Optical fiber cable is a key component of any service provider’s passive optical network for telecommunications applications. Optical fiber cables comprise a significant portion of Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks in service today and current MSO fiber to the home (FTTH) networks. Ensuring the long-term reliability of these assets is a key performance component to the service providers and network operators.
Optical cables are designed to protect the optical fibers from a variety of harmful effects that could degrade the ultimate service life of the network. The effects of mechanical stresses, such as those experienced during installation, must be considered. Environmental effects that typically manifest themselves post-installation, such as temperature changes and chemical exposure, should also be evaluated. In order to properly evaluate and compare different cable designs a test regime of standard performance requirements should be considered by network operators. Well-designed and properly installed cables will protect the optical fibers and ensure proper operation for 20 years or more.