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Associate

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
Posts: 50

Loose-tube vs Tight-buffered Fiber Optic Cable

10/12/2020 6:59 AM

Request for different reasons as in why for long outdoor distances Loose-tube Fiber Optic Cable is preferred over Tight-buffered, i can see recommendations and BICSI standard also preferring Loose-tube Fiber Optic Cable for outdoor but what are the key technical reasons. The articles i see on internet are not entirely convincing with different key factors explained.

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Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
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#1

Re: Loose-tube vs Tight-buffered Fiber Optic Cable

10/12/2020 10:14 AM

There are two styles of fiber optic cable construction: loose tube and tight buffered. Both contain some type of strengthening member, such as aramid yarn, stainless steel wire strands or even gel-filled sleeves. But each is designed for very different environments.

Loose-Tube Cables

Loose-tube cables, the older of the two cable types, are specifically designed for harsh outdoor environments. They protect the fiber core, cladding and coating by enclosing everything within semi-rigid protective sleeves or tubes. In loose-tube cables that hold more than one optical fiber, each individually sleeved core is bundled loosely within an all-encompassing outer jacket.

Many loose-tube cables also have a water-resistant gel that surrounds the fibers. This gel helps protect them from moisture, making the cables ideal for harsh, high-humidity environments where water or condensation can be a problem. The gel-filled tubes can expand and contract with temperature changes, too.

But gel-filled, loose-tube cables are not the best choice when the cable needs to be submerged or where it's routed around multiple bends. Excess cable strain can force fibers to emerge from the gel.

Tight-Buffered Cables

Tight-buffered cables, in contrast, are optimized for indoor applications. Because they're sturdier than loose-tube cables, they're best suited for moderate-length LAN/WAN connections, long indoor runs and even direct burial. Tight-buffered cables are also recommended for underwater applications.

Instead of a gel layer or sleeve to protect the fiber core, tight-buffered cables use a two-layer coating. One is plastic; the other is waterproof acrylate. The acrylate coating keeps moisture away from the cable as the gel-filled sleeves do for loose-tube cables. But this acrylate layer is bound tightly to the plastic fiber layer, so the core is never exposed (as it can be with gel-filled cables) when the cable is bent or compressed underwater.

Tight-buffered cables are also easier to install because there's no messy gel to clean up and they don't require a fan-out kit for splicing or termination. You can crimp connectors directly to each fiber."

https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/support/support/resources/black-box-explains/fibre-optic-cable/loose-tube-vs-tight-buffered-fibre-optic-cable

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Associate

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Near London, England
Posts: 25
Good Answers: 2
#2

Re: Loose-tube vs Tight-buffered Fiber Optic Cable

10/13/2020 6:33 AM

A significant advantage of the loose tube system is that additional fibres can easily be blown through without the need to reopen trenches etc.. The tube itself can also be very robust if the environment requires it.

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Participant

Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 1
#3

Re: Loose-tube vs Tight-buffered Fiber Optic Cable

12/05/2020 8:35 AM

Usman, as far as I know, Tight-buffered cables often are used for intra-building, risers, general building, and plenum applications. Tight buffer fiber contains a thick coating of a plastic-type material which is applied directly to the outside of each individual fiber. Loose tube fiber optic cable is typically used for outside-plant installation in the aerial, duct, and direct-buried applications. Loose tube fiber contains multiple strands of fiber in a single jacket. Since the fibers are “loose” inside the jacket, outside forces are less likely to reach the fibers. This makes it the most durable option.

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