerial construction, depending on the installation method.
- Engineers will lay the fiber optic cable using a blowing or pulling method.
- Fiber optic cable testing takes place.
- The connection is made to the network equipment, and the system is tested to ensure proper operation.
- Thorough cable management, including color code labeling and cable ties will ensure ease of maintenance.
What are the fiber optic installation requirements?
- Don’t exceed the cable minimum bend radius – each manufacturer will specify the minimum radius to bend the cable without damaging it.
- Don’t pull on the fibers themselves – fibers are fragile and can be easily broken if you pull on them directly. Always grip the cable by the jacket or strength members when maneuvering the fiber into place.
- Never spin the cable off the spool end – this can damage the fibers and make them difficult to splice. The alternative is to roll the cable off the spool, taking care not to twist the fibers, resulting in damage.
- Use an innerduct to protect your internal cables – Innerducts provide a smooth-walled surface for the fiber to slide through, and offer protection from crushing and other damage.
- Use fiber optic cable markers to keep track of your runs – fiber optic cable markers are used to identify the different runs of cable, as well as the specific fibers within those runs. This is important for both installation and troubleshooting purposes.
- Use a monitoring crew during installation – a monitoring crew is responsible for inspecting the work being done and ensuring that it meets all safety and quality standards. During installation, at least one person should monitor the pulling equipment. Another will take charge of the cable reel, while a third crew member will oversee the entire cable installation and ensure effective communication throughout the project.
Underground fiber optic cable installation methods
Fiber optic cable engineers use a variety of trenching methods for underground installations, including:
- Microtrenching – using a shallow trench of less than 15 cms.
- Mole plowing – for use in rural areas, including farmland. Requires specialist equipment to plow a hole in the ground and simultaneously install the cable straight into the hole.
- Directional drilling – to get into tight spaces, this method requires a drill operator and locating equipment operator as part of the crew.
- Impact moling – unlike guided directional drilling, impact moling uses a launch pit and catch pit to work in straight lines.
Throughout each of these trenching installations, engineers must always protect the cable from any damage caused by digging or other construction activities. Additionally, the cable must not be in contact with corrosive materials, such as chemicals or salt water.
Fiber optic conduit specifications
A fiber optic conduit protects the fiber optic cable from any risk of damage. The minimum inside diameter of the conduit must be large enough to accommodate the cable, with a minimum of 0.75 inches for single-mode fiber cable and 0.50 inches for multimode fiber cable.
How does an aerial fiber optic installation work?
Although fiber optic cables are commonly installed beneath the ground in conduits, sometimes it’s necessary to lay fiber cables aerially using a similar method to placing copper cables. The main difference is you must place the fiber optic cable in a protective sleeve called an aerial messenger. This helps to protect the cable from weather damage and physical stress.
Arrange your fiber optic installation
The best recommendation we can give you when considering a fiber optic cabling project is to work with professionals. The Network Installers are available to discuss your repair or installation project in further detail. Get in touch today to explore the available options for your upcoming fiber optic project.