There is a new era of optical fiber ribbon cables. These designs use versatile ribbons to improve fiber density with a factor of 2 or more. Like anything good factor, this improvement comes along with trade-offs. In this article, we explain these industry-offs to help you understand regardless of whether this new technology is a fit to suit your needs.

Traditional optical fiber ribbons (or flat ribbons) have long been employed for higher Optical fiber coloring machine. Ribbonized fibers are easier to manage in big numbers than loose fibers. Flat ribbons can even be mass combination spliced, which is perfectly up to 6 times faster than single fiber splicing.

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

Figure 1. Flat ribbons squander space within a buffer pipe, and definately will focus pressures on fibers at a corner of the ribbon pile.

But, flat ribbons possess a fundamental shortcoming. When cabled, a pile of flat ribbons is like a “square peg within a circular opening.” (See Figure 1.) Buffer tubes are typically circular, which means the space featured in yellowish is wasted. When exterior factors bring the pile in touch with the tube wall structure, additionally, it concentrates stresses on the fibers in the edges in the pile.

Flexible ribbons solve these problems by stunning a compromise. The structure that binds the person fibers with each other is created looser, so a flexible type of ribbon can change form without breaking aside. But, it must still hold with each other well enough to get handled effectively throughout mass combination splicing. Figure 2 shows an adaptable ribbon (top) along with a flat ribbon (bottom). Observe how the color series of person fibers is maintained inside the flexible ribbon with no fibers being sure tightly in position with a thick coating of matrix material.

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

Shape 2. In contrast to flat ribbons (base), versatile ribbons (top) use a free structure. This framework fits into round pipes better.

Flexible ribbons conform to the space they’re in – forget about square pegs in circular openings. When versatile ribbons are pushed against the inside of a barrier tube, the stress is spread out over many fibers – not just the people at the corners of any pile. This permits more fiber to get placed to the same space. Shape 3 demonstrates an 864-count flat ribbon cable (left) alongside a 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable (right). The tubes in the left cable include 144 fibers in flat ribbons. The pipes on the right include 288 fibers in versatile ribbons. Each cables contain regular 250-micron fibers and will easily fit into a 1-1/4” duct. But, despite getting twice the cable air wiper, the 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable is somewhat smaller compared to the 864-count with flat ribbons.

A 1,728-count versatile ribbon cable (right) is smaller than a flat ribbon cable (left) with half the fiber count.

Figure 3. A 1,728-count flexible ribbon cable (right) is small compared to a flat ribbon cable television (left) with half the fiber count.

Will It Be a Match for You?

Versatile ribbon wires were initially produced for Hyper Scale Information Facilities (HSDCs). Most people think of a 1,728-fiber cable television as size XXL. But, it’s an entry-level fiber count in many HSDCs, where it’s common to have many such wires getting into every building. These cables typically interconnect buildings without branching, tapering, or middle-period access of the kind. These 2 aspects push HSDC cable developers to prioritize higher-fiber denseness more than anything else. If you are not developing an HSDC, your goals may differ. So, let’s examine 7 distinctions between flexible and flat ribbon cables that may effect traditional OSP programs.

Difference #1 Ribbon Versatility

Flat ribbons will flex on only one plane. Because they are also twisted (to equalize pressures), this can make them more challenging to organize in splice containers. Versatile ribbons don’t have this restriction, and act nearly like loose fibers. This will make them simpler to organize in splice trays.

Difference #2 Splicing Velocity

Mass splicing of flexible ribbon is still much faster than individual fiber splicing. But, you should anticipate some loss in speed compared to flat ribbons. Simply because versatile ribbons are more loosely sure with each other, they need more care when being positioned in splicing holders. A flat ribbon can be put into the groove of a holder. The same method can lead to misaligned fibers for a versatile ribbon. Technicians typically “wipe” the fibers of a flexible ribbon using a thumb and index finger to bring the fibers within their proper position.

Difference #3 Splicing Tools

Flexible ribbons may connect with your current splicing tools differently than flat ribbons. Any difficulties are generally resolved having a bit of practice or new tools. Think about screening some uncovered ribbon samples before scheduling a period-sensitive installation.

Check your overall ribbon owners to find out if they meet your anticipations when splicing versatile ribbons. Some fusion splicer manufacturers offer owners optimized for splicing versatile ribbons. They may save time or even be required to steer clear of fiber slippage during heat stripping.

Some legacy heat strippers usually are not hot sufficient to cleanly strip an adaptable ribbon in one pass. Some vendors have released new designs with higher temperature settings to address this matter.

Distinction #4 Price

Flexible ribbons are a new technologies. There’s much less a lot production capability, and FTTH cable production line creation is much less efficient than traditional flat ribbons. The risk of production scrap also increases with higher fiber counts. So, there is a price high quality connected with versatile ribbons – especially in the highest fiber counts.

Distinction #5 Fiber Diameter

Most cablers are utilizing 200-micron fibers for matters of three,456 and previously mentioned. You will find splicers for 200-micron ribbons, but they are relatively new. If you want to splice on to a legacy cable with 250-micron fibers, you’ll need a work-about to accomplish it. Luckily, most flexible ribbon cables with counts of 1,728 or less will include regular 250-micron fiber.

Difference #6 Cable Handling

Switching to flexible ribbons may impact your selection of cable television structures. Wires with power members a part of their overcoats will bend only in one plane, and are more difficult to coil. They can additionally be tougher to open.1 Check vfiskb your cabler to view what options are available.

Distinction #7 Buffer Tubes

Cable Outside Diameter (OD) can be decreased by reducing barrier tubes. However, buffer pipes save your time and streamline fiber management when prepping cables for splice closures. Buffer tubes also provide extra fiber cut safety when opening up the cable jacket.


Versatile ribbon cables provide remarkable enhancements in fiber denseness that permit more than twice the fiber count inside the same duct space. If you need to take full advantage of fiber count inside a duct, they may be the best choice. Nevertheless, some adaptation is required, there may be time penalties throughout handling and splicing. Possible cable television buildings differ a lot. So, you should investigate your choices. For matters of 3,456 or higher, 200-micron fiber is normal, which may require devoted splicing gear.

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