An optical fiber cable is a cable containing one or more optical fibers. The optical fiber elements are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube suitable for the environment where the cable will be deployed.
Optical fibers are inherently very strong, but the strength is drastically reduced by unavoidable microscopic surface flaws inherent in the manufacturing process. The initial fiber strength, as well as its change with time, must be considered relative to the stress imposed on the fiber during handling, cabling, and installation for a given set of environmental conditions. There are three basic scenarios that can lead to strength degradation and failure by inducing flaw growth: dynamic fatigue, static fatigues, and zero-stress aging.
The race between Copper and Fiber was won, and the incontrovertible winner is fiber. Whether for IP streaming video for residential consumers, Virtual Private Networking (VPN) for telecommuters, or point-to-point T1 services for businesses, only Fiber Optics can satisfy the wide-ranging needs of an entire community. Fiber Optic contractors know that the use of a Fiber Optic Network minimizes maintenance expenses because the in Fiber Optic Network signals are not affected by electrical noise. Exempt from FCC-mandated sweeps, fiber reduces operation and maintenance costs for an outside plant. Fiber also drives much longer loops than copper and there is no ongoing plant tuning. Additionally, the Fiber Optic Network has an estimated Interior/Exterior, LAN, WAN, and Plant life of more than 35 years.
On the other hand, copper cable is delicate. It only has a 25 pound pulling tension limit and kinks will ruin the high speed performance. With fiber – even though it’s glass fiber – it has more strength and greater tolerance to abuse than copper wire. Not too many years ago, fiber was a novelty, and there was little fiber optic installation experience in the industry. Copper was the king. In today’s high speed networks the reverse is true. While copper is restricted as far as speed, fiber can look at the very high speed industry future with supreme confidence.